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 35 attorneys general submitted an amicus brief in Pharmaceutical Care Management Association v. Glen Mulready, et. al. The brief supports Oklahoma’s laws that regulate pharmacy benefit managers, and advocates that “states have an interest in preserving states’ authority to regulate companies doing business in their states, protecting their residents’ access to healthcare, and curbing abusive business practices. To advance these interests, nearly all states regulate pharmacy benefit managers.” Pharmaceutical Care Management Association’s broad approach to federal preemption, however, would “severely impede states’ abilities to protect their residents and potentially upend licensing and regulatory structures in nearly every state.”
- A coalition of 19 attorneys general served civil investigative demands on six major American banks, requesting documents relating to the companies’ involvement with the United Nations’ Net-Zero Banking Alliance. Banks that are members of the Alliance must set emissions reduction targets in their lending and investment portfolios to reach net zero by 2050. The coalition expressed concerned with how the companies’ involvement in the Alliance will affect fossil-fuel and agriculture businesses that try to obtain loans from the banks. The banks under investigation are Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo.
- Arizona Attorney General Brnovich warned consumers that the state has seen an increase in text scam related complaints. It also noted that the Federal Trade Commission has logged a record high of 387,119 text scam related complaints in 2021. The median loss per person for text scams in 2021 was $900.
- Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a settlement with Stepan Company, a chemical manufacturing company, resolving allegations that the company violated various air pollution provisions of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, the Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations and federal regulations, as well as operating permit provisions. As part of the settlement, Stepan Company must pay $360,725, and take other specific relief to prevent future air pollution.
- Indiana Attorney General Rokita announced a settlement with Startel Communication LLC and Ms. Hall, its CEO, resolving allegations that they and several other defendants assisted and facilitated foreign robo-callers in India, the Philippines, and Singapore who made robocalls to Indiana residents. As part of the settlement, both Startel and Ms. Hall are prohibited from operating or working with a telecommunications company. Both are also banned from working in the telecommunications industry.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Healey launched an online portal for nonprofit organizations and charities in the state to submit statutorily required filings.
- Michigan Attorney General Nessel announced a settlement with Unemployment Insurance Agency, resolving allegations that the company used an auto-adjudication system to falsely accuse recipients of fraud, resulting in the seizure of their property without due process. As part of the settlement, the defendant is required to pay $20 million to recipients.
- New York Attorney General James announced a settlement with Hy Cite Enterprises, a cookware company, for allegedly targeting Spanish-speaking communities with door-to-door marketing tactics that failed to clearly disclose refund policies in violation of the Door-to-Door Sales Protection Act. Hy Cite is required to pay $300,000, and offer restitution to certain customers who were previously denied a refund.
- New York Attorney General James announced the filing of a lawsuit against Intermountain Management for buying its main competitor, Toggenburg Mountain, then allegedly shutting it down in order to direct skiers to its own ski mountains. In addition, Attorney General James ended an allegedly illegal agreement between the owner of Greek Peak Mountain, Mr. John H. Meier, and Intermountain that prohibited Mr. Meier from competing with Intermountain or hiring any of its employees. Under the settlement, Mr. Meier is required to pay $195,000 to the state and has agreed to cooperate with the litigation against Intermountain.
- Texas Attorney General Paxton announced that his office completed distribution of $4.2 million in redress payments to approximately 42,000 Texans whose personal information was compromised in a 2016 data breach at Uber Technologies, Inc.
- Washington D.C. Attorney General Racine announced a settlement with DARO Management Services, DARO Realty, and Infinity Real Estate, real estate firms, and several individual defendants requiring defendants to pay $10 million. According to the complaint, defendants illegally discriminated against District renters by making it more challenging for low-income individuals to rent apartments in its buildings in Wards 1, 2, and 3. All defendants are permanently banned from owning a residential real estate management company in the District. DARO Management President and Principal Broker, Carissa Barry, also must forfeit her real estate license for 15 years.