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
As a quick glance at any news outlet makes clear, the 2020 Election cycle is in full swing. While the early press coverage is already focusing on the large field of aspiring presidential nominees barnstorming in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, by August 2019 Massachusetts voters will also get an early look at which state ballot questions will be seeking a spot on the November 2020 Massachusetts ballot.… More
Partner Colin Zick speaks to Bloomberg Law about how big law firms are expanding their state-focused practices to help clients deal with heavy state fines for alleged privacy violations.
Companies are turning to state-centric practices “because they see the threats from individual state enforcers,” Zick said. They want expertise from former officials, like former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who know the proper approach to limit enforcement risks,… More
Aaron Ford will bring a wide array of legal and political experiences, as well as consumer protection zeal, to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office in his coming four year term. Ford has been a political force in Nevada since his election to the Nevada State Senate in 2012, after which he served as Minority Leader from 2014 – 2016, and Majority Leader from 2016 – 2018, following Nevada Democrats’ re-taking of the Senate chamber in 2016.… More
Last April, I predicted that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision to allow Attorney General Maura Healey’s civil investigative demand regarding Exxon’s knowledge of climate change to proceed had “ended a significant chapter in [the] long-running dispute.” In fact, that chapter managed to continue through January 7, 2019, when the United States Supreme Court rejected Exxon’s petition to review the SJC’s decision.
Exxon’s certiorari petition accuses the Massachusetts courts of “a breathtaking assertion of personal jurisdiction” that “flouts core notions of due process,” arguing that Exxon’s ability to control the advertising of its licensees in Massachusetts did not constitute sufficient contact with Massachusetts to be subject to a CID. … More