Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- A coalition of 38 attorneys general asked Congress to pass legislation that would allow attorneys general to enforce state and federal consumer protections for airline travelers. This request came after thousands of complaints from outraged passengers, claiming airlines have failed in their service responsibilities, causing significant frustrations and unnecessary challenges.
- A federal district court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of forty-two states, dismissing a motion for summary judgment allowing the coalition to proceed with its antitrust lawsuit against Indivior, Inc. and Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for market manipulation of their product Suboxone, a prescription medication commonly used to treat opioid addiction.
- A coalition of 34 states and JUUL Labs reached a $438.5 million settlement, resolving a two-year bipartisan investigation into the e-cigarette manufacturer’s marketing and sales practices. In addition to the financial terms, the settlement would force JUUL to comply with a series of strict injunctive terms severely limiting their marketing and sales practices.
- Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that the Consumer Information and Complaints unit recovered a record $5.4 million for Arizonans who filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office over the past fiscal year. The top three complaints over the past year involved car sales, robocalls, and real estate.
- Assembly member Bauer-Kahan’s bill AB 1242, sponsored by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, has passed the California State Legislature and is now on the Governor’s desk. The bill includes new language to forge a legal path to protect reproductive digital information handled by companies headquartered in California. The bill would also prevent arrest or turnover of information in an investigation related to any abortion already legal in California.
- Attorney General Bonta issued a consumer alert following the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency as extreme heat strains the grid with increased energy demand. In the alert, Attorney General Bonta reminded all Californians that price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal under Penal Code Section 396 and encouraged Californians to be proactive about protecting themselves and their health during the heat wave.
- Connecticut Attorney General William Tong today announced a settlement with Frontier Communications worth over $60 million to dramatically expand access to high-speed internet for Frontier customers in economically distressed communities, end a hidden monthly $6.99 internet surcharge, and force significant improvements in Frontier’s marketing and customer service. The settlement resolves a joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection into whether Frontier deceived or misled consumers in the marketing and sales of internet services.
- Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and Insurance Commissioner John King warned consumers whose homes were damaged by the recent flooding in northwest Georgia to be on the lookout for home repair fraud and price gouging.
- Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita issued an advisory opinion affirming that Indiana law requires Indiana Public Retirement System investments to be based solely on the financial interests of Hoosier public employees and retirees.
Attorney General Rokita announced a $15 million settlement with Frontier Communications that will ensure that Hoosiers receive the services for which they have paid. The settlement especially benefits residents living in rural communities.
- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt released a consumer alert about utility scams persisting through the end of summer. Utility companies across the state have reported an increase in customer calls alerting them of imposters, who are out in force. Scammers call residents threatening to shut off water or utility services within days or mere hours, unless the citizen pays the caller.
- The Kansas Attorney General’s Office announced that it will provide Kansans with consumer protection and public safety information at the Kansas State Fair, which opens Friday.
- The Maine Office of the Attorney General successfully defended the LD 946, which restricts the usage of customer data by internet service providers (“ISPs”). Last week, the nation’s largest telecommunication providers dropped a federal lawsuit challenging a Maine law limiting ISPs’ ability to use, disclose, or sell their customers’ personal information. The ISPs filed suit in February of 2020 in response to the passage of LD 946, and the suit was dismissed on September 2, 2022.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey congratulated Jeffrey Shapiro on his appointment as the next Inspector General. Shapiro is an attorney who has been serving as the Commonwealth’s First Deputy Comptroller and previously worked for the Middlesex County District Attorney and the Office of the Attorney General.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a bypass application to the Michigan Supreme Court asking it to take up her challenge of past decisions by the Court that have limited enforcement of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act for the past two decades. Earlier this year, Attorney General Nessel launched an investigation into Eli Lilly related to its insulin pricing practices.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro publicized that a Delaware County caregiver pleaded guilty to stealing the personal identifying information of several intellectually disabled people in his care to fraudulently apply for and receive thousands of dollars in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funding.
- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has selected Assistant Attorney General Morgan Damerow as the Attorney General’s Office Open Government Ombuds.
- Attorney General Ferguson announced that a King County Superior Court judge ruled that Facebook parent company Meta repeatedly violated Washington’s campaign finance transparency law. The judge also denied Meta’s attempt to gut Washington’s campaign transparency law.