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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
The fraternity of state Attorneys General will be getting two new members in 2020. In November 2019, Kentucky elected Daniel Cameron as its next Attorney General, and Lynn Fitch was elected as Attorney General of Mississippi. Both will be sworn into office in January. The elections are both pick-ups for the Republican Party, as Cameron and Fitch both won open-seats previously held by Democrats. Attorney General Andy Beshear was elected Governor of Kentucky,… More
Led by California, 23 states, including Massachusetts, have sued the Trump administration challenging new federal regulations that strip the states’ authority to set their own vehicle emissions standards. On December 3, 2019, the administration moved to dismiss on procedural grounds, arguing that the D.C. District Court was the wrong venue, and that the case should have been brought before the D.C. Circuit for its direct review.… More
Out of all governmental agencies, state attorneys general are likely to have the greatest impact on privacy enforcement in 2020 for the average business. Over the past few years, state AGs have taken an increasingly active role in privacy and data security matters, using their broad consumer protection authority to enforce rapidly evolving state laws and investigate data security lapses. Even more recently, state AGs have begun to step out of their typical enforcement roles to pursue policy and legislative initiatives.… More