Supreme Court to Review Sixth Circuit Decision Involving Sovereignty of State Attorney General

Can a state attorney general stand alone?  That is the question posed by an upcoming Supreme Court case concerning Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s effort to intervene to defend to a Kentucky statute that was recently struck down by the Sixth Circuit.  The Supreme Court’s answer is likely to have implications in many future situations in which the political persuasions of state attorneys general and other state elected officials differ sharply.… More

Twitter Challenges Texas AG’s Civil Investigative Demand

A recent lawsuit filed by Twitter against Texas AG Ken Paxton claims that an investigation into the company’s internal content moderation policies violates the First Amendment.

On January 13, Paxton issued a civil investigative demand (CID) to Twitter seeking information related to the company’s policies and procedures for content moderation. In addition to requesting all versions of Twitter’s terms of use,… More

Massachusetts Attorney General Strikes Down First Municipal Fossil Fuel Ban

Just over a year ago, the city of Berkeley, California, became the first City in the United States to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings.  The trend of municipalities enacting fossil fuel bans, driven by a desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, has spread across California and a few other states and has now reached the east coast.  Yesterday, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Municipal Law Unit struck down the first such municipal fossil fuel ban to come across its desk as inconsistent with the general laws of the Commonwealth.… More

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