The State AG Report Weekly Update June 8, 2017

2018 AG Elections

Republican Ashley Moody Announces Bid for Florida Attorney General

  • Republican Ashley Moody formally announced her candidacy to become Florida AG. Moody is the third candidate to enter the 2018 Florida AG race following the announcements of Republican state Representative Jay Fant and Democrat Ryan Torrens last month.
  • The three candidates are seeking an open seat currently held by Republican AG Pam Bondi, who is term-limited.
  • Moody served for 10 years as Hillsborough Circuit Judge before resigning this past April. She is a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Law.

Charities

Illinois Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Telemarketer Over Alleged Solicitation Violations

  • Illinois AG Lisa Madigan reached a settlement with professional fundraiser and for-profit telemarketing company Safety Publications Inc. and its owners (collectively “Safety”) for alleged violations of the state’s Solicitation Act regarding its charitable solicitations and fundraising activities.
  • According to the AG’s office, Safety, which solicited donations for the Illinois-based veteran’s charity VietNow, allegedly misled donors as to how the donations would be used, acted on behalf of the charity without the required registration, failed to disclose fundraising activity, and continued to violate previous consent decrees it had entered into with the AG’s office.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, which resolves a complaint filed by AG Madigan in January 2016, Safety must dissolve its operations and pay a penalty of $160,000. In addition, the company and one of its owners are permanently banned from charitable fundraising in Illinois, while its other owner is banned from fundraising in the state for three years.
  • As previously reported, Missouri AG Josh Hawley filed a similar action against VietNow earlier this year for allegedly violating Missouri’s Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act by engaging in deceptive solicitations and improper spending.

Consumer Protection

FTC and Florida Attorney General Obtain Final Orders Against Robocall Business

  • The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Florida AG Pam Bondi obtained final orders against robocall operation All Us Marketing LLC f/k/a Payless Solutions, LLC and affiliated businesses (collectively “All Us”) for allegedly misleading customers into purchasing fraudulent credit card interest rate reduction programs in violation of the federal FTC Act, the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the FTC’s Trade Regulation Rule, and state law.
  • According to the FTC and the AG’s office, All Us allegedly called consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry, falsely identified itself as a bank or credit card company representative, charged fees to consumers in advance of providing debt relief services, and failed to reduce consumers’ credit card interest rates.
  • Under the terms of the orders, All Us is prohibited from telemarketing, offering debt-relief products and services, misrepresenting financial products and services, and making deceptive or unsubstantiated claims. In addition, the orders impose nearly $4.9 million in monetary judgements, which were either entirely or partially suspended.

Texas Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Home-Security Company for Allegedly Violating Door-to-Door Sales Regulations

  • Texas AG Ken Paxton reached a settlement with home-security company Vivint, Inc. and Smart Home Pros, Inc. (collectively “Vivint”) over allegations that Vivint violated the state Deceptive Trade Practices Act by conducting door-to-door sales without proper registration.
  • According to the letter of compliance, Vivint allegedly had employees engage in door-to-door solicitations, resulting in sales of home alarm systems without the company first having completed a required registration with the state.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Vivint must obtain proper licensing and registration for its door-to-door sales, adhere to state regulations regarding door-to-door sales, and pay $135,000 in monetary relief and $75,000 in attorneys fees, among other things.
  • As previously reported, former Missouri AG Chris Koster reached a similar settlement with Vivint in September 2015 to resolve allegations that it violated state consumer protection laws by using misleading sales tactics in its door-to-door sales.

Employment

New York Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Senior Living Facilities Over Wage Theft Allegations

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with senior living facility management company First Realty Management Co. Inc. and seven Legacy Senior Living complexes (collectively “Legacy”) for allegedly violating state labor laws by paying employees below the state’s minimum wage.
  • According to the AG’s office, Legacy allegedly failed to pay cash wages to offset the number of hours its live-in employees worked in violation of a state law that caps the amount that an employer can credit for use of an apartment against the value of an employee’s wages.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Legacy must, among other things, pay $238,000 in back pay, $89,000 in damages, interest, and penalties, improve its record keeping practices, and submit to monitoring of employee wages.

Environment

Massachusetts Attorney General Sues Recycling Company for Alleged Dumping and Environmental Damage

  • Massachusetts AG Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against recycling and renewable energy company C&G Land Reclamation & Renewable Energy Solutions LLC, its manager, and its operator (collectively “C&G Renewables”) for allegedly violating state environmental laws at one of the company’s solid waste disposal sites.
  • According to the AG’s office, C&G Renewables allegedly altered and filled almost 15,000 square feet of protected wetlands with sand and solid waste, illegally transported solid waste, continued to store solid waste at the site without required permits, and failed to notify the state that soil sampling tests revealed the presence of hazardous materials.
  • The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and a permanent injunction requiring C&G Renewables to restore the damaged wetlands and remove or clean the solid and hazardous waste materials at the site.

Pharmaceuticals

City of Dayton, Ohio Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors and Physicians

  • The City of Dayton, Ohio filed a lawsuit against several opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, and Allergan; drug distributors including McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen Corporation; and four physicians asserting state common law, consumer protection, and other claims over allegations that the companies engaged in misleading advertising campaigns regarding the sale of opioids in the state. Further reports suggest that the City Council of Lorain, Ohio, has voted in favor of filing a similar lawsuit.
  • The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, interest, costs, and disbursements, and any further relief that the Court deems just and proper.
  • As previously reported, this announcement follows a lawsuit filed by Ohio AG Mike DeWine against the same opioid manufacturers for allegedly misrepresenting the risks and benefits of opioids.

State v. Federal

19 Democratic AGs Join Coalition of Governors, Mayors, Business and University Leaders to Support the Paris Climate Agreement

  • 19 Democratic AGs joined the “We Are Still In” Coalition, made up of governors, mayors, business leaders, and universities, in support of the Paris Climate Agreement, from which President Donald Trump recently announced that the U.S. would withdraw.
  • The “We Are Still In” Coalition members pledged to uphold the tenets of the Paris Climate Agreement and ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.
  • The announcement follows a letter signed by 10 Republican AGs that urged President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
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