United States: State AGs In The News - March 6th, 2014

Last Updated: March 14 2014
Article by Bernard Nash

2014 Election

District of Columbia Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Place Attorney General on April Ballots 

  • The District of Columbia Superior Court granted a motion to dismiss in Paul Zukerberg v. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, et al., 2103 CA 8004 (D.C. Super. Ct. Feb. 26, 2014).
  • Zukerberg, a potential candidate for Attorney General, alleged that the D.C. Council violated the D.C. Charter by passing campaign procedure legislation providing that the election for the first AG shall not be before January 1, 2018. The D.C. Charter reads, "[t]he first election for the position of Attorney General shall be after January 1, 2014." The Superior Court dismissed the suit, holding that based on the ordinary meaning of the words the language does not conflict.
  • Zukerberg has appealed the decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals, which recently upheld the Superior Court's decision to deny Zukerberg's request for an injunction. The Court of Appeals stated that the Superior Court had "considered the appropriate factors."


Thirty-Four Attorneys General Settle Multistate DRAM Price-Fixing Case for $310 Million

  • Thirty-four AGs settled a price-fixing case against 12 companies that allegedly conspired to fix prices for Dynamic Random Memory Access (DRAM). As part of the settlement, a $310 million dollar fund was established to pay claims to consumers.
  • The lawsuits alleged that these companies fixed the prices of DRAM between 1998 and 2002 resulting in overcharges to people and businesses that bought DRAM or devices containing DRAM.
  • The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily approved the proposed settlements pending a fairness hearing scheduled for June. In the meantime, consumers are being notified and may file claims.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau/For-Profit Colleges

CFPB Sues For-Profit College Chain for Student Loan Practices

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services, Inc., a for-profit college chain, for its alleged predatory student lending practices. The lawsuit is CFPB's first public enforcement action against a company in the for-profit college industry.
  • The complaint alleges violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act and the Truth in Lending Act. "We believe that ITT used high-pressure tactics to push many students into expensive private student loans that were likely to end in default," according to CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The complaint states that ITT itself had projected that more than 60 percent of the students who had received private loans would default.
  • A broader investigation of student-lending practices seems to be underway. Recently, Discover Bank, a subsidiary of Discover Financial Services, disclosed in its annual filing that CFPB issued a civil investigative demand seeking documents and information regarding its student loan servicing practices. According to the filing, if CFPB brings an enforcement action, it could include demands for monetary penalties, changes to business practices, and customer restitution.
  • Illinois AG Lisa Madigan also recently confirmed a multistate investigation of student lending practices. The investigation focuses on debt collection and loan servicing practices. According to the AG's office, "We're looking into the increasing reports of abusive servicing practices involving customers who have taken on considerable student loan debts."

Consumer Protection

Michigan Attorney General Settles Claims With Fundraiser for Alleged Deceptive Practices

  • Michigan AG Bill Schuette settled with Associated Community Services (ACS) for $45,000 related to allegations that it misled senior citizens during fundraising calls to convince them to provide credit card information.
  • ACS allegedly used a telemarketing script to mislead donors who were uncertain about providing credit card information to believe that the Attorney General's office had approved or endorsed its credit card payment systems.
  • As part of the settlement, ACS must also revise its script for future solicitations. "Michigan law requires honesty of our professional fundraisers. We will not tolerate those that abuse the name of this office to deceive donors," stated AG Schuette.

Data Privacy

California Attorney General Releases Cybersecurity Guide for Small Businesses

  • California AG Kamala Harris issued recommendations to California small businesses to help protect against and respond to the increasing threat of malware, data breaches, and other cyber risks.
  • The recommendations include having businesses implement an incident response plan and review data that they store or share with third parties, with the goal of eliminating what is not necessary and encrypting any remaining, necessary data.
  • "Technology has created new opportunities and new risks for California businesses, including cyber attacks. This guide offers specific, straightforward recommendations to help businesses continue to thrive by reducing cybersecurity risks to employees and customers," stated AG Harris.


