The State AG Report Weekly Update May 31, 2018

Cozen in the News

June an Exciting Month in Attorney General Primary Elections:  Cozen O’Connor Breaks Things Down

  • With 11 primary elections, June is the peak of the AG primary election season.  Among those, five are competitive:  four incumbent AGs face viable primary challengers, and two AG races are for open seats.
  • Check out our latest article discussing the status of the most competitive AG primary elections to watch in June.
  • To receive AG primary election results via email and/or text message in real time, please visit Cozen O’Connor’s State AG Election Tracker.

Cozen O’Connor Examines Current and Potential Open Seat Attorney General Races

  • Following the resignation of former New York AG Eric Schneiderman and current New York AG Barbara Underwood’s decision not to seek election, the number of open seat AG elections in 2018 officially increased to 11.
  • Check out our latest article speculating about the potential for additional AG open seats to emerge should any incumbent AGs be defeated in the primaries or vacate their post due to election to higher office.
  • For daily coverage of AG election news, insights, and polls, visit Cozen O’Connor’s State AG Election Tracker.

2018 AG Elections

New York Democratic and Republican Parties Select Attorney General Candidates

  • The New York Democratic and Republican parties selected their respective Attorney General candidates during statewide conventions held May 23-24.
  • The state Democratic party selected New York City Public Advocate Letitia James as its nominee, while the state Republican party selected corporate attorney Keith Wofford as its nominee.
  • As previously reported, AG Barbara Underwood is serving the remainder of former New York AG Eric Schneiderman’s term following his resignation amid allegations of abuse.

Antitrust

Washington Attorney General Reaches Settlement With Electronics Manufacturer Over Alleged Price Fixing

  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson settled with Toshiba Corporation and Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (collectively, “Toshiba”) to resolve allegations that Toshiba conspired with other electronics manufacturers to fix prices on certain electronic components in violation of state consumer protection and antitrust laws.
  • According to the complaint, from 1995 to 2007 Toshiba and other manufacturers of cathode ray tubes (“CRTs”)—key components of televisions, computer monitors, and other products—allegedly exchanged competitively sensitive information regarding CRTs, regularly met to fix prices of CRTs, and manipulated the supply of CRTs, causing consumer to pay inflated prices for products containing CRTs.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Toshiba will pay $1.3 million in consumer restitution and civil penalties.
  • Toshiba is the latest company named in the 2012 complaint to settle with the Washington AG’s office, which previously settled with four other CRT manufacturers but has yet to resolve claims against Philips and Samsung.

Consumer Protection

Massachusetts Attorney General Settles With Insurance Company Over Allegedly Delayed Payments

  • Massachusetts AG Maura Healey reached a settlement with Delaware Life Insurance Company (“Delaware Life”) over allegations that the insurer violated consumer protection laws by delaying payments to consumers.
  • According to the AG’s office, Delaware Life allegedly failed to provide nearly 2,000 policyholders and beneficiaries with timely payments and certain tax forms during its administration of annuity contracts.
  • According to the AG’s office, Delaware Life has agreed to pay $214,000 to affected consumers and $30,000 in penalties to the state.

Data Privacy

Vermont Enacts Consumer Protection Law Regulating Data Brokers

  • Vermont enacted H. 764, a law providing for the regulation of data brokers—businesses that aggregate and sell “data about consumers with whom the business does not have a direct relationship.”
  • Under the new law, data brokers are required to register with the state, inform consumers about the data they collect and provide clear instructions for opting out of data collection, and maintain certain security standards, among other things.
  • The Vermont Attorney General has the authority to adopt rules and pursue civil and other enforcement actions against data brokers under the new law.

Labor & Employment

Massachusetts Attorney General Settles with Private Equity Firm Over Alleged Unpaid Wages to Misclassified Employees

  • Massachusetts AG Healey reached a settlement with Boston private equity firm Search Fund Accelerator and two firm executives (collectively, “SFA”) over allegations that SFA failed to pay employees wages owed or keep proper employment records in violation of the state’s wage and hour laws.
  • According to the AG’s office, SFA allegedly improperly classified 174 employees as interns, failed to pay those employees a minimum wage, and failed to maintain accurate timekeeping records.
  • According to the AG’s office, the terms of the settlement require SFA to pay $550,000 in restitution and penalties.

Environment

California Attorney General Settles with Communications Company Over Alleged Violations of Hazardous Waste Disposal and Unfair Competition Laws

  • California AG Xavier Becerra reached a settlement with Cox Communications California, LLC, Coxcom LLC, Cox California Telcom, L.L.C., and Cox Communications, Inc. (collectively, “Cox”) over Cox’s allegedly improper disposal and handling of hazardous waste in violation of the state’s hazardous waste control law.
  • According to the complaint, Cox allegedly improperly disposed of hazardous batteries, electronic devices, and aerosols, and disposed of consumer records without rendering consumer data unreadable, among other things, thereby gaining a competitive advantage over other regulated entities that complied with the law.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Cox is enjoined from committing future violations and will pay $2.1 million in civil penalties, $405,000 for environmental protection projects, $814,000 in investigation and law enforcement costs, $450,000 for public programming regarding proper hazardous waste disposal, and $665,000 for compliance measures at Cox’s facilities in the state.
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