Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
Monday, September 13, 2021
Disability Discrimination Protections
- A coalition of 18 attorneys general led by Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine filed an amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court case CVS Pharmacy v. Doe. The brief urges the Court to uphold the existing legal standard, which allows challenges against public programs that have the effect of discriminating against those with disabilities, even without intent.
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced a settlement with Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation in a rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission. The agreement results in a rate increase about 40% lower than that requested, as well as assistance programs to benefit consumers.
- New York Attorney General James announced an agreement with GTV Media Group, Inc. and its parent company, Saraca Media Group, Inc., under which the companies will pay $479.9 million to resolve allegations that they did not register as commodities brother-dealers and/or securities dealers.
- New York Attorney General James announced a $3 million judgment against virtual currency trading platform Coinseed and its Chief Executive Officer. The judgment permanently bars Coinseed’s operations and creates a permanent receiver to protect investor funds.
- New Jersey Acting Attorney General Bruck issued a consumer alert warning consumers to be aware of scams following Tropical Storm Ida, including price gouging and charity scams.
Retail – Organized Retail Crime Task Force
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a public and private entity partnership aimed towards combatting the increase in organized retail crime. The partnership, called the Organized Retail Crime Task Force, is intended to increase cooperation among online marketplaces, retailers, and law enforcement agencies. Some retailers involved include CVS, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
- West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey announced a lawsuit against used car dealer Mr. V & Sons Pre-Owned Auto Sales, Inc. and its executives for allegedly selling unsafe vehicles, among other conduct. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties, restitution, and permanent injunctive relief.
- A multistate coalition of attorneys general applauded the U.S. Department of Education’s decision rescinding a prior interpretation of federal law shielding student loan servicers from state oversight. The coalition’s comment letter also asks the Department to clarify when state laws that regulate student loan servicers are preempted.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced an investigation into a T-Mobile, US, Inc. data breach that compromised over 50 million people’s personally-identifying information. Attorney General Healey’s office is investigating the breach’s circumstances, whether T-Mobile had appropriate safeguards in place, and how T-Mobile is addressing the breach.
- A coalition of 20 attorneys general sent a letter to Congressional leadership, asking Congress to allocate funding in its reconciliation bill to programs that promote clean energy, fight pollution, and improve air and water quality. The letter notes that climate issues often disproportionately impact communities of color, low-income and immigrant communities, and Tribal and indigenous communities. The letter also asks Congress to ensure that 40% of the improvements the budget reconciliation bill funds benefit disadvantaged communities.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Construction Fraud Scheme
- New York Attorney General James announced the sentencing of an individual who defrauded homebuyers, business owners, and others out of $1 million in a construction fraud scheme, which he used to his own benefit.
- North Carolina Attorney General Stein announced that his office obtained a preliminary injunction against boat repair company Jason’s Mobile Outboard Repair and its owner, barring them from advertising or providing boat repair services or collecting consumer payments while a lawsuit related to the company’s alleged failure to perform services is occurring. The preliminary injunction also requires the defendants to provide additional information about previous financial and consumer transactions.
Thursday, September 16, 2021
- New York Attorney General James announced a ban against the event producer who operated African Food Festival, LLC from producing festivals and events in New York, after the producer scammed consumers who bought tickets to three food festivals by never providing food and entertainment paid for, as well as refused to pay vendors, staff, and contractors hired for the events. The court order also includes over $310,000 in restitution and penalties.
Labor and Employment
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced the issuance of three citations against recording studio Bristol Studios, Inc. and its officers for violating minimum wage laws by failing to pay its interns and failing to keep hour and wage records, as well as for failing to comply with employment laws related to providing paid sick leave. The citations total over $400,000.
OSHA – Vaccine Mandates
- A coalition of 24 attorneys general sent a letter to President Biden threatening legal action over a proposed mandate for private sector employees to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, submit to weekly testing, or risk termination. The attorneys general highlighted policy concerns, including the possibility of a large number of individuals leaving the workforce, particularly healthcare workers.
Friday, September 17, 2021
- New Jersey Acting Attorney General Bruck announced that the Bureau of Securities issued a Summary Cease and Desist Order against cryptocurrency firm Celsius Network LLC, which was selling unregistered securities to fund its operations. The press release notes that registration is important in part because it triggers certain disclosure requirements.
- A coalition of 15 attorneys general submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (“EPA”) in support of the EPA’s proposal to include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, in the Contaminant Candidate List 5. Listing PFAS will be the first step in gathering data about whether these chemicals are in drinking water supplies and considering their regulation as a class in drinking water.
- New York Attorney General James announced a judgment against high school and post graduate basketball program AAUCONNECT and the owners of the program for defrauding consumers by selling but failing to provide training, housing, and education services; failing to provide refunds; and failing to disclose that payments were non-refundable and that significant late fees would be charged. The judgment includes a payment of almost $380,000 in restitution and penalties.
- New York Attorney General James announced an agreement with A&E Real Estate Holdings, resolving an investigation which found that A&E failed to comply with apartment inspection, lead hazard remediation, and other requirements in New York City’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. The agreement includes A&E’s continued efforts to bring apartments into compliance with the Act, compliance reports, and a $510,000 payment.