Digest 2.22.2018 The State AG Report Weekly Update

2018 AG Elections

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh Announces Bid for Reelection

  • Maryland AG Brian Frosh declared his intention to run for reelection to a second term in 2018.
  • Prior to his election to AG in 2014, AG Frosh, a Democrat, served in the Maryland General Assembly for over 25 years.
  • No Democrat has filed to challenge AG Frosh.  Republican Craig Wolf, President and CEO of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and a former federal prosecutor and Assistant State’s Attorney, is the sole challenger to AG Frosh to have filed ahead of next Tuesday’s filing deadline.


Minnesota Attorney General Settles with Manufacturer Over Groundwater Contamination Allegations

  • Minnesota AG Lori Swanson reached a settlement with Minnesota-based manufacturer 3M Company (“3M”) to resolve allegations that 3M contaminated the drinking water of several Minnesota communities by improperly disposing of chemical waste.
  • According to AG Swanson, 3M allegedly knowingly contaminated the groundwater by improperly disposing of waste from the manufacturing of flourochemicals (“PFCs”)—a nearly indestructible chemical used in products like Scotchgard and Teflon—dating back to the 1960s; knew that the contamination caused environmental damage and health risks for those ingesting the water; and misrepresented those risks to consumers for decades.
  • AG Swanson and 3M ultimately settled the lawsuit, which had sought over $5 billion in damages for the costs of treating and replacing drinking water, mitigating the effects on fish and wildlife, and mitigating the impact on the health of individuals exposed to the contaminated water, on the same day trial was set to begin.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, 3M will pay $850 million to improve drinking water for individual homeowners and municipal drinking water systems, in addition to another $40 million over the next five years as part of a 2008 remediation agreement.

False Claims Act

Connecticut and Massachusetts Attorneys General Settle with Clinical Lab Over Alleged Medicaid Fraud

  • Connecticut AG George Jepsen and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey reached separate settlements with Massachusetts-based Precision Testing Laboratories, Inc. (“PTL”) and its owner to resolve allegations that PTL falsely billed the states’ respective Medicaid programs for medically unnecessary clinical testing.
  • According to the AGs’ offices, PTL allegedly submitted false Medicaid claims for expensive and unnecessarily complex drug testing at residential drug treatment facilities and sober homes that were not part of a physician’s drug treatment program and were not specifically tailored to address an individual patient’s particular medical condition.
  • Under the terms of the settlements, PTL and its owner will forfeit over $400,000 in payments to Massachusetts and over $650,000 in payments to Connecticut, and they are suspended from participating in the states’ respective Medicaid programs for a period of 10 years.

Labor & Employment

Attorneys General Urge Congress to Oppose Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Disputes

  • A bipartisan coalition of 56 AGs from all jurisdictions sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to pass federal legislation “ending mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims” in the workplace.
  • According to the letter, employment contracts that require sexual harassment claims to be resolved through arbitration, instead of judicial proceedings, may “disserve the public interest by keeping harassment complaints and settlements confidential.”

State v. Federal

13 Attorneys General Obtain Judgment Against U.S. Department of Energy Over Energy Efficiency Standards

  • A coalition of 13 Democratic AGs, the California Energy Commission, and the City of New York, led by California AG Xavier Becerra and New York AG Eric Schneiderman, secured a federal court ruling requiring the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) to publish national energy efficiency standards after suing the agency in June 2017 for inaction.
  • Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (“EPCA”), DOE is required to periodically revise energy efficiency standards for a variety of consumer, commercial, and industrial equipment, provide an opportunity for pre-publication error correction, and finalize the standards through publication in the Federal Register.
  • The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that DOE violated its duties under the EPCA by failing to publish finalized energy efficiency standards for goods including portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, and commercial packaged boilers after the pre-publication process was completed in early 2017. The DOE now must publish the standards within 28 days of the ruling.