United States: State AGs In The News - October 16th, 2014

Last Updated: October 22 2014
Article by Bernard Nash and JB Kelly

2014 Election

ACC Webcast: Post-Election Analysis of the New Attorney General Landscape

  • Dickstein Shapiro and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) are partnering for a webcast on Wednesday, November 5 at 3:00 PM EST for a post-election analysis of the new Attorney General landscape.
  • Bernie Nash, head of Dickstein Shapiro's State AG practice will lead an interactive discussion about that new landscape and its implications for the business community.
  • This webcast is free and open to the public. Register here.

Antitrust

Texas Attorney General Settles Investigation of Municipal Advising Firm

  • Texas AG Greg Abbott reached an agreement with R. Craig Rathmann and his financial advising firm, Rathmann & Associates, L.P., regarding an investigation into Rathmann's alleged anticompetitive conduct.
  • According to AG Abbott, Rathmann had an agreement with his former employer, RBC Capital Markets, LLC (RBC), whereby Rathmann and RBC allocated municipal utility clients, and Rathmann agreed to direct his clients to RBC for bond underwriting in exchange for RBC not soliciting Rathmann's financial advisory clients.
  • The settlement agreement requires Rathmann to pay $450,000 "in lieu of civil penalties," and to reimburse the AG for investigative costs and attorneys' fees. It also requires, for a period of three years, that Rathmann notify clients that they can select their own bond underwriter and that the rate of reimbursement for bond underwriting services is negotiable.

Consumer Protection

National Rent-to-Own Chain Settles California Privacy and Consumer Protection Lawsuit

  • Aaron's, Inc., the second largest national chain of rent-to-own furniture and home electronics stores, has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by California AG Kamala Harris for $28.4 million.
  • The complaint alleged violations of the Karnette Rental-Purchase Act for charging improper late fees and for overcharging customers who satisfied contracts early. It also alleged violations of California privacy laws for installing spyware on rented computers that allegedly allowed Aaron's to monitor keystrokes, take screen shots, and geo-locate the compute without customer consent.
  • As per the terms of the settlement, Aaron's will provide up to $25 million in restitution, in the form of refunds to over 100,000 customers. It will also pay a civil penalty of $3.4 million to the state.
  • Aaron's settled similar spyware-related allegations with the Federal Trade Commission last year.

New York Attorney General Recovers $16 Million for Citi Customers

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman reached an agreement with Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. (CGMI), to close an investigation into claims that CGMI charged customers excess advisory fees.
  • Customers with CGMI accounts pay a fee for advisory services – usually ranging from 1% to 1.5%. However, some customers had negotiated a lower fee when they opened their account, yet were unknowingly charged the higher rate.
  • As a result of the agreement, CGMI will provide approximately $16 million in refunds to more than 31,000 customers nationwide.

Vermont Attorney General Seeks Input on New Labeling Law

  • Vermont AG William Sorrell is planning to hold public meetings to obtain feedback from producers, retailers, and consumers regarding how to implement Act 120, the new law requiring food products to list genetically engineered ingredients.
  • Under Vermont law, AG Sorrell is responsible for promulgating rules for the implementation of Act 120, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2016.  AG Sorrell will later solicit official public comments on the proposed draft rule.
  • Earlier this year the Grocery Manufacturers Association and three other food industry groups filed a lawsuit to enjoin Act 120. This lawsuit remains pending in federal court in the District of Vermont.

Environment

Pennsylvania Clamps Down on Fracking Fluid Leaks

  • Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are investigating EQT Corporation in connection to a discharge of fracking fluids into waterways from a natural gas drill site in 2012.
  • The DEP is seeking a $4.5 million civil penalty from EQT Corporation – the largest fine in Pennsylvania for a fracking-related environmental incident.
  • The state recently entered into a consent order with Range Resources Corporation over environmental damage from leaked fracking fluids, resulting in a $4.15 million civil penalty. Meanwhile AG Kane is also pursuing criminal charges against XTO Energy Inc., in connection to a fracking-related spill in 2010.

Fourteen States Oppose Broader Definition of "Waters" Under the Clean Water Act

  • West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey, joined by AGs and governors from thirteen other states, submitted a letter commenting on a proposed rule to broaden the definition of "waters of the United States" as used in the U.S. Clean Water Act (CWA) to include smaller streams and wetlands. The proposed rule was put forth earlier this year by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corp of Engineers.
  • AG Morrisey's letter argues against redefining the term "waters" in the manner proffered. The AGs and governors indicate that the proposed rule would expand the jurisdiction of the EPA beyond what was intended by Congress when it passed the CWA. The letter iterates that such a broad definition would infringe on states' abilities to effectively regulate the use of land.
  • As we have previously reported, there are also AGs who are in favor of the proposed rule, broadening the definition of "waters," and thus, broadening the jurisdictional scope of the CWA.

False Claims Act

Skilled Nursing Home Chain Settles Multistate Investigation Into Claims of Substandard Care

  • Extendicare Health Services, Inc. (Extendicare) has agreed to pay $32.3 million to the federal government and $5.7 million to eight states in order to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare and Medicaid for substandard nursing services.
  • The AGs alleged that Extendicare and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation failed to staff an adequate number of skilled nurses, and did not follow appropriate protocols to protect residents from risks like ulcers and falls. Extendicare denied all allegations.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, this is the largest ever "failure of care" settlement in the skilled nursing industry. In addition to the monetary penalties, Extendicare is required to enter into a five-year corporate integrity agreement and provide for an independent monitor selected by the U.S. Office of the Inspector General.

New York Attorney General Settles with Specialty Pharmacy

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman settled allegations that Sorkin's Rx Ltd d/b/a CareMed Pharmaceutical Services (Sorkin's) made false claims to the New York State Medicaid program.
  • According to AG Schneiderman, Sorkin's contacted insurance companies claiming to be from a prescribing physician's office in order to obtain expeditious authorizations for certain specialty drugs. In addition, Sorkin's allegedly restocked and resold unused dosages of specialty drugs Rituxan and Procrit without crediting back Medicaid and Medicare Part D plans for the initial purchase.
  • The AG's investigation resulted from a qui tam lawsuit filed by a Sorkin's employee. The settlement requires Sorkin's to pay $846,224 in restitution to Medicaid, with New York receiving $465,423 of the restitution funds.

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.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
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.

Disclaimer

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.

General

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