Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- The Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia announced a new enforcement effort against illegal telemarketing. The initiative, called “Operation Stop Scam Calls,” is targeting telemarketers and their employers, lead generators who deceptively collect consumers’ phone numbers, and VoIP service providers who facilitate robocalls.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 11 state attorneys general announced a lawsuit against Prehired, which offered a 12-week software sales development online training bootcamp. The lawsuit alleges that the company deceptively hid terms related to its “income share” loan to help students pay for the training program and engaged in illegal debt collection practices. The lawsuit seeks to void the loans as well as consumer redress and a penalty payment.
- A coalition of state attorneys general sent a comment letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over two proposed regulations: a pesticide registration review for Ethylene Oxide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and emissions standards under the Clean Air Act. The coalition is arguing that the regulations would harm the medical device supply chain, as Ethylene Oxide is used to sterilize medical devices, and is asking the EPA to not promulgate or at least extend the compliance period for the regulations.
- A coalition of state attorneys general announced a $11 million settlement with GlaxoSmithKline to resolve allegations that the company violated antitrust and consumer protection laws related to delaying generic versions of corticosteroid nasal spray Flonase.
- California Attorney General Bonta announced that his office has sent inquiry letters to large companies in the state seeking information on their compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act for data belonging to employees and job applicants. The announcement includes a reminder that as of January 1, 2023, businesses covered under the Act must also comply with privacy protections for employee data.
- Colorado Attorney General Weiser announced that Colorado will begin enforcing the Colorado Privacy Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2023. Attorney General Weiser’s office also sent an initial set of letters informing companies of their legal obligations under the Act, particularly those related to sensitive data and opt-out requirements.
District of Columbia
- District of Columbia Attorney General Schwalb announced a settlement with rent-a-bank lender EasyPay Finance, resolving allegations that the lender used predatory and deceptive practices to charge illegally high interest rates. The settlement includes a $215,000 payment and requires the company to obey strict operational conditions in the future.
- Florida Attorney General Moody announced that her office has created a new Cyber Fraud Enforcement Unit to focus on illicit online activity.
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced that DTE Energy filed a settlement agreement in an Integrated Resource Plan case before the Michigan Public Service Commission. The settlement includes many improvements sought by General Nessel, such as requiring DTE to end its use of coal for electricity in 2032, rate reductions, and a donation by DTE to energy efficient and renewable projects for low-income customers.
- Missouri Attorney General Bailey filed a lawsuit against tax preparation companies H&R Block, Taxslayer LLC, and TaxAct, Inc. for allegedly sharing taxpayer data with big tech companies like Meta and Google without their consent, in violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. The lawsuit alleges that the companies shared this data using pixels and seeks a preliminary injunction, restitution, and a civil penalty.
- New York Attorney General James announced a settlement with independent title insurance agency Kensington Vanguard National Land Services, LLC and its underwriters, resolving allegations that the defendants entered into unlawful no-poach agreements. The settlement requires the termination of any existing no-poach agreements, a $1 million civil penalty, and ongoing cooperation.
- New York Attorney General James announced a settlement with the Mamaroneck Union Free School District related to its failure to respond to race- and gender-based harassment and bullying against students. The settlement requires the district to implement policy changes, offer student counseling, and use data collection and reporting to catalog its responses to future discrimination, bullying, and harassment incidents.
- Oklahoma Attorney General Drummond announced that he is considering legal action against entities that engaged in market manipulation and other illegal conduct surrounding 2021 Winter Storm Uri. The announcement stresses that the oil and gas industry is not implicated.
- Tennessee Attorney General Skrmetti announced the filing of a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against illegal liquor shipments by six unlicensed defendants from out of state. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants facilitated the shipment of distilled spirits without a state license.