Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Consumer Protection

  • A coalition of 50 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) in support of its efforts to reduce robocallers’ access to legitimate phone numbers. Specifically, the FCC is proposing to implement a more stringent application, review and monitoring process for phone companies requesting direct access to phone numbers, including verifying customers’ identities. This would include limiting the ability to use temporary phone numbers for trial customers and untraceable payment methods.

Environment

  • A coalition of 19 attorneys general led by New York Attorney General James sent a letter to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works urging it to strengthen protections against PFAS “forever chemicals.” The letter cites the dangers posed by these substances and the taxpayer dollars they are costing as reasons for swift action, and seeks changes, such as designating PFAS as hazardous substances and hazardous air pollutants under federal law.

Labor and Employment – Immigration Enforcement

  • A coalition of 11 attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in support of its plan to change its worksite enforcement practices to support safety, labor rights, wage protections, and other legal rights. The letter also includes several recommendations, such as a deferred action program, steps to ensure immigrants have access to information about worker rights and protections, and supporting private actions to facilitate labor laws’ enforcement.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Labor and Employment

  • New York Attorney General James announced an agreement with home health care agencies Intergen Health, LLC and Amazing Home Care Services, resolving allegations that the companies violated New York employment law by failing to pay wages and provide paid sick leave. The agreement requires the companies to pay $18.8 million to employees, implement new policies, and comply with regulatory oversight.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Antitrust

  • Arizona Attorney General Brnovich announced that he is investigating major firms’ ESG investing practices, including their membership in Climate Action 100+. Attorney General Brnovich stated that he is concerned about anticompetitive conduct and pressure on businesses.

Consumer Protection

  • New York Attorney General James issued a consumer alert about the FTC’s new guidance on negative option plans and New York’s recently enacted law that covers these practices. The consumer alert highlights the key requirements businesses engaging in negative option marketing tactics must follow: (1) clear and conspicuous disclosures, (2) informed consent, and (3) simple cancellation processes.

Price Gouging

  • Virginia Attorney General Herring announced an agreement with 7HC Inc. d/b/a 7 Heaven BP, resolving allegations that the business engaged in price gouging by charging unconscionable prices on gasoline after a state of emergency was declared for the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. The business has agreed to injunctive relief, consumer refunds, and attorneys’ fees.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Consumer Protection

  • A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general is investigating Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for promoting its Instagram platform to children and young adults while being aware of the associated physical and mental health harms. The attorneys general are determining whether Meta violated state consumer protection laws and/or put the public at risk.

Medicaid Fraud

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced an $800,000 settlement with retail pharmacy Sun Health Systems, LLC d/b/a Bravo Pharmacy and its owner. The settlement resolves allegations that the company billed MassHealth for automatically refilled medications, for a prescription that was not provided, and for other prescriptions that were not authorized by a physician. The settlement includes a three-year compliance monitoring program in addition to the payment.

Friday, November 19, 2021

False Claims

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a lawsuit against home health agency Prestige Health Care Services, Inc. and its executives for allegedly falsely billing MassHealth for services that were not authorized by a physician and/or were not medically necessary. The lawsuit seeks treble damages and civil penalties.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced a settlement with home health agency Independent at Home and its owners, resolving allegations that they knowingly submitted false claims for home health services that were not appropriately authorized by a physician to MassHealth and managed care entities which administer services to MassHealth members. The settlement includes a $1.2 million payment and a comprehensive compliance program.