Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- A coalition of 31 attorneys general urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reject marketing authorization for all non-tobacco nicotine products, which are currently being sold without regulatory constraints on their contents, manufacturing, health effects or marketing claims. Should the FDA grant marketing authorization to such products, the coalition insists that the FDA must impose the same restrictions required of tobacco-derived nicotine products.
- Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that an antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines and JetBlue Airlines will move forward after a federal judge rejected the airlines’ motion to dismiss. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office joined a coalition of six states: Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and U.S. Department of Justice in filing this lawsuit alleging that the airlines are engaging in anticompetitive coordination that will lead to higher fares and less customer service for consumers.
- Connecticut Attorney General William Tong sued Reynolds Consumer Products for violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, claiming that the company falsely and deceptively marketed its garbage bags as Hefty “Recycling Bags” despite full knowledge that the bags were unable to be processed at recycling facilities in Connecticut. AG Tong alleged that the bags were no more recyclable than any other Hefty garbage bag.
- Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody published a video warning about an new text message scam offering a “free gift” for paying a bill on time. She reminds Floridians that they should not use links from unknown phone numbers or reply to suspicious messages.
- Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr warned Georgians about text message scams, including texts from unknown or unexpected senders, with links that request payment or other sensitive information.
- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller reported that Iowans have received at least $178.67 million in restitution and other relief over the past ten years. This amount was provided in response to a letter sent to ranking members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on April 14; includes $169.69 million in consumer restitution from multistate settlements, consent decrees and other judgments, and assurances of voluntary compliance, and $8.97 million in savings to consumers obtained through complaint mediation.
- The Office of the Maine Attorney General Danna Hayes successfully prosecuted an online e-cigarette retailer for tobacco sales in contravention of Maine law, which require that all tobacco products be sold in face-to-face transactions.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a notice of intended action against E & B Contracting following suspected price gouging after last month’s tornado in Gaylord.
- Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt subpoenaed seven school districts, demanding information on their decision to employ student surveys, potentially without parental consent, that asked students about their parents’ political beliefs and income levels; and included racially-biased questions. The Office also launched a transparency portal that indexes Sunshine Law requests sent by parents to school districts.
- In recognition of World Elder Abuse Day, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford announced that his office received a $279,250 grant from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to facilitate training and services related to stopping elder abuse.
- New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella and Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan publicized reports of a new scam that uses the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s logo and an email address: “NHDOT DBE firstname.lastname@example.org.” The scam encourages recipients to download an attachment that it claims is a “secure document”.
- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein published a column about home repair scams, where he provides tips about avoiding scams as home repair costs and demands for repair rise and many North Carolinians struggle to find a qualified contractor.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that the Pennsylvania Senate confirmed Patrick Cicero as Pennsylvania’s Consumer Advocate. Cicero was nominated in December 2021, and is the first confirmed Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate since 2012.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a new consumer guide outlining the legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Pennsylvania, entitled the Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights to ensure every Pennsylvania resident has access to clear and accurate information when renting a home.
- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against a South Carolina company that duped Washingtonians into paying $30,000 for a deceptive online training program. The company, Prehired LLC, made the following representation in its marketing materials: “We guarantee you land a $60k+ job offer (from a tech company YOU choose).” The Office alleges that the representation is false and deceptive.
- Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that, as a result of his lawsuit against US Stemology, the company and its owner cannot advertise, market, or receive any payment for unproven stem cell treatments. US Stemology also must pay $500,000 to the Attorney General’s Office, which will be paid to US Stemology’s victims as restitution for unproven stem cell treatments.
- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey offered tips to consumers following multiple reports of scammers using robocalls to target West Virginians. The tips provide tell West Virginians what to do when they receive a scam call.