Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
Monday, August 30, 2021
- Connecticut Attorney General Tong announced the submission of comments to the Connecticut Insurance Department seeking the highest scrutiny for 11 health insurers’ rate increase requests. The comments express concern about COVID-19 related hardships for individuals and small businesses, as well as overvalued rates from a drop-in healthcare spending.
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a $1 million consent judgment against debt settlement company DMB Financial, LLC, resolving allegations that the company charged premature and inflated fees, enrolled individuals unable to benefit from the company’s program, and failed to disclose harms from the program. In connection with the settlement, Attorney General Healey stated, “This settlement is first-of-its-kind against a debt settlement company in Massachusetts and its terms will lay out a roadmap for addressing misconduct in this industry going forward.” The settlement also includes injunctive relief.
Criminal Fraud – False Representations for a Government Contract
- Acting New Jersey Attorney General Bruck announced that the owners of school bus company F&A Transportation, Inc. were indicted for allegedly providing false information to cover up the hiring of unqualified drivers, failure to conduct drug testing and background checks, and operation of unsafe buses. The Attorney General’s Office is arguing that all of this conduct violated state law and government contract terms.
- North Carolina Attorney General Stein announced the sentencing of the owner of company A Perfect Fit for You, Inc. for making false statements to the Medicaid program related to the sale of durable medical equipment. The owner and company must jointly pay $374,809.92 in restitution, and the owner must pay $34,708,945.42 in a related civil judgment.
- Virginia Attorney General Herring announced that Virginia’s price gouging laws are in effect due to the state of emergency declared in preparation for Hurricane Ida. The law prohibits suppliers from charging unconscionable prices for necessary goods and services for the 30-day period following a state of emergency declaration.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
- New York Attorney General James announced the indictment and arrest of 10 individuals and corporations for a $15 million bid-rigging scheme. The scheme involved false and inflated bids being submitted to the New York state Office of Victim Services and the New York City Human Resources Administration for moving and storage services intended to aid public benefits recipients, crime victims, and domestic violence survivors.
Labor and Employment
- Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine announced the hosting of a roundtable discussion ahead of Labor Day with advocates and employees to discuss employee rights to wages and fair treatment. Some of the employees present included area construction workers and a DoorDash driver.
Online Charitable Fundraising – AB 488
- California Attorney General Bonta announced that the state Senate approved Assembly Bill 488, which was sponsored by Attorney General Bonta. The bill, if passed, will ensure oversight by the California Department of Justice over charitable fundraising on the internet by, among other things, requiring online platform entities to register and report to the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
- Attorney General Chris Carr joined a coalition of 16 states to stop the Biden Administration’s so-called “Interim Guidance.” According to a press release from AG Carr’s office, the “Interim Guidance” drastically and intentionally curtails enforcement of immigration laws and dramatically halts nearly all deportations and immigration-related arrests, including for those convicted of dangerous aggravated felonies.
Labor and Employment – Gig Economy
- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey gave a coalition of app-based service providers like Uber and Lyft the go-ahead to start collecting signatures needed to put a proposed ballot measure before voters that would define drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
Online Charitable Fundraising – AB 488
- On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the California State Senate approved Assembly Bill 488 (AB 488), a bill authored by Assembly member Jacqui Irwin and sponsored by Attorney General Rob Bonta. AB 488 will ensure critical oversight by the California Department of Justice over charitable fundraising that occurs on internet platforms.
Friday, September 3, 2021
First Step Act – Sentencing Reform
Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a bipartisan coalition of 25 attorneys general, urged Congress to amend the First Step Act and extend critical resentencing reforms to individuals convicted of the lowest-level crack cocaine offenses. The coalition, which sent a letter last week to Congress, is calling on legislators to take this needed step in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Terry v. United States, which held that certain mid-level and high-level crack cocaine offenders could seek resentencing under the law, but low-level offenders were not eligible.