Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- A multistate coalition led by California Attorney General Bonta and New York Attorney General James submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of its proposal to strengthen emissions regulations against new, modified, and reconstructed oil and natural gas facilities and to regulate emissions from these facilities that already exist. The coalition also suggested ways to build on the proposal, such as by requiring the monitoring and repair of leaks for every well site.
- A multistate coalition of attorneys general sent comments in support of a U.S. Department of Energy proposal to codify stricter energy efficiency requirements for lightbulbs. Specifically, the coalition is asking the Department to implement the 45 lumens per watt standard as soon as possible.
- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and 26 state securities regulators filed a complaint in the Central District of California against Safeguard Metals, LLC and an individual, alleging that they solicited investors with undisclosed inflated prices for precious metals.
- A coalition of six states submitted comments to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, asking it to quickly act to implement standards to protect employees from workplace exposure to extreme heat. The comments ask the agency to implement concrete rules such as heat exposure time limits and recordkeeping requirements.
- California Attorney General Bonta announced investigations against businesses operating loyalty programs in the state, sending notices warning of noncompliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act. The Act requires businesses that offer financial incentives to clearly describe their material terms before consumers opt in. The press release also warns that the Act also applies to brick and mortar stores.
- California Attorney General Bonta announced a Ninth Circuit decision allowing the state’s net neutrality law to stay in effect while litigation related to the law proceeds. According to the press release, the decision “will protect Californians from blocking, throttling, zero-rating, and other anti-competitive practices that the net neutrality law was adopted to address.”
- California Attorney General Bonta announced Assembly Bill 1742, legislation which will preserve the state’s ability to receive payments under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and give the Attorney General’s Office the responsibility to review cigarette fire safety certifications.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a consent judgment against for-profit real estate companies AngleFund, Inc. and DTH-REO, Inc. and their owner, resolving a lawsuit alleging a “lease-to-own” scam that deceived low-income consumers into making agreements for distressed homes they could not pay for. The consent judgment requires the companies to pay $60,000 and stop operating in the state, among other things.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a consent judgement against property development corporation and contractor Pulte Homes of New England, LLC and J&J Contractors, Inc., resolving allegations about unlawful asbestos abatement activity. The judgment requirements the companies to pay $325,000 and agree to injunctive provisions like a mandatory employee training course.
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that her office begun an investigation into Eli Lilly, seeking to investigate the role that drug companies play in charging excessive prices for treatments, such as insulin.
- New Jersey Acting Attorney General Bruck announced that the state Division of Consumer Affairs sent a letter to motor vehicle dealers, putting them on notice that merchants may be liable for selling unlawful license plate frames or holders that obscure markings on the license plates without sufficiently notifying consumers that these frames or holders violate state law.
- New York Attorney General James sent a warning letter to COVID-19 testing lab PacGenomics, which did not meet the promised turnaround times for test results. The letter requires the company to immediately update its website and signage to reflect accurate wait times.
- North Carolina Attorney General Stein announced civil settlements with Knowles, Smith & Associates LLPand Center for Women’s Health, P.A., resolving allegations that the companies submitted false claims to the state Medicaid program, such as for medically unnecessary services and high level interaction office visits that did not occur. The settlements total over $1.5 million.
- Washington Attorney General Ferguson filed a lawsuit against testing center business Center for COVID Control for allegedly providing improper and delayed test results to consumers, and for not providing results at all on some occasions. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, civil penalties, and restitution.
- After actions by the Washington Attorney General, the owners of house cleaning businesses Advanced Cleaning Solutions and Washington Cleaning Solutions pleaded guilty to felony theft and agreed to repay over $33,000 in stolen employee wages. The owners allegedly failed to pay wages and paid workers with checks incapable of being cashed.