Led by Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a coalition of 22 attorneys general submitted a comment letter to the Department of Education in support of student loan income-driven repayment plan reform. The coalition supports the Department of Education’s new proposal to end negative amortization experienced by borrowers whose income-driven repayment plans are too low to cover interest. The attorneys general also urged the department to make these reforms available to borrowers with ParentPlus loans, as well as give more borrowers credit towards forgiveness.
Individual Attorney General Actions
California Attorney General Rob Bonta secured a final judgment with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) when the U.S. Supreme Court denied J&J’s petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of the California Court of Appeals decision, which largely affirmed the trial court’s holding in favor of the state.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser sent a letter to AmeriGas asking the company about numerous reports that the company has been unable or unwilling to service their propane tanks. Consumers reported that they have been at “emergency levels” of propane for weeks and their calls to AmeriGas have allegedly gone unanswered. When they did eventually hear back from AmeriGas, they were allegedly charged extra fees for “emergency deliveries” which were necessitated through AmeriGas’s failure to deliver promptly in the first place.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong opened an inquiry into Sun Community mobile manufactured home park regarding longstanding property management concerns. The attorney general’s office received numerous complaints from residents who have reported continued, increasing rent hikes despite allegedly deteriorating conditions.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sent a letter to Apple and Google requesting that they provide a means for consumers to identify certain foreign-owned apps that are available for download in their app stores. Attorney General Moody highlighted data collection and unauthorized access concerns that these apps could allegedly pose.
Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach filed suit against Macquarie Energy, a firm that serves as a middleman for Kansas gas utilities, arguing it manipulated market prices during a 2021 winter storm that saw temperatures plummet and gas costs skyrocket. The lawsuit claims the company artificially inflated sale of natural gas in order to drive the benchmark used to set gas prices upwards and thus increase costs for utilities.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a nearly $10 million settlement with Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson which manufactures pelvic mesh surgical devices, for the company’s allegedly deceptive marketing practices. The settlement resolves allegations that Ethicon violated the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act by misrepresenting serious and life-altering risks of surgical mesh devices when marketing the product to doctors.
Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell announced a $7.6 million settlement with Toyota Motor Credit Corp. to resolve allegations of certain illegal auto loan collection practices. The settlement includes approximately $5.5 million in debt relief. Attorney General Campbell also announced a $6.5 million settlement with Safe Home Security, a Connecticut-based home security services company, which allegedly violated state consumer protection laws by deceptively trapping Massachusetts consumers in long-term auto renewal contracts and engaging in illegal debt collection practices.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission announced a default judgment against Island Distillers, Inc. in their lawsuit against the entity for making illegal sales and shipments of spirits directly to Michigan consumers.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a $20,000 settlement with Direct Account Management, a California student-loan debt-relief company, which will also have to cease operating in Minnesota and provide full refunds. The settlement resolves allegations that the company illegally collected fees and misrepresented its services to Minnesotan consumers.
New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities announced a $45 million settlement with Nexo Capital Inc. for their allegedly illegal offer and sale of unregistered securities in the form of interest-bearing digital asset deposit accounts. Nexo provided crypto-asset-related financial services, including Earn Interest Product accounts which promised to pay investors interest in cryptocurrency deposited in a Nexo “crypto interest account,” allegedly suggesting in some instances that investors could obtain returns as high as 36%.
New York Attorney General Letitia James entered an agreement which stopped Affordable Senior Care of New York LLC, (Affordable) a home care company, from preventing patients and their caregivers from choosing the provider of their choice. The attorney general alleged that Affordable entered into an unlawful agreement with Marks Homecare to not take each other’s existing patients, preventing patients and their chosen caregivers from moving to the company of their choice. Affordable and Marks Homecare also allegedly exchanged information about their hourly rates to reduce competition.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost negotiated an agreement with DNA Diagnostics Center, a company that provides paternity and other DNA testing, over a 2021 data breach that compromised the personal information of more than 45,000 consumers. The company was required to pay a $200,000 fine, institute a new cybersecurity program which must be assessed by a certified third party, and comply with the Consumer Sales Practices Act. Attorney General Yost also reached an agreement with Dollar General Stores that averts a temporary restraining order sought by Ohio over allegations of deceptive pricing. Many prices displayed on the shelves at Dollar General allegedly did not match the prices charged at the checkout.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced a $650,000 settlement with Centaurus Financial, Inc., a securities broker-dealer, for violating state securities laws. The defendants allegedly violated South Carolina securities laws in their sales of complex structured securities products, known as steepeners, and in their sales of certain unlisted bonds.
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