Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- California Attorney General Bonta joined a bipartisan coalition of 48 attorneys general by appealingthe dismissal of the lawsuit challenging Facebook’s allegedly anticompetitive behavior. The appeal argues that the district court’s ruling erred in finding that their case was time-barred and that is made other factual and legal errors. It also explains that Facebook illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut or conditioned services to minimize threats. These actions are among some of the ways that Facebook deprived users of the benefits of competition and reduced privacy protections and services.
- 51 Attorneys General sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking the agency to take swift action against the increase of illegal foreign-based robocalls that “spoof” domestic phone numbers. The letter is a reply comment submitted in response to the FCC’s proposal to require gateway providers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication protocol in order to verify foreign origin calls that use domestic phone numbers.
- 39 Attorneys General resolved claims against Navient alleging that it falsely represented that it would help borrowers find the best repayment options, and steering struggling student loan borrowers into costly long-term forbearances instead of counseling them about the benefits of more affordable income-driven repayment plans. Under the consent judgment, Navient will cancel the remaining balance on more than $1.6 billion in subprime private student loan balances owed by approximately 62,000 borrowers nationwide. In addition, a total of $95 million in restitution payments of about $260 each will be distributed to approximately 350,000 federal loan borrowers who were placed in certain types of long-term forbearances.
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul warned Illinois residents that an increasing number of “pop-up” COVID-19 testing sites have emerged, as well as price gouging of at-home rapid tests. The testing sites are not licensed or regulated by any government agency and often provide fraudulent services. He also warned businesses and individuals to maintain fair prices and refrain from price gouging on goods that are crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19, including at-home rapid tests. The Attorney General encouraged Illinois consumers who believe they have experienced price gouging or fraudulent test kits to file a complaint.
- Attorney General Herring announced that it will be holding three gas stations accountable for alleged price gouging of gasoline during the Colonial Pipeline emergency in the spring of 2021. He has reached settlements with George Mason, LLC d/b/a Liberty Gas & Ahmed’s George Mason Auto Service, Shriji Maharaj, LLC d/b/a Exxon at the Glen, and Shivoham Inc. d/b/a Gaskins Road Mobil for alleged violations of the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act relating to allegations that the gas stations charged unconscionable prices on gasoline, a necessary good, after a state of emergency was declared in response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies motor fuels and other petroleum-based products to a large portion of the east coast. All parties are enjoined from engaging in further violations and must pay civil penalties, attorneys’ fees, and disgorgement.