Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
Monday, November 1, 2021
- Kansas Attorney General Schmidt announced that Shawnee County District Court Judge Watson approved consent judgments against company SearchTec, Inc., which manages business documents, for illegally disposing of documents that contained personal information using public trash receptacles in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. Under the consent judgments, three corporate entities associated with SearchTec must pay almost $500,000 and change their business practices, for example by properly disposing of documents and conducting employee training.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a settlement with insurance agency Health Plan Intermediaries Holdings, LLC d/b/a Health Insurance Innovations, resolving allegations that the company sold health insurance plans that were not authorized for sale, claimed that its health insurance covered services it actually excluded, described health insurance as comprehensive when it was limited, and deceptively passed off limitations as positive elements rather than negative. The settlement includes a $625,000 payment and bans the company from selling health plans that are not Medicare-related in the state for a year.
Financial Exploitation Prevention Act (FEPA)
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act’s rule requiring financial institutions to report financial exploitation of vulnerable adults to law enforcement and adult protective services is now in effect.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
- Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine asked six funeral homes in the District to comply with an emergency COVID-19 law requiring funeral homes to clearly and transparently display pricing information about funeral services and goods on the businesses’ websites. The businesses must also post the Funeral Bill of Rights online.
Education – Title IX
- A coalition of 19 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia, led by Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum, filed an amicus brief with the District of Oregon in Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education, in support of Title IX laws which prohibit sex-based discrimination. The coalition is arguing that the religious exemption to Title IX was unjustly expanded and should again be narrowed.
Healthcare – Pharmacy Benefit Managers
- Insurance Commissioner Navarro announced that the Delaware Department of Insurance will begin creating and enforcing regulations over Pharmacy Benefit Managers (“PBMs”) as HB 219 goes into effect. Among other things, the newly enacted law bars unequal payments to unaffiliated pharmacies and gives the Department of Insurance the power to investigate and regulate PBMs.
State AG Election News
- Jason Miyares (R) won Virginia’s attorney general election, defeating incumbent Mark Herring (D). AG Elect Miyares, who has been a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates since 2016 and is a former prosecutor, has become the state’s first Latino attorney general. Some of his priorities in office include combatting human trafficking and improving law and order in Virginia.
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
- Colorado Attorney General Weiser sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation asking it to help increase competition among airlines to improve consumer protection. Specifically, Attorney General Weiser relayed his concerns that the industry is too concentrated and provides unnecessarily limited competition. Weiser also offers suggestions for a new model for the industry, including changes in slot management and code-sharing practices.
Thursday, November 4, 2021
- Florida Attorney General Moody announced a lawsuit against online travel company BookIt Operating, LLC seeking more than $7 million for consumers. The lawsuit alleges that the company acted as an online third-party intermediary for car rentals, hotels, and airlines, and that it failed to disclose it did not have funds for current bookings without new incoming bookings, leaving consumers without a reservation or an initial refund.
Environmental – Toxic Chemicals
- North Carolina Attorney General Stein announced four lawsuits against 14 manufacturers of fire suppressant Aqueous Film Forming Foam, which contains PFAS. The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturers created a public nuisance and a design defect, failed to warn consumers, and fraudulently transferred assets to shield profits. The lawsuit is seeking an investigation into the nature of the damage, a cleanup, replacement of water treatment systems and wells, restoration of resources, and future monitoring.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro announced a lawsuit against Pennsylvania companies owned and operated by influencer Dana Chanel, alleging that Chanel failed to deliver promised goods and services and misled consumers.
Friday, November 5, 2021
Bank Secrecy Act
- California Attorney General Bonta announced an administrative accusation filed with the California Gambling Control Commission against The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, following the resolution of a federal investigation into whether the company violated the Bank Secrecy Act’s anti-money laundering provisions. The action will seek to hold the business owner responsible for violations of state law.
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a settlement with online payday lending lead generators MoneyMutual LLC, PartnerWeekly LLC, and Selling Source LLC. The settlement resolves allegations that these businesses violated state lending laws by generating payday loan leads without a license and by arranging payday loans for out-of-state lenders which were also unlicensed, all while representing that their loan network was trustworthy. The settlement requires the companies to immediately stop offering loans to consumers in the state without a license.
- Colorado Attorney General Weiser announced that the Colorado Department of Law’s consumer protection section responded to complaints that online educational platform com displayed e-cigarette ads. The press release states that the consumer protection section is satisfied with the company’s steps to block these advertisements using content moderating software but that it will continue to monitor online advertising to protect children.
- Washington Attorney General Ferguson released his sixth annual Data Breach Report, revealing that the last year has far surpassed the record of data breach and ransomware attacks reported since Attorney General Ferguson’s office began tracking this data. 2021 saw 6.3 million notices, while the previous record was 3.5 million in 2018.