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February 13, 2017

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State Attorneys General February 13 Update

Litigation

A February 6 article in The New York Times, How Attorneys General Became Democrats’ Bulwark Against Trump (link), discusses how, with “Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, Democrats have increasingly looked to the states both to challenge Mr. Trump’s policies and to enforce federal regulations, including on business and the environment, that is administration may ignore.” Democratic state attorneys general have “gear[ed] up to play a larger role in national politics,” and several AGs have “cited as an inspiration the long-running legal war waged against the Obama administration by Republican attorneys general, who derailed key White House policies on immigration and nearly voided the Affordable Care Act,” according to the article. The article notes, for example, how the Trump Administration’s immigration executive order “spurred swift legal actions from five states in four federal courts,” including a suit from Washington AG Bob Ferguson in which “a federal judge’s ruling . . . froze, at least temporarily, the carrying out of a travel ban.” On February 9, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the government’s emergency request to reinstate the “travel ban,” according to a CNN report.

New York AG Eric Schneiderman has announced settlements with two mobile application (“app”) developers for “their failure to disclos[e] their data collection practices in a privacy policy,” according to a press release. The New York AG notes in the press release that the purpose of a privacy policy is to “inform users about what, if any, personal information is collected, used and disclosed in the use of a product or service,” and states that “failure to disclose how a company collects, uses and discloses customers’ personal information in a privacy policy is a deceptive trade practice” under New York state law. Under the settlement, the companies “agreed to clearly inform users in a privacy policy about their policies and procedures with respect to user information,” according to the press release, which notes that the New York AG “did not find that these developers misused their customers’ personal information or disclosed it to third parties.”

Florida AG Pam Bondi has announced federal court approval of proposed consent judgments that “resolve allegations that the defendant [Florida-based] debt relief companies targeted individuals deeply in debt with promises of lower credit card payments and substantial savings and collected upfront fees for the promised services, but never delivered on those services or provided refunds,” according to a news release. According to the news release, the defendant debt relief companies “allegedly worked with payment processors to create more than two dozen shell merchants to process credit card payments,” and “allegedly created these fake businesses to act as fronts and launder the illegal transactions, ultimately taking more than $12 million from consumers.” Under the settlement, the debt relief service companies are “permanently banned from conducting outbound telemarketing and selling or advertising any debt relief product or service,” and the payment processors are “permanently banned from the payment processing industry,” among other remedies, according to the news release.

© Copyright 2017 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

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About this Author

Clark Kent Ervin government investigations partner Squire Patton Boggs law firm attorney
Partner

Clark K. Ervin is a member of the Litigation Practice, helping clients under investigation, or facing the prospect of investigation, by federal Offices of Inspector General, to craft, coordinate and implement strategic defenses. An integral member of the firm’s Defense Policy Practice, as well as its International Policy Practice, Clark also provides invaluable counsel to clients on issues of national security and foreign policy.

Having served as Inspector General of three federal agencies during the administration of President George W. Bush,...

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Benjamin D. Tarbell, Squire Paton, Government Enforcement Lawyer,
Attorney

Benjamin Tarbell draws on his experience in regulatory policy to assist clients in the technology and communications sectors, specializing in matters before government agencies including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

While attending law school, Ben clerked full-time for Commissioner Ajit Pai of the FCC. In that role, he worked alongside the Commissioner’s advisors to draft statements, speeches and agency publications, and advise the Commissioner on FCC issues including the Broadcast Incentive Auction, media ownership, market competition and mergers, AM Radio spectrum allocation and licensing, program access, program carriage, public safety and Next-Generation 911, Connect America funding, Universal Service Fund compliance, the TCPA and Title II forbearance.

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