Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

Financial Services | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • In an example of states working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the CFPB and the Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Libre by Nexus and its parent company Nexus Services in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. The lawsuit alleges that the company offered to pay immigration bonds to secure the release of immigrants held in federal detention centers, while it concealed the cost and true nature of the services. Among other things, the company allegedly misrepresented that it was associated with federal agencies and actors, threatened clients who failed to pay fees, and forced clients to wear GPS trackers.


  • Arizona Attorney General Brnovich announced an agreement with Arizona Public Service Company, which will provide $24 million for consumers who were not on the company’s most economical electric utility service rate plan.
  • Missouri Attorney General Schmitt announced a default judgment against timeshare-relief services company Martin Management Group LLC and its owner for allegedly failing to provide timeshare relief services and failing to provide refunds. The judgment includes injunctive relief and a payment of $222,768.90 to the state.


  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that mold-remediation company PurEnvironment pleaded guilty to environmental crimes charges for alleged false claims that its products could provide 90 plus days of protection from COVID-19. The company has been sentenced to a year of probation, required to comply with federal and state regulations, and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.


New Jersey Attorney General Grewal announced a $1.6 million default judgment against a former owner of Advanta Medicaid LLC in a lawsuit alleging that the company accepted thousands of dollars from consumers after promising to help them establish Medicaid eligibility, and then failed to provide these services. The defendant is also permanently barred from advertising or selling Medicaid-related goods or services and from owning or managing any business in the state.


  • Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine announced two actions to prevent discrimination against D.C. residents east of the Anacostia River. Attorney General Racine’s office filed a lawsuit against moving company Lend A Box for rejecting online reservations from residents in Wards 7 and 8 and announced a settlement with home improvement company Design Builders for refusing to provide services to those east of the Anacostia River. The two actions include civil penalties and injunctive relief.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 Consumer Protection

  • The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced that the Merrimack County Superior Court granted final judgment against Worldwide Push Foundation, Inc. for violating the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act and charitable trust laws after it advertised a charitable event without obtaining necessary permits and licenses, and then postponed the event without providing refunds. The judgment includes injunctive relief and requires the company to provide refunds.
  • New York Attorney General James announced an agreement with the operator of virtual currency trading platform Bitfinex and another platform Tether which requires them to end trading activity involving New Yorkers. The companies allegedly made false statements about the “tether” stablecoin’s backing and the movement of money between the companies to cover up losses. Under the agreement, the companies must also submit reports to the Office of the Attorney General, submit to regular reporting, and pay $18.5 million in penalties.
  • California Attorney General Becerra announced that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied internet service providers’ motion for a preliminary injunction, allowing Senate Bill 822, California’s net neutrality law, to be enforced while the litigation takes place.
  • Colorado Attorney General Weiser led 30 attorneys general in sending a comment letter to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) urging it to fund internet-enabled devices and internet connectivity for K-12 students who are learning online because of the pandemic through the E-Rate program.

Elder Fraud & Abuse

  • Florida Attorney General Moody announced state legislation that would strengthen protection of elderly Florida residents. SB 1344 and HB 1041 would, among other things, expand the jurisdiction of the attorney general’s office to include crimes against elderly persons and disabled adults, provide additional methods of proving abuse and exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult, allow law enforcement authority to intervene prior to physical harm or financial loss, expand who may file an injunction, and extend injunctions for up to 45 days.

 Financial Services | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) announced that it will propose a rule to delay the General Qualified Mortgage (“QM”) Final Rule’s current mandatory compliance date of July 1, 2021. According to the announcement, “An extension of the compliance deadline would allow lenders more time in which they could make QM loans based on a debt-to-income ratio or whether the loans are eligible for sale to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and not just a pricing cut off.” The CFPB also announced that it is considering revisiting the Seasoned QM Final Rule with a rulemaking.

 Price Fixing

  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced a judgment against tuna manufacturer StarKist for a price-fixing scheme from November 2011 to December 2013 that artificially inflated the price of canned tuna. The Attorney General’s Office is arguing that the conduct took place over a longer period of time and hopes to prove this at trial, and is seeking monetary and injunctive relief.


