United States: State AGs In The News - February 19th, 2015

Last Updated: February 25 2015
Article by Bernard Nash and JB Kelly

Antitrust

Hospital Backs Away From Acquisition After New Massachusetts Attorney General Voices Concern

  • Partners HealthCare System, Inc. decided not to move forward with its proposed acquisition of South Shore Health and Educational Corporation. The parties filed a stipulation of voluntary dismissal with the Suffolk County Superior Court, where a consent judgment detailing the terms and conditions of the merger was pending approval.
  • Partners had reached a preliminary agreement to acquire South Shore with former Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley. After taking office, AG Maura Healey expressed her concerns about the merger and indicated that if the court declined to approve the consent judgment, she would seek to enjoin the merger.
  • AG Healey stated that she "appreciate[d] the thoughtful process that Partners engaged in while making this important decision, and believe[d] it is the right choice for Partners and the Commonwealth..." Partners' planned acquisition of Hallmark Health Corporation remains under consideration.

Charities

Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction to Prevent Disclosure of Nonprofit's Donors

  • A federal judge for the Central District of California granted a preliminary injunction preventing California AG Kamala Harris from obtaining a list of donors to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP), a nonprofit group founded by Charles and David Koch. AFP's lawsuit against AG Harris will now proceed on the merits, and AG Harris has 21 days to file her response to AFP's complaint.
  • The dispute originated when AG Harris informed AFP that in order to comply with the California Supervision of Trustees for Charitable Purposes Act, AFP was required to submit the names and addresses of all individuals who had donated more than $5,000 to the group for tax years 2011 and 2012. AFP resisted and brought this lawsuit seeking permanent injunctive relief, claiming that such information would "hinder citizens' ability to freely and anonymously associate with AFP in violation of the First Amendment" and subject donors to potentially harmful actions by individuals opposed to AFP.
  • AG Harris asserted that acquiring donor information is necessary to ensure that the charity or nonprofit is not being used to evade taxes, or for other fraudulent purposes. AG Harris also indicated that the information would only be used within the AG's office and would remain confidential.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Takes Action Against Mortgage Companies for Allegedly Deceptive Ads

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed suit against All Financial Services, LLC, and settled with Flagship Financial Group, LLC and American Preferred Lending, Inc., over alleged violations of the 2011 Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule. The Rule prohibits the use of misleading claims in mortgage advertising, including among other things, creating the implication of government affiliation or endorsement of a mortgage product.
  • The CFPB alleged that the mortgage companies mislead consumers through the use of terms like "FHA-insured" or "HUD-approved," or otherwise misrepresented that they were selling mortgage products affiliated with a government entity in the course of conducting direct mail promotion activities.
  • The CFPB's lawsuit against All Financial is pending in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The CFPB entered into administrative consent orders with the other two lenders, requiring Flagship Financial to pay $225,000 in civil penalties, and American Preferred to pay $85,000. In addition, both settling companies must implement compliance monitoring and reporting programs.

Consumer Protection

Ohio Sues Debt-Recovery Company Said to be "Spoofing" as Government

  • Ohio AG Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit against debt collector Nationwide Recovery Group, LLC and its owner Michael McCarthy (Nationwide) for violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  • The AG's complaint alleges that Nationwide impersonated local government and law enforcement—including various court clerks, sheriffs, and investigators—in its attempts to collect debts from Ohio consumers. In some cases, Nationwide is alleged to have "spoofed" consumers' caller IDs to display a government phone number and threatened consumers with arrest or legal action if they did not repay the alleged debt immediately.
  • The lawsuit is pending in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, and seeks restitution as well as civil penalties.

