The State AG Report Weekly Update September 5, 2019

Cozen in the News

Latest Trends and Insights on State Attorneys General Antitrust Enforcement from Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Practice

  • Milton Marquis, Ann-Marie Luciano, and Keturah Taylor of Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Practice published an article, State Attorneys General Antitrust Enforcement: Trends and Insights, in the August 2019 edition of the CPI Antitrust Chronicle, a publication of Competition Policy International.
  • The article highlights the growing role of State AGs, who are wielding their antitrust authority on a national scale through multistate action and co-enforcement activity with their federal counterparts.
  • Most recently, State AGs have targeted consolidation in the healthcare sector and pursued pharmaceutical companies for their marketing and sales practices.
  • Going forward, State AGs are expected to continue to use multistate action and their federal co-enforcement authority to pursue new players and target emerging industries, particularly those in the “Big Data” and social media space.

Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies Expands its City of Chicago and State of Illinois Practice

  • Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies welcomed John F. Dunn, Darren Collier, and Patrick L. Carey, who bring to the firm substantial, senior-level government relations experience, knowledge and connections at the city, county, and state level in Illinois.
  • Dunn brings years of experience in representing major companies in the tech, aviation, transportation, health, manufacturing, and banking sectors before city and state government. Dunn previously served as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s senior adviser on all legislative and political matters, and as the mayor’s liaison to all federal, state, and local elected officials; was responsible for the appointments to and relations with all city boards and commissions; and oversaw labor relations. As director of the city’s Springfield team, he passed many pieces of significant state legislation and gained an unparalleled understanding of the relationship between City Hall and Springfield.
  • Collier previously served as executive director of the state government relations team at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in Illinois. He has also served as deputy general counsel and director of Government Affairs for the Illinois Housing Development Authority and as special assistant to former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan.
  • Carey previously served as special assistant for governmental and legislative affairs to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, directing the president’s legislative agenda before the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Prior to that he served as an assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and held several other roles in city government.

Antitrust

 FTC Settles with Investment Advisor and Funds Over Alleged Violation of Premerger Notification and Waiting Period Requirements

  • The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled with investment advisor Third Point LLC and three funds it controls—Third Point Partners Qualified L.P., Third Point Ultra Ltd., and Third Point Offshore Fund, Ltd.—(collectively, “Third Point”) over allegations that it failed to file premerger notifications and observe waiting period requirements in violation of the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (“HSR Act”).
  • According to the complaint, Third Point allegedly failed to file with federal antitrust authorities, as required by the HSR Act, after certain shares held by the Third Point funds converted to shares of a newly formed company following a merger, and also failed to observe the required waiting period prior to consummating the acquisition.
  • Under the terms of the proposed final judgment, the Third Point funds must collectively pay $609,810 in civil penalties, and Third Point is barred from committing future HSR Act violations in connection with corporate consolidations.

 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Settles with Debt-Collection Company Over Allegedly Deceptive Collection Practices

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) reached a settlement with debt-collection company Financial Credit Service, Inc., d/b/a Asset Recovery Associates (“ARA”) over allegations that it engaged in deceptive debt collection practices in violation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  • According to the consent order, ARA allegedly falsely threatened to sue or arrest debtors, falsely represented that company representatives were attorneys, falsely threatened to garnish debtors’ wages or place liens on their homes, and falsely represented that failure to pay debts would negatively impact debtors’ credit reports, among other things.
  • Under the terms of the consent order, ARA must pay at least $36,800 in restitution to consumers and a $200,000 civil money penalty to the CFPB, is prohibited from making misrepresentations to consumers, and must record consumer calls to ensure its compliance with federal law, among other things.

Data Privacy & Security

New York Attorney General and FTC Settle with Web Companies Over Alleged Violations of Children’s Online Privacy

  • New York AG Letitia James and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) reached a settlement with Google LLC and its subsidiary YouTube, LLC to resolve allegations that the website operators tracked and targeted advertisements to children on YouTube in violation of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the FTC Act.
  • According to the complaint, Google and YouTube tracked viewers of YouTube channels containing content directed towards children younger than 13 years old using viewers’ cookies or advertising identifiers and served advertisements to those users tailored to their inferred interests.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Google and YouTube must pay $34 million to New York and $136 million to the FTC; implement a system to allow channel owners—Google account holders who display and profit from content on YouTube—to identify child-directed content; notify channel owners of applicable COPPA rules; provide notice about data collection practices; and obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children, among other things.

E-Cigarettes

Colorado Attorney General to Investigate E-Cigarette Manufacturer Over Marketing Practices

  • According to reports, Colorado AG Phil Weiser has announced an investigation into e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL Labs, Inc. (“JUUL”) over allegedly deceptive marketing by the company.
  • The investigation reportedly is based on allegations that JUUL has contributed to the rise in teenage e-cigarette use by, among other things, offering flavors attractive to teenagers.
  • As previously reported, earlier this year North Carolina AG Josh Stein sued JUUL and eight e-cigarette companies over allegations of marketing and selling e-cigarettes to youth in violation of the state’s consumer protection law, and Connecticut AG William Tong announced an investigation into JUUL earlier this year over similar allegations.

Labor & Employment

13 Attorneys General Oppose U.S. Department of Labor Proposed Rule Amending Apprenticeship Regulations

  • 13 AGs, led by Washington AG Bob Ferguson, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) opposing a proposed rule that would amend the Labor Standards for the Registration of Apprenticeship Programs, which establishes guidelines for third parties to accredit apprenticeship programs, among other things.
  • According to the letter, the proposed rule’s certification guidelines are too vague to offer meaningful protections to apprentices, do not provide measurable education or training requirements for the programs, and fail to establish adequate DOL enforcement mechanisms to take action against deficient apprenticeship programs, among other things.
  • The AGs urge the DOL not to implement the proposed rule.
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