Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- A bipartisan coalition of 53 attorneys general is seeking Congress’ passage of The Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022. The Act addresses gaps in mental health support for public safety officers who have post-traumatic stress disorder and would allow the families of former public safety officers who committed suicide to receive benefits.
- A coalition of 28 attorneys general is asking GoFundMe to improve its disclosure policies and increase clarity in its terms of service for consumers. Specifically, the coalition is seeking an understanding of GoFundMe’s policies for when it chooses not to honor donations to certain causes.
- A coalition of 12 attorneys general filed comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking it to carefully consider the impacts of proposed natural gas infrastructure projects on nearby communities and on greenhouse gas emissions. The coalition applauded the development of an analysis framework for greenhouse gas emissions and for an update of the agency’s pipeline certification policy, while asking it to go further by acknowledging the need to reduce investments in fossil fuel infrastructure.
- Colorado Attorney General Weiser and Nebraska Attorney General Peterson submitted joint comments on the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission’s joint plan to revise the Horizontal Merger Guidelines. The comments emphasize the importance of antitrust enforcement reform given current market realities such as digital markets and nascent competition and having the “right tools” to ensure mergers do not harm consumers.
- Alaska Attorney General Taylor filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court, asking it to consider Alaska’s interests as they relate to the extent of federal authority under the Clean Water Act. Alaska is specifically concerned about the large amount of wetlands in the state, which cover almost half of the territory, and is seeking for the definition of “navigable waters” to include “relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies.”
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a consent decree filed against scrap metal processing company Joseph Freedman Co., Inc., settling allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act by unlawfully discharging polluted industrial stormwater through a municipal storm drain system without a permit. The settlement includes a $165,000 payment and requires system improvements.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a citation issued against waste hauling and disposal company Dynamic Waste Systems, Inc. and its owner for failing to timely pay wages by automatically deducting meal breaks without confirming they were really taken. The citation includes over $250,000 in restitution and penalties and requires a change in business practices.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a settlement with the State Rating Bureau and the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau, following an intervention in an administrative rate hearing. The settlement resulted in a rollback of about 3.5% on insurance rates for workers’ compensation, saving businesses in the state about $80 million.
- Minnesota Attorney General Ellison announced a lawsuit against four solar-panel sales companies and three executives for allegedly using deceptive and fraudulent marketing and sales practices. The lawsuit also names several lenders who assumed liability for claims and defenses. For example, the defendants allegedly tricked consumers into signing binding contracts and gave a false impression of partnering with utility companies. The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief, restitution, civil penalties, costs, and the cancellation of the contracts involved.
- New York Attorney General James and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against and MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. for allegedly violating consumer protection laws by failing to deliver funds in a timely way or to refund consumers when the funds were delayed. Attorney General James alleges that this behavior negatively impacted immigrants who were trying to send funds to their native countries. The lawsuit seeks monetary relief, civil penalties, and an injunction.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro announced a settlement with individuals associated with towing companies Angelina’s Towing and Recovery LLC, Siani’s Towing and Recovery LLC, and Aubry’s Towing LLC. The defendants allegedly towed vehicles that were parked legally and then sought cash payments for their release. The settlement, which is part of a larger effort against consumer protection violations by towing companies, includes restitution, costs, and a suspended civil penalties payment.