Massachusetts Attorney General Settles With Shell Oil for $4 Million for Hazardous Cleanup Funds Fraud Allegations

  • Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley settled with Shell Oil Company for $4 million to resolve allegations that the company falsely received reimbursement payments from a state fund for hazardous waste cleanup.
  • The settlement resolved claims similar to those settled by AG Coakley with Sunoco and those involved in a lawsuit brought by AG Coakley against Hess. In those matters, the companies allegedly sought reimbursement from the state fund for claims that they also had submitted to their private insurers related to their cleanup of leaks from underground fuel storage tanks.
  • "This program exists to help station operators clean up harm done to the environment, not for big oil companies to profit by double dipping," commented AG Coakley.

Financial Industry

New York Attorney General Announces Agreements With Wall Street Firms to Stop Cooperation With Analyst Surveys

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman, following a previously reported agreement with the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, to end its analyst survey program, has entered into interim agreements with 18 financial firms to discontinue or continue refraining from cooperating with analyst surveys. The analyst survey program allegedly captured non-public industry-leading analyst information on companies that could be used for trading before that information hit the market.
  • "At my request, these firms have agreed to stop a practice that can offer an advantage to powerful clients at the expense of others. Our markets will only be fair and healthy if everyone plays by the same rules," said AG Schneiderman.


Massachusetts Attorney General Testifies in Support of Flood Insurance Legislation

  • Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley testified in front of the state Joint Committee on Financial Services in support of proposed flood insurance legislation that would reduce flood insurance costs for homeowners by tying the amount of insurance to mortgage balances.
  • The proposed legislation, Bill H. 3783, titled An Act Relative to Flood Insurance, filed by AG Coakley and Speaker Robert DeLeo, would prohibit creditors from requiring homeowners to purchase flood insurance in an amount that exceeds the outstanding balance of their mortgage, requires coverage for contents, or includes a deductible of less than $5,000.
  • AG Coakley was concerned that new flood zone maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency would increase insurance rates. "We believe that dramatically increased flood insurance rates will tip the balance for many homeowners who weathered the economic downturn, but are still feeling the residual effects of the housing crisis. Without this help, we are gravely concerned that many additional homeowners will face foreclosure," said AG Coakley.

Intellectual Property

Oregon Enacts Anti-"Patent Troll" Legislation

  • Oregon, with the support of AG Ellen Rosenblum, passed Senate Bill 1540, sponsored by Senator Jackie Winters, which makes "patent trolling" a violation of the state's Unlawful Trade Practice Act.
  • The law allows an enforcement action against those who make a demand for patent infringement in bad faith. The law includes a list of conditions for a court to consider in determining whether the demand was made in bad faith, including whether:
    • The demand requires a response or payment within an "unreasonably short" time;
    • The demand provides the patent number, a statement of facts, or current contact information for the patentee, assignee, or licensee; and
    • The person making the demand knew or should have known that the demand was without merit or was deceptive.
  • Oregon is the second state to pass this type of legislation. Vermont, with the support of AG Bill Sorrell, passed a similar law in 2013. Nebraska, with the support of AG Jon Bruning, is currently considering a similar bill.

Pharmaceuticals/ Medicaid Fraud/ False Claims Act

Several Attorneys General and the Federal Government Settle With Omnicare for $4 Million

  • Several AGs and the federal government settled with Omnicare, Inc. for $4 million to resolve state and federal Medicaid fraud and false claim allegations related to the prescription drug Aranesp.
  • The settlement stems from a qui tam action that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.

State AGs in the News

Massachusetts Attorney General Encourages Stronger Standards for MBTA Retirement Fund Board

  • Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley sent a letter to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Retirement Fund Board asking it to increase transparency by adopting standards for conflicts of interest, financial disclosures, and public records. The letter cites to a recent loss of $25 million in investment funds and the board's alleged failure to disclose the loss in a timely manner as a catalyst for this change.
  • The MBTA Retirement Fund Board operates as a private trust, but because MBTA receives a significant portion of its revenue from fares paid by transit riders and dedicated sales tax revenue, AG Coakley argues that the same ethical standards applied to other public institutions should apply to the board.
  • AG Coakley recommends a cooling-off period for former employees, greater disclosure of employees and former employees' financial interests, and application of public records disclosure laws to the board. "We feel strongly that taking action to increase transparency is in the best interest of current and retired MBTA employees, as well as the public," states AG Coakley.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions