Consumer Protection

California Attorney General Settles with Cable Company for Alleged Privacy Violations

California AG Kamala Harris and the California Public Utilities Commission reached a settlement with Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC (“Comcast”) over allegations the company violated the California Unfair Competition Law, the Cable Communications Policy Act, and the California Public Utilities Code by publishing unlisted telephone numbers online.

According to the complaint, Comcast, through its vendors, published online the names, phone numbers, and addresses of approximately 75,000 voice over internet protocol (“VOIP”) phone customers who paid a monthly fee to keep their information unlisted.

Under the terms of the settlement, Comcast will pay $25 million in penalties and investigative costs and approximately $8 million in restitution to customers affected. Comcast will also improve its customer complaint policies and strengthen the restrictions it places on its vendors’ use of customer’s personal information.

Employment

Massachusetts Attorney General Settles with Grocery Store for Alleged Wage and Hour Violations

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey reached a settlement with grocery store, Baby Nat’s, Inc., over allegations that it violated state wage and hour laws where it failed to properly pay employees.

According to AG Healey, an investigation allegedly found that from January 2012 to February 2015 Baby Nat’s had failed to pay proper overtime rates and Sunday premium rates (a rate of no less than one and a half times an employee’s regular hourly rate), keep accurate payroll records, and issue suitable pay slips to employees.

Under the terms of the settlement, the store must pay $200,000 in restitution to workers and more than $100,000 in penalties, including a penalty for allegedly hindering the investigation by telling employees to either lie to or refuse to communicate with the AG’s office.

Environment

Illinois Attorney General Settles with Company to Resolve Groundwater Contamination Allegations

Illinois AG Lisa Madigan reached a settlement with Macoupin Energy, LLC, to resolve allegations of groundwater contamination at the Shay No. 1 Coal Mine (“Shay Mine”) in Macoupin County.

Under the terms of the settlement, Macoupin Energy must prevent the spread of mining waste contaminants, submit a corrective action plan to state and federal officials, and pay $100,000 and $197,500 in civil penalties and for environmental projects, respectively.

New Hampshire Attorney General Settles with Manufacturer for Alleged Hazardous Waste Management Violations

New Hampshire AG Joseph Foster and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services reached a settlement with Kimball Physics, Inc., (“KPI”) to resolve allegations that the company violated the state’s Hazardous Waste Management Act (“HWMA”).

According to AG Foster, KPI allegedly violated New Hampshire rules for the management and storage of hazardous chemical wastes in a storage area of its Wilton, New Hampshire facility.

Under the terms of the consent decree, KPI must pay $130,000 in civil penalties and pay for three unannounced third-party hazardous waste inspection audits at its facilities.

State v. Federal

Massachusetts Attorney General Urges FERC to Thoroughly Review Proposed Pipeline

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) urging them to thoroughly review and examine the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, a 188-mile natural gas pipeline across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, before allowing the project to move forward.

According to the AG office’s letter, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”) approved three pipeline-related contracts with Massachusetts gas distribution companies through an “expedited approval process,” allegedly without considering the future demand of local gas and electric markets and the cost-effective energy and efficiency resources that can be deployed to meet that demand.

AG Healey requests that, in light of DPU’s expedited review, FERC consider the future demand and alternative resources, as well as the results of an AG-commissioned study on the necessity of increased natural gas capacity, to be completed October 31st, before it approves the proposed pipeline.