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New York, D.C., Texas: State Attorneys General February 6 Update

Litigation

New York AG Eric Schneiderman has brought a lawsuit against Charter Communications Inc. and its subsidiary, Spectrum Management Holdings, LLC (f/k/a Time Warner Cable, Inc. or “TWC”) (together, “Spectrum-TWC”) for “allegedly conducting a deliberate scheme to defraud and mislead New Yorkers by promising internet service that they knew they could not deliver,” according to a February 2 press release from the New York AG. The New York AG notes in the press release that Spectrum-TWC is “the largest supplier of internet service in the state.” The New York AG’s complaint alleges that since January 2012, Spectrum-TWC’s marketing ”promised subscribers” a “‘fast, reliable connection’ to the internet,” however Spectrum-TWC subscribers “were getting dramatically short-changed on both speed and reliability,” according to the press release. For example, subscribers’ wired internet speeds for Spectrum-TWC’s “premium plan . . . were up to 70 percent slower than promised; WiFI speeds were even slower, with some subscribers getting speeds that were more than 80 percent slower than what they had paid for,” according to the press release. The New York AG’s 16-month investigation also found that “Spectrum-TWC executives knew that the company’s hardware and network were incapable of achieving the speeds promised to subscribers, but nevertheless continued to make false representations about speed and reliability” and “repeatedly declined to make capital investments necessary to improve its network or provide subscribers with the necessary hardware,” per the press release. The suit is seeking “damages and restitution” as well as “appropriate injunctive and equitable relief,” according to the press release.

Attorneys General from 49 states and the District of Columbia have entered into a multistate settlement with The Western Union Company for “failing to protect consumers [who used Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties] from scams,” according to a press release from Colorado AG Cynthia Coffman. The settlement requires Western Union to implement a “comprehensive fraud detection program designed to prevent incidents where consumers use Western Union to wire money to scam artists,” according to the Colorado AG’s press release. In addition to the settlement with the states, Western Union “also settled claims related to fraud-induced transfers” with the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, which was announced January 19, and in which Western Union “agreed to pay $586M . . . to provide refunds to victims of fraud induced wire transfers nationwide,” according to the Colorado AG.

Advocacy

Attorneys General from 16 states and D.C. have issued a joint statement “condemn[ing] President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order” on immigration. The AGs state that they will “work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, . . . and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.” The AGs “applaud[ed]” the decisions of federal courts ordering a stay of the “Administration’s dangerous Executive Order,” and stated that they would “use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order.”

In a statement released January 31, Texas AG Ken Paxton said that President Trump “has made an outstanding selection in nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch for the United States Supreme Court,” and that there is “no other candidate in America who embodies the legal intellect and judicial temperament of the late Antonin Scalia more than Judge Gorsuch.” President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, who currently serves on the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, to the Supreme Court on January 31 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. AG Paxton stated that Judge Gorsuch’s “judicial track record while serving on the 10th Circuit for over a decade is a testament to his conservative philosophy, particularly in the areas of excessive federal overreach and the protection of religious liberty.”

© Copyright 2019 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

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About this Author

Clark Kent Ervin government investigations partner Squire Patton Boggs Lawyer
Partner

As a member of the Government Investigations & White Collar Practice Group, Clark K. Ervin helps 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 Homeland Security, Defense and Technology Transfer team, as well as our International Policy Practice, Clark also provides invaluable counsel to clients, both corporations and foreign sovereigns, on issues of national security and foreign policy.

Having served as Inspector General of...

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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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