Squire Patton Boggs’ State Attorneys General Practice Group is comprised of lawyers who have served at senior levels in state AG offices around the country and whose practices focus, to one degree or another, on representing clients before these increasingly assertive and powerful, yet often overlooked, government agencies, as explained in detail here.
In these updates, we will call attention to the most noteworthy state AG news or developments emerging in the previous week.
Attorneys General from 17 states have filed a motion to intervene in a federal case “in order to defend the constitutionality of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),” according to a press release from Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, who joined in the motion. AG Madigan’s press release notes that Congress created the CFPB in 2010, and that the agency’s purpose is to “provide a single point of accountability for enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace.” In the case, PHH Corporation, et al. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the CFPB has filed a petition for rehearing of an October 2016 ruling that “found the structure of the CFPB unconstitutional,” according to AG Madigan’s press release. The AGs state in their motion that they have “used their authority to bring civil actions in coordination with the CFPB to protect consumers against unfair, deceptive and abusive financial practices,” and argue in part that the October 2016 ruling, “if permitted to stand, would undermine the power of state attorneys general to effectively protect consumers against abuse in the consumer finance industry, and significantly lessen the ability of the CFPB to withstand political pressure and act effectively and independently of the President,” according to AG Madigan’s press release.
Attorneys General from eight states and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Justice “have successfully blocked the anti-competitive proposed merger of Aetna and Humana,” according to a news release from Virginia AG Mark Herring, who joined in the suit challenging the merger. AG Herring states in the news release that the “coalition  filed suit in July 2016 challenging the proposed $37 billion merger as an illegal, anti-consumer move that would reduce competition, eliminate choices, stifle innovation, and drive up costs” for consumers. A group of eleven states, D.C., and the U.S. Department of Justice are also challenging “proposed $54 billion merger between Anthem and Cigna as another anti-competitive measure” that “would give the new company an anti-competitive level of market share in many communities,” according to AG Herring’s news release.
Florida AG Pam Bondi is warning Floridians “to be wary of storm-related [repair] scams” in the aftermath of the “deadly thunderstorms that impacted the Southeast [United States],” according to news release from the Florida AG. AG Bondi states in the news release that after severe and damaging storms, “unscrupulous individuals will sometimes prey on those in distress,” and that consumers should, among other “tips,” be “wary of anyone who approaches unsolicited about property repairs or tree removal” and to “[n]ever pay up front or make final payment until completely satisfied with repairs” performed.