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 attorneys general from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico announced a preliminary agreement with a multinational technology company, resolving one of three antitrust lawsuits against the company. The agreement will be finalized in the next 30 days.
- A coalition of 15 state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. SEC Chair Gensler, asking the SEC to require any foreign-owned company to independently certify that it is complying with the Tariff Act of 1930’s provision forbidding the importation of products made using forced labor. The letter relates to fashion retailer SHEIN’s potential Initial Public Offering and accusations that the company uses forced labor to make its products.
- A multistate coalition of attorneys general announced an agreement in principle with grocery store chain Kroger. The settlement requires Kroger to pay $1.37 billion for its role in the opioid epidemic.
- A multistate coalition of 42 attorneys general announced a $35 million settlement with Tempoe, LLC, resolving allegations that the company misled consumers into thinking they were entering a credit sale or installment plan when they were actually signing a lease agreement under which they paid significantly more than the purchase price of the product or service. The settlement also permanently bans Tempoe from offering consumer leasing services and cancels all existing leases.
- California Attorney General Bonta announced a lawsuit against nine hemp companies for selling illegal inhalable hemp goods in violation of Assembly Bill 45, failing to include Proposition 65 warnings, and engaging in unfair business practices. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the companies from selling illegal products as well as from selling goods without the proper warnings. It also seeks damages and civil penalties.
- California Attorney General Bonta sent a letter to several U.S. federal agencies, asking them to regulate medical payment products like medical credit cards and installment loans. Some of the proposed regulations include designating medical credit card debt as medical rather than consumer debt, proper screening for financial aid and charity care, and limiting enrollment in provider offices.
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a settlement with Newly Weds Foods, Inc., resolving allegations that the company’s Chicago bakery exceeded allowed emissions and production limits and did not timely conduct and report emissions testing. The settlement includes a $755,000 civil penalty and requires the company to undergo emissions testing.
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced a lawsuit against Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority, alleging that it created PFAS releases into the water supply. The lawsuit, which follows warnings and demands from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, costs, and damages.
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced an Assurance of Discontinuation against Golden Hearts Games, Inc., which was offering online gambling games to consumers in Michigan without proper licensing. The agreement requires the company to stop offering gambling services to consumers in the state.
- Minnesota Attorney General Ellison announced that his office has begun investigating 52 student loan debt relief companies that are suspected of acting illegally. Specifically, Attorney General Ellison believes these companies are offering debt-settlement services without registering in Minnesota and are violating consumer protection law by misrepresenting their services and prices and making false promises of student-loan forgiveness, which only the federal government can provide.
- New Hampshire Attorney General Formella announced court approval of a settlement with Erica Blizzard and Blizzard Inc. d/b/a Lakeport Landing Marina, resolving allegations of Underground Storage Tank Act violations at a marina stemming from a severed fuel line. The settlement includes a $100,000 civil penalty.
- New York Attorney General James announced an agreement with insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk Inc., under which the company will cap the price of insulin at $35 per month for uninsured consumers in the state for five years. The agreement also includes a consumer notification program about the capped price.
- North Carolina Attorney General Stein asked recently closed furniture retailers, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Klaussner Furniture, to help former employees in any way they can after their sudden closures. Specifically, the letter asks the companies to work with the state and local governments to provide resources to employees as well as to be mindful of their responsibilities to the environment and to consumers.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Henry announced a lawsuit against dental group Infinity Dental Management, LLC and its owner and an employee, alleging that it misled patients into obtaining loans and failed to provide them notice of their rights and protections. The lawsuit seeks to ban the company from offering dental and credit services in the state, as well as civil penalties and consumer restitution.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Henry announced a settlement with online personality Dana Chanel and related companies, resolving allegations that the companies misled consumers and failed to deliver credit repair and mobile app services. The settlement bans the defendants from selling or advertising credit repair and mobile app services as well as requires them to pay restitution, legal costs, and civil penalties.
- Virginia Attorney General Miyares announced an $80 million settlement agreement with Monsanto Co. for environmental contamination in the state caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The settlement sums are to be used for restitution and remediation.
- Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced a lawsuit against nonprofit Noble Foundation and associated individuals, alleging that the entity failed to account for $1 million in charitable grants to serve communities of color since 2019. Among other remedies, the lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to return the diverted sums, to bar them from serving on the boards of future Washington nonprofits, and to dissolve the foundation.