New York Attorney General and DOJ Settle with Cable Providers Over Sale of Bundled Wireless and Wireline Services
- Last week New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that New York and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached a settlement with Verizon Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc., Comcast Corporation, Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications requiring the companies to change their commercial agreements regarding the formation of a technology joint venture. The proposed settlement has been filed with the court for approval.
- The settlement agreement requires several amendments and restrictions to the commercial agreements, including, inter alia, a prohibition on any collusion, a restriction on the exchange of competitively sensitive information, a limitation on the duration of the venture until 2016, and restrictions on Verizon Wireless’ ability to sell cable products in FiOS areas.
- In addition, the DOJ stated that it would allow Verizon to proceed with its proposed acquisitions of spectrum from the cable companies as well as T-Mobile USA’s purchase of a large portion of that spectrum.
Iowa Attorney General Sues Florida Fundraisers for Alleged Consumer Fraud Violations
- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced last week that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Florida-based professional fundraiser Courtesy HealthWatch Inc. for alleged deceptive solicitations of consumers.
- The lawsuit alleges that the company misled consumers into believing it was a charity rather than a telemarketer, exaggerated how much of a donation was directed to the cause or to the consumer’s community, repeatedly called consumers, and made various other misrepresentations.
Massachusetts Attorney General Sues Veterans Charity and Professional Fundraisers Over Alleged Deceptive Fundraising
- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley recently announced that her office has sued Bay State Vietnam Veterans, Inc. and its fundraiser, Dynamic Marketing Solutions, Inc., for violating state consumer protection and charitable solicitation laws.
- The lawsuit claims that the companies allegedly misled consumers by claiming that all of the donation money would go directly to benefit veterans when only a small percentage was directed for this purpose. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the fundraisers falsely claimed that they volunteered for the charity or were veterans themselves.
- A temporary restraining order was issued barring the charity and fundraisers from transferring any funds and from destroying any records.
Arizona Attorney General Sues Mortgage Modification Assistance Companies
- Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne recently announced that his office has filed lawsuits against two Arizona-based mortgage modification companies for alleged violations of Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act.
- The lawsuits are based on allegations that the companies solicited consumers by telling them that they could obtain favorable mortgage modifications or stop the foreclosure process and charged consumers large fees for services that were never provided. Both companies also are accused of intentionally targeting the Spanish-speaking community and exploiting the language barrier by only providing contracts written in English.
Texas Attorney General and State Securities Board Obtain TRO Against Investment Company
- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that a Texas district judge granted the State’s request for a temporary restraining order against Life Partners Holdings, Inc. and two of its senior executives relating to alleged violations of the Texas Securities Act.
- Life Partners is accused of misleading investors about the value of its investment offers and failing to disclose material facts about its securities products. The company purchases life insurance policies and sells fractional interests in the policies to investors.
- The TRO prohibits Life Partners from paying dividends, authorizing any salary increases or bonuses for executives, disposing of corporate assets or resources, and destroying, altering, or removing corporate records.