Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- In light of increased baby formula shortages due to recalls and supply chain disruptions, New York Attorney General Letitia James posted a warning to retailers that price gouging is illegal. Similarly, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr informed Georgia consumers about the scams and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking her to immediately declare an “abnormal disruption of the market” in Oregon pursuant to ORS 401.965.
- A coalition of 41 state attorneys general wrote to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urging support of the Debt Bondage Repair Act, which restores the credit of human trafficking survivors. Signed into law in December 2021, the Debt Bondage Repair Act prohibits credit-rating agencies from providing consumer reports that contain negative items about human trafficking survivors from any period during which the individual was being trafficked.
- A coalition of seven state attorneys general wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging the approval of the merger Tractor Supply Company and Orscheln Farm & Home. The letter explains how the merger will benefit rural Americans and urges the FTC to swiftly complete its review and allow the transaction to proceed.
- Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a consent judgment against Mark Anthony Smith, the owner and manager of debt collection businesses. CMS Financial Group, John Lee Group & Associatesand TD Financial Solutions Group AZ. The judgment permanently bars Smith from participating in any debt collection activities and requires Smith to pay more than $ 1.6 million for consumer restitution.
- Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge Initiated a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers for manipulating and inflating insulin and drug prices in Arkansas. In the complaint, Attorney General Rutledge alleges that several drug manufacturers conspired with Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) to significantly increase their revenues by unfairly and deceptively driving up the costs of insulin.
- Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge publicized a final judgment against two chiropractic clinics, 501 Pain & Rehab, LLC and 501 Pain and Rehab Family Clinic of Russellville, LLC. The Court found the Defendants violated the Personal Information Privacy Act and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for failing to secure and protect their patients’ personal information from unauthorized access or use and failing to properly dispose of the personal information as required by law after hundreds of patient files containing unencrypted and unredacted personal information were dumped in a park.
- Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office reached a settlement with Comcast allowing approximately 40,000 Comcast customers in Colorado can switch without penalty to a new plan that does not include a monthly $ 9.95 fee for high-definition (HD) television service.
- Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey issued an alert about scammers claiming to be the “Maine IRS” and requesting social security numbers, maiden names, and other sensitive information — stating that such information was needed to process $ 850 relief checks.
- New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella announced the release of the report of the Charitable Trusts Unit objecting to the proposed merger transaction involving GraniteOne Health and Dartmouth Health. The proposal as currently structured would have consolidated two competing health care systems with many hospitals, physician practices and outpatient services — resulting in a single system ultimately controlled by Dartmouth Health.
- Attorney General Formella also publicized that the Attorney General’s Office has reached an agreement with Navient Corporation and Navient Solutions, LLC, a student loan servicer, to provide 3,590,988.96 in debt cancellation for 129 New Hampshire student loan borrowers. The consent judgment resolves several allegations that Navient violated the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James offered guidance to protect the privacy of individuals seeking abortion care and prevent unwanted digital tracking and data sharing. Recent reports indicate that online platforms and consumer apps, like those widely used to track fertility and menstrual cycles, have been collecting and sharing consumers’ personal information.
- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein published an article about cryptocurrency-related scams, specifically identifying scams such as demands by purported vendors to make payments in crypto.
- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged consumers to be on guard against impostors using social media platforms to promise government grants. Recently, consumers have reported being contacted via social media from scammers who claim to be friends, family and others the consumer trusts–including a link to a State Supreme Court Justice.