State AG Monitor

State AGs in the News

Posted in Antitrust, Consumer Protection, Environment, Mortgages/Foreclosures, State AGs in the News

State AG Executive Briefing, March 5

Please join us for Dickstein Shapiro’s State AG Executive Briefing in Washington, DC, beginning at 3:00 PM on Monday, March 5, at the Park Hyatt Washington. This complimentary briefing will feature two panels with six AGs: Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley, Missouri AG Chris Koster, Colorado AG John Suthers, Rhode Island AG Peter Kilmartin, Georgia AG Sam Olens, and Alabama AG Luther Strange. The panels will be followed by a networking reception with the AGs and their staff. This event is a unique opportunity for business and legal leaders to better understand the special role that AGs have in our political and legal system, how their offices work, and how their enforcement activities are shaping entire industries. Attendees are encouraged to bring their questions to these interactive sessions. For the agenda and to register, please visit our website.

Recording of “A Conversation with State Attorneys General” Webcast Now Available

On February 8, 2012, State AG Practice Leader Bernard Nash was joined by Washington AG and National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) President Rob McKenna. AG McKenna provided insightful commentary about his experience as an AG and NAAG President, and the considerations AGs face when undertaking their various roles. Please click here to access a recording of the webcast.

Antitrust/Consumer Protection

State and Federal Financial Consumer Group Sets Enforcement Priorities, Targets Lenders and For-Profit Schools

  • The Consumer Protection Working Group of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, comprised of federal and state regulators that include Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, Indiana AG Greg Zoeller, and North Carolina AG Roy Cooper, met in Washington, DC, to set priorities and establish collaborative measures to investigate and prosecute consumer financial fraud.
  • The Working Group plans to focus on several areas, including for-profit schools, payday lending, high-pressure telemarketing and online scams, business opportunity schemes, and third-party payment processors through legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives; a “best-practices tool kit” for consumer financial protection; and an information-sharing structure to coordinate regulatory activities.

Connecticut AG Reviews Northeast Utilities-NSTAR Merger; Massachusetts AG Announces Approval

  • Connecticut AG George Jepsen announced a review by his office and the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority of the proposed merger of utility companies Northeast Utilities and NSTAR, expressing concern that a combined company could lead to an increase in consumer utility rates.
  • AG Jepsen’s announcement follows Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley’s announcement of an agreement between her office and the companies that approves the merger in exchange for terms valued at an estimated $217 million, including a four-year rate freeze, $21 million in immediate consumer credits, and limits on executive compensation.

Mortgages/Foreclosures

Florida AG Announces Settlement with Foreclosure Rescue Companies

  • Florida AG Pam Bondi announced a settlement with several companies resolving allegations that they and their owners defrauded hundreds of consumers regarding their mortgages.
  • Under the settlement, the companies will pay $59,000 in restitution over allegations that they unlawfully charged up-front fees to assist consumers in working with mortgage servicers to avert foreclosure and, once paid, failed to perform the promised services.

Securities

Oregon AG Sues Bank of New York Mellon, Seeks Lead Plaintiff Status

  • Oregon AG John Kroger announced that the state has joined a class action lawsuit and is seeking lead counsel status against Bank of New York Mellon alleging securities fraud that resulted in at least $15.7 million in losses to state pension and education funds.
  • According to the lawsuit, the state funds’ losses were triggered by false claims actions filed by whistleblowers against BNY Mellon for allegedly charging improper prices on its foreign currency exchange transactions.

Environment

11 AGs Sue EPA to Compel Soot Regulations

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman announced that he had led a group of ten other states in suing the EPA to compel it to revise national air quality standards for soot.
  • The AGs’ complaint, filed in federal court, alleges that the EPA has failed to meet a statutory deadline, imposed by the Clean Air Act, to tighten regulations restricting the amount of soot that may be produced by power generators, manufacturers, and others.