Massachusetts AG Petitions DPU to Investigate Gas Industry Future in Light of Commonwealth’s GHG Emissions Goals

On June 4, 2020, the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General (AGO) filed a petition with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) requesting that the DPU open an investigation “to assess the future of local gas distribution company (LDC) operations and planning in light of the Commonwealth’s legally binding statewide limit of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.” Citing Massachusetts’ Global Warming Solutions Act, and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Determination of Statewide Emissions Limit for 2020,… More

Maura Healey’s COVID-19 Debt Collection Ban Struck Down

Last week, a federal judge blocked the enforcement of Massachusetts regulations that temporarily restrict debt collection practices during COVID-19.  According to the judge, the regulations violate the First Amendment rights of collection agencies without adding useful protections for consumers.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued the emergency regulations (which Foley Hoag summarized here) on March 27, 2020.  The regulations prohibit creditors from confronting a debtor in person,… More

The Equifax/Massachusetts Attorney General Consent Judgment: A Guide for Privacy and Security Compliance

What do businesses need to do to comply with privacy and data security laws?  The first place to look is to relevant statutes.  If you store or process the personal information of Massachusetts residents, then you will at least be subject to the Massachusetts Data Breach Notification Statute and related security regulations.  These are important guides that require certain operational activities, such as maintaining a written information security program,… More

Massachusetts Attorney General Tightens Debt Collection Regulations Amid COVID-19

Earlier today, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced emergency regulations temporarily restricting debt collection practices during the COVID-19 crisis. The Attorney General’s Office has long maintained regulations, promulgated under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law, that regulate the frequency and manner in which a creditor or debt collector may communicate with a debtor. The emergency regulations create additional restrictions on these communications for 90 days or until the State of Emergency declared by the Governor has expired.… More

Webinar: State Attorneys General and COVID-19 – What businesses need to know

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, state Attorneys General have asserted their authority in a variety of ways, from issuing new guidance and regulations on price-gouging to stepping up enforcement of state laws on employment and health care.  Foley Hoag’s team of former senior Attorney General staffers and other attorneys will discuss how AG Offices around the country are refocusing their resources to address the crisis and what that might mean for their non-COVID-19 cases. … More

FDA Issues Warning Regarding At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits

On Friday March 20, 2020, the FDA warned consumers to be wary of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits appearing on the market.  The FDA noted that it had not authorized any at-home testing kits for COVID-19. Further, the FDA warned that fake COVID-19 testing kits and other fraudulent related products and equipment could exacerbate the current crisis by preventing consumers from seeking proper medical treatment. … More

Massachusetts Attorney General Dramatically Expands Price Gouging Regulation in Response to COVID-19

At around noon on March 20, 2020, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed emergency regulations dramatically expanding the reach of 940 CMR 3.18, the Commonwealth’s regulation on price gouging.  Historically, the regulation has applied only to “petroleum-related businesses,” such as gas stations, during “market emergencies.”

The emergency regulation, however, applies to “any goods or services necessary for the health, safety, or welfare of the public,” such as hand sanitizer and protective gear for medical personnel. … More

AGs Crackdown on COVID-19 Related Price Gouging

Attorneys General across the United States are cracking down on individuals and businesses that are selling hand-sanitizer, face masks, disinfectants, and other products at a substantial mark-up, taking advantage of product shortages related to COVID-19.

Over the weekend, a New York Times article, which was widely circulated across social media platforms, reported that two Tennessee men, Matt and Noah Colvin,… More

White Collar Year in Preview: Massachusetts Attorney General Trends in 2020

2019 marked the beginning of Maura Healey’s second term as Massachusetts Attorney General. So far, this term has seen an increased focus on issues surrounding climate change and e-cigarettes, and a continued focus on healthcare fraud. We expect to see even more focus on these areas in 2020.

Expect More Climate Change-Related Enforcement

Healey’s inaugural address listed climate change as one of the top priorities in her second term,… More

Massachusetts Attorney General Files Long-Awaited Climate Change Lawsuit Against Exxon

On October 24, 2019, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a 200-page complaint against Exxon in Suffolk Superior Court, alleging violations of G.L. c. 93A, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.  The lawsuit is the culmination of a three-year long investigation that has been contested in state and federal courts in both Texas and Massachusetts.

The core legal theories espoused in the complaint resemble and also build upon allegations made by the New York Attorney General,… More