It is no surprise to any NYC resident that Time Warner's claim of "blazing fast" internet service is, well, not exactly true. In an investigation of Time Warner led by Columbia Professor and long time friend of the Columbia AG Program Tim Wu, it appears that Time Warner and Charter had best make some improvements, or this case matter just might expand into a multistate review. And speaking of Tim, you just have to see his experience explaining net neutrality on a roller coaster with Stephen Colbert.
Calling it "exploitation in its worst form," the Md AG has sued Access Funding for its marketing of their purchasing lead paint settlements from low income families and then selling the downstream revenue stream. The AG is seeking to return $17 million to over 70 Maryland consumers and is receiving editorial support. The case is the result of a seven-month investigation. A spokesperson for the National Association of Settlement Purchasers called Maryland an "isolated place" and that the Maryland facts were unique. My guess is that other attorneys general will be carefully monitoring the practices of this growing industry.
An increasing number of attorneys general are gearing up to fight "notario fraud," a long-standing practice whereby scam artists illegally market themselves as being able to assist families with immigration issues. Attorneys general offices are being assisted in that effort by the Federal Trade Commission and the Diverse Communities Initiative at Columbia Law School as they focus their efforts on vulnerable diverse communities.
The NY AG has sued a health insurer for denying coverage to insured who have Hepititus C. His office then settled with seven other insurers on the same issue. The insurers say thatcoverage only kicks in when symptoms become advanced, but the AG (and private suits) say that that thisrestriction does not appear in the text of the coverage documents. I want to make two points. The first is that the tension between insurers and insured remains high, and the second is that in some states the AG is able to play a role either in litigation or in how that AG "represents" its client, the Department of Insurance all of whom have created complex regulations designed to keep these questions out of the courts. For those who follow the world of attorneys general, this is one to watch.
Although much is written about State v. Federal government acrimony, the day-to-day world of governing is often markedby repeated success. Today the Federal Trade Commission gave its fourth "Partner Award" to the NY AG Buffalo Regional Office in their joint efforts to crack down on illegal debt collection practices. Previously, the FTC had given "Partner Awards" to the AG Offices of Colorado and Florida.
Attorneys general have been investigating, suing and settling with for-profit schools for the last several years. Working with a plethora of federal agencies, the AG's have reached a number of sweeping settlements that have brought some relief to students whom the AG's and federal agenices asserted had been the victims of fraud. Until now, none of those investigations had actually gone to trial which is what makes Minnesota AG Lori Swanson's case against Globe University so interesting. This bench trial is expected to last four weeks.