Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
Monday, July 19, 2021
- Nine attorneys general filed a formal objection to Purdue Pharma’s proposed bankruptcy plan, which shields the Sackler family from legal liability. The attorneys general are arguing that bankruptcy courts may not prevent attorneys general from enforcing state laws.
- California Attorney General Bonta announced a settlement with the Prime Healthcare Services system and two of its doctors, resolving allegations that they violated the state and federal False Claims Acts through fraudulent claims and kickbacks. The settlement requires the company and doctors to pay $37.5 million and to implement a compliance program.
- California Attorney General Bonta released a one-year report on the California Consumer Privacy Act, finding that 75% of businesses came into compliance within the 30-day cure period after receiving notice of a violation and the other 25% are either within the 30-day period or under investigation. The press release also announces an online tool giving consumers the ability to directly notify businesses of potential violations, which may trigger the 30-day cure period.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Gun Safety Reform
- Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine issued a statement about violent crime in the District, including a call for a comprehensive plan for reform in areas such as gun safety, violence interruption programs, and criminal justice.
Labor & Employment
- Louisiana Attorney General Landry announced the arrests of several individuals accused of stealing more than $1 million in unemployment benefits through the filing of fraudulent claims.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro announced that a doctor was charged with unlawful prescribing of medications outside his legal and ethical practice. For example, the doctor allegedly failed to maintain proper records and failed to perform required check-ups on patients. In connection with the charges, Lancaster County District Attorney Adams stated, “This case is an important reminder that law enforcement leaves no stone unturned when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic – anyone who is responsible for the crimes contributable to this epidemic will be held accountable.”
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
- Kansas Attorney General Schmidt announced that he petitioned the Kansas Corporation Commission to intervene in upcoming rate hearings for natural gas companies Black Hills Energy, Kansas Gas Service Company, and Atmos Energy Corporation, which are asking to recover costs from consumers for a winter storm.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
- Florida Attorney General Moody applauded the one year anniversary of her consumer protection program Scams at a Glance, which is an outreach initiative including both a webpage and brochures for those consumers who do not spend as much time online. The webpage and brochures contain information about scams that are common and emerging. The webpage also includes downloadable material in English and Spanish.
- Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that antique business International Antique & Art Importers Inc., also known as Ming’s Asian Gallery & Antiques, and one of its owners pleaded guilty to a felony count of violating the Washington Animal Trafficking Act, which prohibits selling products made from certain endangered animals, such as elephant ivory. The penalty includes a fine, as well as criminal liability for the owner.
Friday, July 23, 2021
- Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine announced a settlement with car sharing company Getaround, Inc., requiring it to pay $950,000 to the District and restitution to car owners who experienced damage to their cars or theft while they were listed on the platform, as well as to revise its practices. The settlement resolves allegations that the company misrepresented the benefits, safety, and security of its services, operated without a license, and failed to pay sales tax. Among other things, it requires the company to represent limitations of the safety and security of its platform clearly, disclose terms and conditions of vehicle insurance, not misrepresent the ownership of vehicles, and state accurate hours of customer service.
Labor and Employment
- New York Attorney General James announced a settlement with B&B Hospitality, as well as celebrity chef Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich, and three of their restaurants, resolving allegations of a hostile work environment. Under the settlement, the company and individuals must pay $600,000 to former employees, revise training materials in all restaurants owned by B&B, and submit biannual reports certifying compliance.
- California Attorney General Bonta filed a lawsuit against the City of Fontana over its approval of the Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project, which would be located in one of the state’s most polluted areas and border a public high school. Attorney General Bonta is arguing that the city only conducted a limited environmental review of the project and failed to analyze, disclose, and mitigate its environmental impacts in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.