Each week, Crowell & Moring's State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week's updates.


  • A bipartisan coalition of 21 state attorneys general sent a letter urging congressional leaders to take action on hemp products that became legal through the 2018 Farm Bill. The letter encourages federal lawmakers to amend the definition of hemp and to clarify that states can take their own measures to regulate the plant and its derivative products.
  • A multistate coalition of 16 state attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, alleging that Apple is monopolizing the market for smartphones, stifling innovation and development of apps and related technology in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act as well as New Jersey and Wisconsin's Antitrust Acts.


  • California Attorney General Rob Bonta publicized a settlement with Mariner Health Care, Inc., the operator of 19 skilled nursing facilities in California, resolving allegations that Mariner jeopardized residents'healthand well-being, and misled prospective residents and their families about the quality of its facilities in violation of federal and state laws and regulations applicable to skilled nursing facilitates. The settlement, linked to the Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan of two Mariner entities in Chapter 11, will provide injunctive relief for a minimum of five years, require monitoring by an independent monitor for a minimum of three years, payment of$2.25 millionin costs, and imposes civil penalties of $15.5 million dollarsfor any future violations of the injunction or law.


  • Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced that Florida-based ghost gun dealer Steel Fox Firearms will dissolve its business operations as part of a settlement with the State, resolving allegations that its sale of illegal, untraceable ghost gun parts in Connecticut violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and General Statutes § 42-110a, et seq., and particularly General Statutes § 42-110b. Connecticut banned the sale and receipt of ghost gun components in 2019. According to the Office of the Attorney General, Steel Fox was well aware of the law, and shipped illegal gun parts to Connecticut anyway.


  • The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office filed a motion for preliminary injunction against Champion Funding, Inc., Champion Funding LLC, Judgment Acquisitions Unlimited, Inc., Andrew Metcalf, d/b/a Judgment Acquisitions Unlimited, Inc., and Andrew Metcalf, individually, to halt harmful debt collection practices. According to the complaint, the defendants violated various state laws regulating trade including, G.L. c. 93A, Sec.2(a); G.L. c. 93, Sec. 24A; and G.L. c. 93, Sec. 49. The AG's office intends to immediately stop the defendants from engaging in aggressive and potentially unlawful debt collection tactics, such as seizing consumers' cars unlawfully, and to ensure compliance with debt collection laws.


  • Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced that his office filed suit in Boone County against Anthony Walters for allegedly defrauding a consumer in connection with his business Anthony Walters Carpentry, LLC when he failed to provide promised home renovation services. According to the complaint, Anthony Walters Carpentry violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, § 407.010, et seq. AG Bailey's office is pursuing full restitution for the consumer who suffered losses, seeking injunctive relief to prevent future instances of consumer fraud, and asking for civil penalties against Anthony Walters. These include financial penalties for violating consumer protection laws.


  • Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum publicized the award of $9.4 million in civil damages in her office's lawsuit against Talmage LLC and its founder, Edward Shugrue III. The two-year civil investigation filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court which resulted in finding that Talmage engaged in misconduct against the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund in violation of the Oregon Antitrust Laws.


  • After a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the Utah Attorney General's Office against Response Marketing Group, LLC in November 2019, over $10 million in refunds will be issued to consumers who allegedly paid for a deceptive real estate investment training scheme that falsely promised significant profits through "flipping" houses in violation of federal and state consumer fraud statutes and telemarketing statutes.


  • The Washington's Attorney General's Office won a trial against debt collection agency Optimum Outcomes. Optimum is the last remaining defendant in Attorney General Ferguson's charity care lawsuit against Providence Health & Services. King County Superior Court Judge Sean O'Donnellruledthat Optimum violated the state Consumer Protection Act by violating the medical debt collection rights of Washington patients more than 82,000 times. Judge O'Donnell ordered Optimum to pay $10 per violation for a total civil penalty of $827,290, which will be paid into the State's general fund.

District of Columbia

  • Washington, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb provided testimony in a public hearing in support of B25-0609, the Protecting Affordable Loans Amendment Act of 2023 (PALs Act). General Schwalb explained that this Act is necessary to stop predatory lenders who charge high-interest rates, way above the District's approved limit of 24%. These lenders use loopholes through partnerships with banks in states who do not have these limits, a tactic called "rent-a-bank" schemes. General Schwalb shared that his office had been successful in fighting these schemes, but the PALs Act would make it easier to protect consumers.

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