  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that the Ninth Circuit overruled a Federal Railroad Administration rule which would have allowed railroads to operate trains with only one crewmember aboard, allowing a Washington law to take effect that requires most trains traveling through Washington to have at least two crewmembers on the train.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021:

Consumer Protection

  • A coalition of 21 attorneys general sent a letter to Congress in support of H.R. 1/S. 1, the For the People Act of 2021.  The Act’s goals are increasing voting access, such as by establishing automatic voter registration, protecting elections from undue influence, and disallowing federal officials from personally profiting from their offices.
  • Washington Attorney General Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Google for allegedly illegally failing to keep records of information about state political ads it sold and for failing to provide this information when requested.


  • California Attorney General Becerra announced a $10 million settlement against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Medical Device Business Services, Inc. and a $1.5 million settlement against private equity firm The Gores Group. The settlement resolves allegations that the companies used improper marketing tactics to advertise Therakos prescription medical device systems and that they submitted false claims to state Medicaid programs.
  • West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey announced a settlement of over $300,000 with Grant Memorial Hospital, which was accused of improperly billing Medicaid for services that a physician did not have the credentials to provide from 2014 to 2016.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced that her office reached a settlement with dental office Amity Dental Center and a dentist for allegedly refusing to accept MassHealth members who were seeking dental services. Under the settlement, the dentist and office have agreed to pay $7,500, complete 35 hours of community service of free dental services, distribute 250 dental hygiene kits, and provide free dental education to local schools.


  • Rhode Island Attorney General Neronha announced that he would testify in the Rhode Island Senate Labor Committee in support of SB195, a bill which would increase penalties in Rhode Island for wage theft and the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. According to the press release, “[t]he bill would increase existing penalties to up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for the first offense of misclassification or wage theft of $1,500-$5,000, or up to five years in prison and a fine of three times the wage amount or $20,000 (whichever is greater) for subsequent offenses of misclassification or wage theft in excess of $5,000.”

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Federal Matters

  • New York Attorney General James led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting the petitioner in U.S. Supreme Court case Grewal v. Defense Distributed. The coalition is seeking to protect states’ attempts to stop Defense Distributed from publishing instructions for building 3D-printed firearms. The coalition is also arguing in support of states’ abilities to send cease and desist letters out of state and that the Fifth Circuit did not account for state sovereignty and federalism issues when it found that Texas courts could have personal jurisdiction over New Jersey.


  • New Jersey Attorney General Grewal announced that the Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) is encouraging mental health professionals to provide free services to those in need. Under a new DCA Administrative Order, mental health professionals may partially satisfy continuing education requirements by providing free services to uninsured, low income individuals or frontline healthcare workers, as well as by volunteering with organizations that provide mental health services to those in need.

Financial Services | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • California Attorney General Becerra announced a lawsuit against live chat membership service AwesomeCalls, Inc. and AwesomeCallsTrading, Inc. for selling stock market investment advice without a license since 2014. The lawsuit seeks both monetary and injunctive relief.

State AG Office News

  • News reports have stated that under pending legislation in New Jersey, state and county prosecutors, including the attorney general, could be barred from holding elected office for three years after the end of their term.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Consumer Protection

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that the state will halt, for the 12thtime, the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York that has been specifically referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for collection — with limited exceptions — through March 31, 2021. The order will take effect today, March 1, and goes through Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Additionally, the OAG will accept applications for suspension of all other types of debt owed to the state of New York and referred to the OAG for collection.


  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Griddy Energy and Griddy Holdings for “false, misleading, and deceptive advertising and marketing practices” after the company sent sky-high electricity billsto customers during February’s devastating winter storm.

Federal Matters

  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of attorneys general from around the nation in fighting a lawsuit that seeks to stop states from enforcing their laws against a company disseminating dangerous 3D-printed gun files on the internet. A copy of the brief can be found here.