Notable Cases

Here are some of the cases that dominated the headlines in the state Attorney General space.

  • Grubhub − District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine secured $3.5M in a settlement with the food delivery company for allegedly charging customers hidden fees and using deceptive marketing practices by charging higher prices than the 1,000 restaurants on its platform without disclosing to customers. In addition, Attorney General Racine alleged that the company represented that it would charge a “delivery fee,” then added a “service fee” and “a small order fee.” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro brought similar suits against Grubhub and DoorDash.
  • Avalon Healthcare − Oregon Attorney General and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes settled with the senior living company for a data breach that exposed the personal and health information of thousands of employees and patients. The action was predicated on alleged insufficient security safeguards and delayed reporting of the breach to regulators.
  • Big Tech − Twenty-seven state Attorneys General continued the ongoing effort to limit the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as applied to internet platforms by filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Google LLC. In a separate action, New York Attorney General Letitia James investigated social media companies, including Twitch, Discord, 4Chan, and 8Chan, for not stopping or identifying the intentions of a terrorist to carry out a terror attack. Following a decade-old practice of state Attorneys General suing Google, a bi-partisan group of states, including Tennessee, New Jersey, California, New York, Connecticut, Virginia and Colorado, joined the United States Department of Justice in an antitrust action alleging that Google improperly monopolizes advertising technology markets. Finally, California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued Amazon alleging that the company violated antitrust laws by requiring merchants to enter into agreements with Amazon that penalizes them if their products are offered at a lower price on competitive e-commerce sites.
  • Data Breach − Credit data firm Experian resolved a 40-state multi-state investigation by paying $16M for compromised data breaches in 2012 and 2015. The states obtained an additional $2.43M from T-Mobile related to the 2015 Experian breach for consumers who submitted credit applications.
  • Pharmaceuticals − Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and other state Attorneys General alleged that insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Santoni-Adventist U.S., along with Express Scripts, CVS Health and OptumRx, pharmacy benefit managers, participated in an insulin-pricing scheme in violation of the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Opioids − Hundreds of millions of dollars have been collected from the manufacturers, distributors and retailers that sold legal pain killing opioids for allegedly improperly filling prescriptions from doctors. Most recently, CVS, Walmart and Walgreens have agreed to pay billions of dollars for allegedly not properly monitoring opioid prescriptions. These across-industry settlements mirror the magnitude of the state Attorney Generals-led tobacco settlements in the late 1990s and the mortgage servicing settlements a decade ago.
  • Ford Motor Company − A 40-state multi-state investigation, led by the Attorneys Generals from Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont, reached a $19.2M settlement with Ford Motor Company resolving allegations related to deceptive advertising claims regarding fuel efficiency and payload capacity.
  • Healthcare − Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton received $166M and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey collected $14M from Centene, along with other states, to resolve allegations that Centene overcharged state Medicaid programs as part of its management of pharmacy benefits.
  • Express Scripts − Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey received $3.2M from the pharmacy benefit manager for allegedly overcharging injured workers’ prescriptions.
  • Debt Collection − Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich permanently banned and received $1.6M against a debt collection business that allegedly impersonated law enforcement officers, process servers, and law firm personnel in order to scare consumers into paying their debts.
  • Moving Companies − Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, following a trial alleging a deceptive moving scheme, obtained $21M and a lifetime ban against eight moving companies finding they misrepresented prices, delivery dates, insurance coverage and unskilled third-party labor.
  • Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler − In an off-shoot of the “clean-diesel” 2015 emissions cheating scandal, Bosch agreed to pay California Attorney Rob Bonta $25M for its role in providing hardware, software, and service to the automakers that allegedly assisted in the violation of state environmental laws.
  • Home Improvement Financing − California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued home improvement financing provider Ygrene Energy Fund with alleged deceptive disclosures around the corollary financial effects of financing with the company and for unfairly recording liens on consumers’ homes without their consent.
  • Price Fixing − Television and monitor manufacturers Hitachi, Philips, Samsung, Toshiba, and Panasonic allegedly colluded in a price-fixing scheme according to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and paid $43M to Illinois consumers. Also, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson reached a $10.5M settlement with Tyson Foods for allegedly conspiring with a dozen chicken producers to fix prices.   
  • Telemarking − New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin obtained a $10M judgment against a telemarketing company that allegedly defrauded timeshare owners, using high-pressure tactics and misrepresentations targeting seniors.
  • Privacy − A 40-state multi-state investigation into Google’s location tracking practices for mobile and other devices ended with a $391.5M settlement. In short, the state Attorneys General alleged that Google violated state consumer protection laws by tracking consumers even when the location history setting was turned off.
  • ESG − Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron launched an investigation into ESG-related investment practices of Vanguard and State Street Bank for their membership in climate change groups such as the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero.
  • PFAS − California, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Illinois and other states brought lawsuits accusing 3M, DuPont and manufacturers of PFAS of creating toxic dangerous chemicals and covering up their alleged perpetual harm.
  • Antitrust − Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum brought a case against Abbott Laboratories alleging the use of sham patent litigation to monopolize the testosterone replacement gel market. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, along with Illinois, the District of Columbia, and others, challenged the planned multi-state merger of Albertsons and Kroger as alleged anti-competitive behavior for the supermarkets. Finally, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and a handful of other states, along with the FTC, sued agricultural giants Corteva and Syngenta for allegedly operating loyalty programs to prevent purchases of generic alternatives.  
  • Dollar General − Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost alleged that Dollar General violated the Consumer Protection Act by allegedly advertising goods at one price on store shelves and charging higher prices when scanned at the register.
  • Automobiles − Carmax resolved a 36-state multi-state investigation by agreeing to disclose safety recalls prior to selling its vehicles. In addition, Carmax paid New York Attorney General Letitia James $1M for alleged past disclosure failures about recalls.     
February 7, 2023
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