Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- A bipartisan coalition of 22 attorneys generals, led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, filed an opposition to a proposed class action settlement that the coalition argues fails to adequately hold accountable the 3M Company (3M) for contaminating Americans’ drinking water supply. Under the proposed settlement, water providers would withdraw the hundreds of lawsuits they have filed against 3M over its use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — commonly referred to as “PFAS” or toxic “forever chemicals” — in a wide range of consumer products and firefighting foams. The coalition seeks a new action settlement that will adequately account for the allegedly pernicious damage that 3M has caused.
- A coalition of 14 attorneys general submitted a letter urging the Biden Administration to adopt a more comprehensive strategy to combat the plastic pollution crisis. The coalition urges the EPA to broaden its approach and implement aggressive interventions at every stage of the plastic waste life cycle and also recommends that EPA not consider any process other than mechanical recycling to qualify as “recycling” unless the process meets rigorous standards that promote circularity and protects the environment and human health.
- Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced a settlement with Rhode Island car dealerships, Grieco Honda, Grieco Toyota, and Grieco Hyundai, resolving allegations that the dealerships included automatic add-ons and fees not included in the advertised price and other illicit advertising practices. The agreement requires the car dealerships to pay a combined $557,815 and prohibits the dealerships from engaging in illicit advertising practices in the future.
- Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin issued a statement highlighting the Federal Trade Commission’s announcement of a settlement with Blessings In No Time, a Texas-based company allegedly running a pyramid scheme, and its owners LaShonda and Marlon Moore. LaShonda and Marlon Moore allegedly operated the illegal pyramid scheme targeting financially distressed consumers across the country during the pandemic, costing Arkansans hundreds of thousands of dollars. This settlement requires the defendants to pay $450,000 and prevents them from operating or promoting a similar scheme in the future.
- Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin issued a statement announcing the appointment of former Senate Parliamentarian and Chief Legal Counsel, Steven Cook, to the ESG Oversight Committee which was created by Act 411. The committee was created to “determine a list of financial services providers that discriminate against energy, fossil fuel, firearms, or ammunition companies or otherwise refuse to deal based on environmental, social justice, and other governance-related factors.”
- Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, announced a lawsuit against Vision Solar LLC and one of its lead generators, Solar Xchange LLC, and its owner Mark Getts, for violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Federal Telephone Solicitation Rule, the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, and the Arizona Telephone Solicitations Act in connection with unlawful telemarketing sales calls and misrepresentations relating to the sale and installation of residential solar panels in Arizona and other states. Solar Xchange and Getts settled the claims against them. The settlement forbids them from misrepresenting that they are affiliated with any utility or government agency; making unsubstantiated claims regarding the cost of installing solar panels; and engaging in abusive telemarketing practices. The order also imposes a partially suspended civil penalty of $13.8 million.
- California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the issuance of inquiry letters to large California employers as part of an investigative sweep. These inquiry letters request information on the companies’ compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) with respect to the personal information of employees and job applicants.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry today testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that “junk fees” are becoming more pervasive in Pennsylvania. He believes that the “junk fees” are damaging the competitive marketplace by inflating costs for borrowers, renters, travelers, and ticket buyers. The so-called “junk fees” are surprise charges that do not appear in initial price advertisements, but often inflate the final purchase price by hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Attorney General Kwame Raoul applauded Governor JB Pritzker for signing into law his legislation to hold crisis pregnancy centers accountable that engage in misleading and deceptive practices, such as spreading false information to interfere with patients’ ability to access full range reproductive care in a timely matter. The law establishes the right for individuals to make their own decisions in regard to their reproductive health.