Election News

The State AG Report Weekly Update August 31, 2017

AG Elections

Delaware Attorney General Will Not Seek Re-election in 2018

  • Delaware AG Matt Denn announced on his public Facebook page that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
  • AG Denn, a Democrat, was elected to his first term as AG in 2014. Before being elected, he served for six years as the state’s Lieutenant Governor, and prior to that as the state's Insurance Commissioner.
  • Delaware joins Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, and South Dakota as the sixth state with an open seat AG race in the 2018 election cycle.

Republican Dan Shores Announces Bid for Massachusetts Attorney General

Consumer Protection

Missouri Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Telecommunications Company to Resolve Alleged Telemarketing Violations

  • Missouri AG Josh Hawley reached a settlement with Charter Communications Inc. over alleged violations of the state do-not-call and telemarketing laws, as well as the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule and Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • According to the complaint, the company allegedly engaged third-party telemarketers who made calls to sell cable, telephone, and Internet services to consumers that were on state and federal do-not call lists and allegedly continued to make calls despite being asked to stop.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Charter agreed to pay $255,000 and implement policies designed to prevent and quickly remedy any potential future violations.
  • As previously reported, the settlement resolved a lawsuit filed by former Missouri AG Chris Koster against Charter Communications in October 2015.

Dietary Supplements

Maine Attorney General, FTC Settle with Health Supplement Marketers For Allegedly Deceptive Advertising

  • Maine AG Janet Mills and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced settlements with the remaining defendants, health supplement marketing advertising agency Synergixx, LLC d/b/a CTF Media, its principal, and an associated medical professional (collectively “Synergixx”), to resolve a lawsuit that alleges that the defendants made false and misleading claims to consumers regarding joint and cognitive health supplements FlexiPrin and CogniPrin in violation of the FTC Act, the Telemarking Sales Rule, and the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • According to the complaint, the defendants allegedly created false advertisements promoting FlexiPrin and CogniPrin as medically proven to improve joint and cognitive health, employed a “medical expert” in advertisements to endorse the product without disclosing that he was paid a percentage of sales, claimed consumers could try the supplements “risk-free” without disclosing auto-ship continuity programs with short trial periods, and promoted a money-back guarantee when consumers often never received refunds.
  • Under the terms of the proposed consent order, Synergixx must have competent and reliable scientific evidence, which must consist of randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled human clinical testing, to make health-related claims for its products, cease making false or deceptive health claims, stop misrepresenting whether a product is proven to work, provide additional financial disclosures about experts’ financial connections, and pay a $6.5 million monetary judgment that is suspended based on inability to pay.
  • As previously reported, AG Mills and the FTC recently reached settlements with the other six defendants named in the complaint.

Financial Industry

District of Columbia Attorney General Secures Judgement Against Student Loan Debt Relief  Company Over Alleged Deceptive Marketing

  • District of Columbia AG Karl Racine obtained a judgement against student loan debt relief company Student Aid Center, Inc. and its two owners (collectively “Student Aid Center”) for allegedly engaging in deceptive marketing of its services and violating the District’s consumer protection laws.
  • According to the complaint, Student Aid Center allegedly misrepresented that it was affiliated with the federal government and unlawfully charged consumers upfront fees of between $600 and $1,000 to enroll into student loan repayment plans offered at no cost by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • The lawsuit will now continue to a remedies phase, where the AG’s office will seek a permanent injunction, refunds for consumers, and monetary penalties.
  • As previously reported, Florida AG Pam Bondi and the FTC filed a complaint in June 2016 against Student Aid Center over similar allegations.

Massachusetts Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Federal Student Loan Servicer for Allegedly Undermining Federal Loan Forgiveness Program

  • Massachusetts AG Healey filed a lawsuit against student loan servicer Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency d/b/a FedLoan Servicing (“PHEAA”) for allegedly causing public servants to lose benefits and financial assistance under two federal programs that offered student loan forgiveness for public service and provided grants for students pursuing careers in education, in violation of state and federal consumer protection laws.
  • According to the complaint, PHEAA, which serviced the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant program, allegedly prevented student borrowers from making qualifying monthly payments that counted towards loan forgiveness, overcharged student borrowers, and misprocessed applications.
  • The lawsuit seeks restitution, injunctive relief, civil penalties, and reimbursement of the state’s costs and expenses.


Arizona Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Over Allegedly Deceptive Marketing and Sale of Opioids

  • Arizona AG Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics Inc., two former employees (“collectively Insys”), and three Arizona doctors for allegedly violating the state’s Consumer Fraud Act by fraudulently marketing its opioid drug Subsys.
  • According to the complaint, Insys allegedly offered the three doctors named in the complaint sham educational “speaker fees” in exchange for writing prescriptions for Subsys, provided false and misleading information to insurers in order to obtain prior authorizations for the drug, and falsely advertised that the drug was appropriate for treatment of mild pain.
  • The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop Insys from further violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, restitution for affected consumers, and disgorgement of all profits and gains obtained as a result of its allegedly deceptive marketing.


Illinois Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Alternative Retail Energy Supplier for Allegedly Misleading Consumers

  • Illinois AG Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against alternative retail energy supplier Sperian Energy Corp (“Sperian”) for allegedly violating the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and its Telephone Solicitations Act by allegedly misleading customers regarding contracts for electricity services.
  • According to the complaint, Sperian allegedly utilized deceptive sales practices to enroll customers into expensive contracts for electricity services; failed to disclose the price, fees, and duration of the contracts; and falsely promised consumers rates lower than what they would have paid if they stayed with their current utility providers.
  • The lawsuit seeks, among other things, civil penalties, rescission of all affected contracts, restitution for impacted consumers, and an injunction enjoining Sperian from operating as an alternative retail electric supplier in Illinois.
  • As previously reported, in March 2017, AG Madigan filed a lawsuit against alternative retail energy supplier Palmco Power over similar allegations.