Data Privacy

President Obama Issues Executive Order on Private Sector Information Sharing

  • President Obama signed an executive order designed to increase information sharing among private companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies regarding threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks occurring over the internet.
  • The Order specifically directs the Department of Homeland Security to foster the creation of Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs). It also seeks to establish mechanisms that maintain and improve the functions of ISAOs and facilitate information dissemination and private sector partnership with the federal government—specifically through the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

Indiana Attorney General Proposes Stronger Data Privacy Legislation

  • Data privacy legislation proposed by Indiana AG Greg Zoeller passed a key hurdle as it was approved by the Indiana Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Transportation and will now be considered by the entire Senate.
  • Indiana Senate Bill 413 would expand data breach notification obligations to breaches involving non-computerized data, and would apply to data collectors and users. The current law applies only to data owners.
  • The bill would also require companies to employ reasonable procedures to ensure that no personal information is retained "beyond what is necessary for business purposes or compliance with applicable law." It would also require online entities that collect personal or financial information from Indiana residents to conspicuously post their privacy policies, identifying the types of personal information collected from site visitors, and to whom the information is shared or sold.

Environment

Missouri Collects $43.9 Million for Environmental Remediation in National Settlement

  • Missouri AG Chris Koster announced that the state will receive $43.9 million from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation as part of a nationwide $5.15 billion settlement regarding the 2006 acquisition of Kerr-McGee Corporation.
  • The environmental claims settled by Anadarko stem from the 2009 bankruptcy of Tronox Ltd. Tronox's creditors together with the U.S. Department of Justice claimed that Kerr-McGee fraudulently saddled Tronox with most of its environmental liabilities and then divested the company to make Kerr-McGee a more attractive acquisition for Anadarko.
  • The majority of Missouri's portion of the settlement—$38.2 million—will go toward remediating two sites formerly owned by Kerr-McGee, and used for creosote wood treatment. The remaining $5.7 million will be applied to the state's Natural Resource Damages program to remediate contaminated sites for public use.

States vs Federal Government

Round One Goes to Texas in Lawsuit Challenging President's Executive Action on Immigration

  • Andrew Hanen, a federal judge for the Southern District of Texas, ruled in favor of Texas and 25 other state plaintiffs, enjoining the implementation of certain aspects of President Obama's executive action on immigration. The U.S. Department of Justice has indicated it will appeal the decision.
  • Judge Hanen's decision turned on his interpretation of the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Judge Hanen found that the proposed executive action, effectuated through changes in Department of Homeland Security operations, created a "substantive change to immigration policy" and thus was properly classified as a rule or regulation that must comply with the APA's requirement of being first published in the Federal Register for a period of notice and comment.
  • Texas AG Ken Paxton, who is lead plaintiff along with 25 other states, called the decision "a victory for the rule of law in America." In contrast, Washington AG Bob Ferguson, who led a group of AGs from twelve states and the District of Columbia in filing an amici brief in support of the President's actions, indicated that this ruling was only the beginning.

Eleven Attorneys General Argue Mississippi Has Authority to Investigate Google

  • Eleven AGs, led by Kentucky AG Jack Conway, filed an amici brief in federal court in support of Mississippi AG Jim Hood's attempt to investigate Google, Inc. for alleged violations of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act through the issuance of an administrative subpoena. Kentucky AG Jack Conway was lead AG on the brief.
  • The subpoena demanded that Google produce information related to AG Hood's allegations that the company does not take appropriate measures to limit illegal activity on the internet, and derives revenue from such activities, including the exchange of pirated materials and the promotion of illegal drugs. Google objected to the subpoena and filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking an injunction to block the subpoena and the investigation.
  • Google argues that the 1996 Communications Decency Act shields online companies like Google from liability arising out of materials posted by third parties, essentially providing immunity from the AG's investigation. In their brief, the eleven amici AGs respond that even if Google is ultimately immune, that would be a defense to a lawsuit, and not to an AG investigation. Moreover, the AGs argue that the proper response when objecting to an administrative subpoena is through the state court system, not a federal lawsuit.
  • The case is Google, Inc. v. Hood, 3:14-CV-00981. The parties are scheduled to argue their positions on AG Hood's Motion to Dismiss on February 20 in front of Judge Henry T. Wingate for the Southern District of Mississippi.

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
 
Related Video
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