Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
Monday, October 18, 2021
Consumer Protection – Cryptocurrency
- New York Attorney General James announced that she directed two virtual currency lending platforms to immediately stop operating in New York, and asked three others to immediately provide information about their products and operations.
- California Attorney General Bonta announced he and other Attorneys General submitted comment letters to the U.S. Department of Energy asking it to strengthen the U.S. energy efficiency program. The letters addressed issues related to proposals to strengthen energy efficiency standards for certain types of lightbulb, washer, dryers and dishwashers and to unwind certain Trump administration process rules.
- Virginia Attorney General Herring announced that his Office of Civil Rights filed 13 lawsuits against 29 real estate companies for alleged housing discrimination practices. Specifically, the lawsuits allege that the companies discriminated against those who planned to use Housing Choice Vouchers to pay rent. The lawsuits are seeking damages, injunctive relief, civil penalties, and costs.
Labor and Employment
- Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine announced a lawsuit against construction company Dynamic Contracting, Inc., two of its general contractors, and four of its labor subcontractors for a scheme that involved worker misclassification on construction projects. The lawsuit, which seeks damages, penalties, and injunctive relief, alleges that the scheme resulted in the denial of worker benefits.
- New Jersey Acting Attorney General Bruck announced that the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights adopted amendments to its New Jersey Family Leave Act rules which allow more employees to take family leave for a wider variety of reasons, including for reasons related to a public health epidemic. The rules also clarify eligibility and how to administer the leave benefit.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
- A coalition of 20 attorneys general sent a comment letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, urging these regulators to explicitly speak out against rent-a-bank schemes in their guidance for banks on risk management when working with third parties.
- Connecticut Attorney General Tong issued a press release urging charities in the state to protect themselves from fraud, such as by not clicking on links in unexpected texts or emails, vetting unsolicited offers that require advance fee payments, and checking bank statements regularly for unusual activity.
Labor and Employment
- Rhode Island Attorney General Neronha announced that two owners of asbestos remediation company Franklin Analytical Serviceswere arraigned on charges of wage theft. The charges include failure to pay overtime on a prevailing wage job, conspiracy to fail to pay overtime wages, conspiracy to file false certified payroll, and filing a false certified payroll document.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
- New Jersey Acting Attorney General Bruck announced that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs proposed amendments to health club services regulations, which would require registered sellers of these services to post a notice at any locations where consumers sign contracts, including online, telling consumers how to cancel.
- Washington Attorney General Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Global Grid Telecom and its owner for illegally robocalling consumers and sending deceptive recorded messages purporting to sell a robocall-blocking service. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, restitution, and civil penalties of up to $7,500 per violation.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced that an owner and biller of medical equipment company Integrity Medical & Physician Supply were charged with defrauding Illinois out of over $600,000 in Medicaid funding. Specifically, the defendants were charged with submitting fraudulent claims to the Medicaid program for diabetic supplies that were never provided.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued several orders seeking information on the business practices of large technology companies that operate payment systems in the United States. The CFPB is hoping to use this information to understand how the companies use payment data and manage data access, in order to ensure there are adequate consumer protections in place.
Food & Drug Administration
- A coalition of 23 attorneys general petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) to accelerate the removal of toxic heavy metals from infant and toddler foods by setting limits on toxic metals in these products. The FDA has already instituted a plan to limit toxic metals in baby food, but the coalition is seeking to accelerate the timeline and is asking for stricter regulations.
State AG Election News
- Maryland Attorney General Frosh announced that he will not be seeking re-election as Attorney General after his term ends in the next 15 months.
Friday, October 22, 2021
- News sources reported that Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine added Facebook CEO Zuckerberg as a defendant in his 2018 complaint over Cambridge Analytica’s allegedly illegal collection of users’ data through a personality quiz app.
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that her office is participating in the Michigan Public Service Commission’s Technical Conference on Emergency Preparedness, Distribution Reliability, and Storm Damage, which was organized in response to prolonged power outages during the past summer. Attorney General Nessel’s participation will focus on expanding on comments the commission has received related to utility oversight.
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a lawsuit against Metal Management Midwest Inc. d/b/a Sims Metal Management for failing to show a minimum threshold reduction in uncontrolled emissions from its metal shredding and recycling facility. The court has also entered an interim order requiring the company to create and implement a control system to reduce uncontrolled emissions by at least 81%.
- State attorneys general applauded that the Northern District of California vacated new rules imposed by the previous administration in section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The new rules reduced states’ ability to enforce against water pollution and related environmental harm.
Labor and Employment
- New Jersey Acting Attorney General Bruck announced that telecommunications contractor Adalex Enterprises Corp. d/b/a Adalex Communications; Advance Telecom Resources, Inc.; and Adalex’s principals must pay $175,000 to resolve allegations that the company defrauded the state by failing to pay employees prevailing wages.