State AG Monitor

State AGs in the News

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

Hot News

A Conversation with State Attorneys General Webcast | Wednesday, April 18, 2:00 PM (ET)

Join Doug Gansler, Attorney General of Maryland and incoming president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), for the next installment of “A Conversation with State Attorneys General,” Dickstein Shapiro’s ongoing webcast series. State AG Practice partner Divonne Smoyer will interview AG Gansler about his role and priorities as Maryland’s chief legal officer. AG Gansler will also answer questions from the audience. Please click here to register for this complimentary program.

Antitrust/Consumer Protection

Ohio AG Sues Salt Companies over Alleged Collusion

  • Ohio AG Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit against Morton Salt and Cargill on allegations that the companies colluded to drive up the price of rock salt sold to the State for de-icing.
  • The lawsuit, which seeks up to $50 million in disgorgement and other payments, alleges that the companies conspired to divide the market for rock salt sold to the State so that they would not compete with one another and submitted false bids to state agencies in order to conceal the arrangement.

Idaho AG Investigates Medical Group over Alleged Antitrust Violations

  • Idaho AG Lawrence Wasden is investigating St. Luke’s Health System’s acquisition of a number of medical practices for potential violations of federal and state antitrust laws.
  • The company, which has acquired several medical practices in the State and is in talks to purchase another, has become one of the State’s largest employers and providers of healthcare, spurring concerns from the AG of the impact on competition and consumers in Idaho.

New York AG Settles with Health Insurer over Screening Tests

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield over the company’s allegedly erroneous denial of coverage for lead screening tests for children.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, the company agreed to refund payments from 2005 through the present, plus 12 percent interest, to providers and plan members who paid for childhood lead screening claims when Excellus allegedly denied the claims erroneously.

Hawaii AG Sues Organization for Allegedly False Charity Claims

  • Hawaii AG David Louie has sued an Oregon-based door-to-door sales company for allegedly misrepresenting itself as a charitable organization.
  • The lawsuit alleges that employees represented the company as a charitable organization when going door-to-door soliciting care packages for deployed military, but in reality the company was a for-profit entity not registered to solicit public contributions in the State.

New Jersey AG Sues Travel Club over Alleged Consumer Fraud

  • New Jersey AG Jeff Chiesa filed a lawsuit against a travel company over allegations that the company charged consumers membership fees in exchange for vacation deals that it never provided.
  • The AG’s office received over fifty complaints from consumers alleging that the company failed to provide complementary cruises and airfares, advertised products and services that the company did not provide, and failed to provide deep discounts for travel services that it promised during sales presentations for vacation travel membership packages, and that it refused to cancel their enrollment in the club upon their demand.

Privacy/Data Breach

California Reaches Agreement with Online Dating Sites to Protect Members

  • California AG Kamala Harris announced an agreement with three of the nation’s largest online dating services establishing business practices to protect members’ information and protect them from identify theft and sexual predators.
  • Under the agreement, eHarmony, Match.com, and Spark Networks have agreed to check subscribers against national sex offender registries, provide a rapid abuse reporting system for members, proactively educate members about safe online dating practices, and supply members with online safety tips, including fraud prevention guidance and tips for safely meeting people offline.

Mortgages/Foreclosures

California AG Appoints Monitor for Mortgage Settlement

  • California AG Kamala Harris announced the appointment of Katherine Porter, a University of California Irvine School of Law professor, as the State’s monitor of five banks involved in the mortgage settlement reached last month.
  • Ms. Porter, who specializes in commercial and consumer law, including foreclosures, consumer debt, and bankruptcy, will oversee the timeliness and extent of the compliance of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally comply with their agreement to provide as much as $18 billion worth of homeowner and borrower benefits, including loan modifications, in the State.

Environment

Twelve AGs Move to Intervene in Support of EPA’s Mercury Rules

  • Twelve AGs have filed a motion to intervene to defend the EPA’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule against a challenge in federal court.
  • The AGs are opposing petitions for review filed by industry groups for electric power generators seeking to limit an EPA rule that would mandate emission-reducing technology to significantly reduce the amount of mercury and other toxins released from power generation.

Ohio AG Reaches Agreement with Company over Hazardous Waste Spill

  • Ohio AG Mike DeWine announced a consent order between the State and a manufacturer alleged to have provided an inadequate response to a spill of hazardous waste from its facility.
  • Under the settlement, the company agreed to submit a hazardous waste closure plan to Ohio EPA and to pay a $75,000 civil penalty to the State’s hazardous waste clean-up fund.