Cozen in the news
Cozen O’Connor State AG Group Lawyers Discuss Workplace Enforcement Priorities and Regulatory Risks
- Cozen O’Connor State AG group members Maria Colsey Heard and Ann-Marie Luciano published an article in Bloomberg Law in which they explained how state attorneys general are accelerating their law enforcement efforts at the venue. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues businesses need to consider, and the actions they should take to avoid regulatory risks in today’s climate.
- The article notes that promulgating health and safety protocols and vaccination policies are among the steps companies should consider taking.
State AGs in the news
Former New Hampshire Attorney General Confirmed As Chief Justice Of State Supreme Court
- Former New Hampshire AG Gordon MacDonald was confirmed as chief justice of the state Supreme Court by a 4-1 vote from the Executive Council.
- MacDonald was appointed AG in 2017, but temporarily resigned his post in January 2021 after being appointed to court.
- MacDonald appointed Deputy GA Jane Young as interim GA before stepping down.
Hawaii court orders drug companies $ 834 million judgment for Plavix
- Hawaii AG Clare Connors obtained judgment against pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and three US-based subsidiaries of French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and related persons (collectively “BMS”) after a circuit court found that BMS used deceptive tactics and false advertising to market the blood thinner drug Plavix in violation of Hawaii’s Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices Act.
- The complaint alleged and the court found that BMS claimed in its marketing that Plavix offered protection against heart attacks and strokes, without any discussion of the populations for which it might not be effective, although studies performed years before Plavix came to market have shown that it may not work for the majority of East Asians and Pacific Islanders who make up about half of Hawaii’s population.
- The judgment imposes $ 834 million in total civil penalties, split evenly between Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Sanofi defendants.
- As previously reported, in 2019 West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey reached a $ 3.2 million settlement with the same companies for similar claims of consumer deception about the effectiveness of Plavix.
Student loans officer resolves allegations of interference with borrowers’ ability to request forgiveness
- Massachusetts AG Maura Healey has reached an agreement with the federal student loan service Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency d / b / a FedLoan Servicing (“PHEAA”) over allegations that he deprived eligible student borrowers of relief to which they were entitled under federal programs offering loan rebates and grants to holders of public service jobs in violation of state and federal consumer protection laws.
- The complaint alleged, among other things, that the PHEAA was preventing student borrowers from making the eligible monthly payments required for loan cancellation under the civil service loan cancellation program, mistreating repayment plans focused on income designed to make monthly payments more affordable and mistakenly converted education aid for college. and higher education grants (“TEACH”) in loans.
- Under the settlement agreement, the PHEAA is required to submit to an audit that would allow borrowers to submit a claim for a detailed account review, and is also required to correct any service errors or misrepresentation discovered by such a review. If an account correction is not possible because the loan has already been canceled, the PHEAA will be required to pay monetary relief based on the dollar value of the months lost by a borrower progressing towards the loan cancellation. The PHEAA is also required to implement improved quality assurance review practices to identify and prevent future service errors, among others.
Michigan Attorney General Seeks State Supreme Court Review of Michigan Consumer Protection Act Exemption
- Michigan AG Dana Nessel filed an amicus brief in the Michigan Supreme Court urging her to reconsider her denial of appeal by Cyr, et al. vs. Ford Motor Co., and review its interpretation of an exemption contained in the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (“MCPA”).
- The plaintiffs sued Ford Motor Co. (“Ford”) for, among other things, violating the MCPA over allegations of faulty transmissions in some of its vehicles. The trial court dismissed Ford’s motion for a summary resolution of the plaintiff’s claims regarding the MCPA, in which he argued that his activities fell within a long-standing precedent of the Michigan Supreme Court interpreting the MCPA as providing an exemption to any “generally regulated” industry. Ford appealed and the appeals court overturned the trial court’s decision. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case and the plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration, which AG Nessel’s amicus brief supports.
- The brief urges the Supreme Court to reconsider its interpretation of the exemption, arguing, among other things, that previous Michigan Supreme Court decisions falsely exempt a wide range of industries from the MCPA and nullify the purpose of the MCPA preventing consumers from obtaining redress for unfair and deceptive business practices.
FTC bans payday lenders from engaging in lending activities
- The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has entered into an agreement with the payday loan company Lead Express, Inc. and related companies and individuals (collectively “Lead Express”) to resolve allegations that they used marketing practices. deceptive marketing and unauthorized bank withdrawals to overcharge millions of consumers. dollars on payday loans in violation of the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Truth in Lending Act and its regulations, Regulation Z, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and its regulations of application, regulation E.
- As previously reported, the complaint alleged, among other things, that Lead Express used deceptive marketing tactics on websites and through telemarketing to convince consumers that they were taking out loans with a fixed number of payments. In fact, consumers have often found that Lead Express only applies their finance charge payments without reducing the loan principal, and continues to withdraw regular finance charge payments after the promised loan term ends.
- Under the proposed stipulated order, Lead Express is subject to a judgment of $ 114.3 million, which is partially suspended due to inability to pay. In addition, any consumer loan made by Lead Express will be deemed to be repaid in full if the principal payment and only one interest payment have been made. In addition, the ordinance permanently prohibits Lead Express from engaging in lending activities.
- One of the defendants in the FTC’s lawsuit, La Posta Tribal Lending Enterprise, is not a party to the settlement and the FTC is continuing its action against it.
GM resolves claims it misleads investors over ignition switch cost recall
- California AG Xavier Becerra has entered into an agreement with General Motors LLC (“GM”) to resolve allegations that it has made false and misleading representations to investors regarding the costs associated with repairing faulty ignition switches installed in some of the its cars in violation of the California False Claims Act and the Securities Act of 1968.
- According to the GA’s office, GM has recalled more than nine million vehicles in the United States because of faulty ignition switches, which are believed to have resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries. Despite its knowledge of the need for recalls, GM is said to have concealed the magnitude of the problem from investors and failed to build reserves for anticipated losses, costing California investors millions of dollars, including the California Public Employees’ Retirement. System.
- Under the settlement agreement, GM will pay $ 5.75 million, of which $ 3.85 million will be restitution to eligible investors.