United States: State AGs In the News - February 20th, 2014

Last Updated: February 25 2014
Article by Bernard Nash


New York Attorney General Settles Collusion Allegations With Generic Drug Manufacturers

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. over allegations that the companies colluded to restrict competition in the generic drug market in the state.
  • AG Schneiderman alleged that Ranbaxy and Teva agreed not to challenge the regulatory exclusivity of each company relating to certain generic drugs, thereby protecting their relative market positions and reducing the risk of competition for the manufacturing of the drugs. The first manufacturer that seeks to market a generic version of brand-name drugs is granted exclusivity for 180 days in a practice known in as "first to file."
  • The settlement agreement requires the companies to end the alleged collusive activity, to agree not to enter into any such agreements, and to each pay the state $150,000.


Colorado Attorney General Files Suit Against Magazine Telemarketers Targeting Seniors

  • Colorado AG John Suthers filed a civil lawsuit against Rocio Trujillo and Anthony Trujillo, and the several companies that they operate for violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act by allegedly running a magazine telemarketing scam that targeted the elderly.
  • The Trujillos, and their associated telemarketing companies, are alleged to have sold magazine subscriptions by using a three-pronged business model, which entailed posing as magazine representatives when placing harassing sales calls to magazine subscribers to first deceive the consumer into believing they were their current magazine provider, deceiving consumers into participating in a recorded "verification" process, and then claiming a contract had been formed as a result of that verification process. The consumers were alleged to have been charged for subscriptions for thousands of dollars under these "contracts."
  • The AG's complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief against the defendants and a per person penalty of up to $10,000 for each elderly victim. Denver District Court Judge Laff has entered a temporary injunction shutting down the businesses and freezing their bank accounts.

California Company Sued by Washington Attorney General Over Alleged Job Site Poster Scam

  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson's office filed suit against California company Labor Standards Compliance Office (LSCO) and its principal Fangliang Cui over alleged violations of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act.
  • LSCO is alleged to have sent official-looking letters, including "final notice" or "due now" stamps and a payment stub, to Washington businesses stating that they must buy posters for display at job sites for $295 or they would face fines and audits by the state. Though private vendors may sell the posters, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (WA L&I) provides the job site posters for free.  Many business owners who received these letters assumed they came from WA L&I and contacted them to inquire about their meaning.
  • The complaint seeks restitution for consumers and attorney's costs and fees.

Ohio Attorney General Sues Loan Modification Service Company for Alleged Failure to Deliver

  • Ohio AG Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit against Home Remedy Center of Newport Beach, California for allegedly failing to provide loan modification services or to provide refunds to customers in violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Debt Adjuster's Act.
  • The suit alleges that Home Remedy Center advertised that it could help consumers avoid foreclosure by working with their lenders to seek a loan modification or the adjustment of their debt in exchange for fees ranging from $3,500 to $5,000, but the company did little or no work after receiving their fees and failed to provide refunds.
  • The AG's complaint seeks consumer restitution, injunctive relief, and an assessment of $25,000 per violation.


New York Attorney General Proposes Legislation Banning Plastic Microbeads in Beauty and Cosmetic Products

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman and Long Island Assemblyman Robert Sweeney have proposed the Microbead-Free Waters Act, which if passed would prohibit the production, manufacture, distribution, and sale in New York of any beauty product, cosmetic, or other personal care product containing "microbeads," which are plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in size.
  • AG Schneiderman proposed this first-in-nation legislation in response to potential environmental risks posed by the microbeads, which are too small to be caught by all water treatment plant filtration systems. He called the proposal "common-sense legislation" that would stop the flow of potentially harmful plastics into New York waters.
  • According to the AG's office, some consumer product companies have already voluntarily committed to phase out the use of microbeads. The Act is proposed to take effect December 31, 2015.

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