Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a lawsuit against Eastern Ozarks Regional Health System for failing to protect sensitive patient information, both personal and medical, after the hospital closed. The suit alleges that the former Cherokee Village hospital violated the Personal Information Protection Act and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act when the hospital abruptly closed its doors, locking out employees and abandoning patient and employee files.
- California Attorney General Rob Bonta sent a letter to refineries active in the California market warning them against illegal market manipulation and other violations of state antitrust laws. While gas prices reflect a number of factors, too often, market disruption creates opportunity for market manipulation. In the letter, Attorney General Bonta calls on these businesses to keep a close eye out for manipulation and to immediately report any anticompetitive behavior.
- Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement following a decision by the First District Court of Appeal rejecting SK Trading‘s request to be dismissed as a defendant for lack of jurisdiction in ongoing litigation against SK Energy Americas and Vitol. In 2020, the California Department of Justice filed a lawsuit alleging that the multinational gasoline firms took advantage of market disruption following a 2015 explosion at a gasoline refinery in Torrance, California to drive up gas prices for their own profit.
- Connecticut Attorney General William Tong testified in support of House Bill 5463, which seeks to strengthen the state’s ability to combat price gouging. House Bill 5463 “An Act Concerning the Authority of the Office of the Attorney General to Bring an Action Against a Seller Who Engages in Price Gouging During a Disaster or Emergency” would extend the state’s ability to bring price gouging enforcement actions against bad actors and sellers higher up the supply chain.
- Attorney General William Tong and acting United States Attorney for the District Court of Connecticut Leonard C. Boyle announced a $192,699 joint state and federal settlement with the Windham Eye Group and its owners William Kaufold, MD and Dana Woods, MD resolving allegations that the Windham-based ophthalmological practice improperly employed an individual who was excluded from work with federal healthcare programs.
- Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings, the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Unit, and the DOJ’s Investor Protection Unit issued cautionary advisories for consumers and investors related to the risk of scams, cyberattacks, and investment threats related to the conflict in Ukraine.
- Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a consumer alert warning Floridians about charity scams attempting to exploit Florida Highway Patrol Master Trooper Toni Schuck, who risked her life by driving a patrol vehicle in front of a speeding drunk driver to protect runners.
- Attorney General Moody warned Floridians about scams related to the 2022 tax-filing deadline, outlining common tax scams and tips about how to avoid them.
- Attorney General Moody also issued a consumer alert warning Floridians about potential cyberattacks due to growing tensions in Europe.
- Attorney General Raoul convened a meeting with representatives of Metro East law enforcement agencies, the retail industry and lawmakers to discuss collaborations to strengthen investigations and prosecutions of individuals and enterprises involved in organized retail crime.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel provided consumer protection reminders regarding auto insurers’ issuance of $400-per-vehicle refunds to eligible Michigan policyholders.
- Attorney General Nessel presented on consumer protection measures for the state’s senior population as the Elder Abuse Task Force (EATF) launches its latest resource focused on the rights of residents living in nursing homes.
- Following a Notice of Intended Action, Attorney General Nessel reached an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) agreement with pharmacies located in Holland, Madison Heights, Birch Run, and Bay City addressing complaints related to at-home COVID-19 test kit pricing.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office recovered more than $40,000 in refunds for New Yorkers who had their events cancelled at the Falkirk Estate & Country Club (Falkirk) in the Hudson Valley due to pandemic-related shutdowns. Couples reported that Falkirk refused to refund them their deposits when their weddings were cancelled due to pandemic restrictions on large gatherings. In an agreement with Falkirk, the venue will repay two couples $18,300 and provide additional refund payments for any other individuals who made deposits between June 26, 2020 and May 19, 2021 but were denied refunds.
- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein released a statement on the federal DO NOT Call Act (H.R. 4919), sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ross (NC-2). In the statement, Attorney General Stein condemned robocalling and urged the passage of the DO NOT Call Act.
- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed consumer protection lawsuits against two companies and their owners for sending more than 210,000 deceptive letters to small business owners in Washington. The letters deceptively appear to originate from the government, and demand payment for a “Certificate of Status” or a workplace poster that are available free of charge or for a fraction of the monetary demand.