$1 Million Labor Law Citations | Ad Agency Sued Over Opioids | Fake Subscription Renewal Notices

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'Connor

Opioid Fallout: Ad Agency Sued for Allegedly Helping Purdue Deceptively Market OxyContin

  • Massachusetts AG Maura Healey sued healthcare marketing company Publicis Health, LLC (“Publicis”) under a theory of public nuisance and for violations of Massachusetts’s consumer protection law over Publicis’s alleged role in designing and deploying deceptive marketing campaigns to promote opioid drugs produced by Purdue Pharma Inc. (“Purdue”), including OxyContin.
  • The complaint alleges that, among other things, during Publicis’s decade-long work for Purdue, Publicis engaged in multiple unfair and deceptive practices designed to encourage healthcare professionals to prescribe Purdue’s opioids, including designing materials to address prescribers’ hesitancy, launching email campaigns with messaging designed to move patients from other opioids to OxyContin and to increase dosage and duration of prescribed OxyContin, and developing messaging to counter the CDC’s 2016 guidelines for prescribing opioids in order to maintain OxyContin prescribing levels.
  • The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, disgorgement, restitution, civil money penalties, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs, among other things.

AG Races Grow Clearer in Georgia, Virginia

  • Incumbent Georgia AG, Republican Chris Carr, announced his bid for reelection to the AG’s office, seeking his second election win after being appointed to the AG’s office in 2016 and winning the office in 2018. As previously reported, two candidates have already entered the race for the Democratic nomination, including private-practice attorney Charlie Bailey, who AG Carr defeated in the 2018 election.
  • Virginia State Delegate Jason Miyares won the 2021 Republican nomination for AG against three other candidates in the Virginia Republican convention. As previously reported, he will face the winner of the Democratic nomination, which includes incumbent AG Mark Herring and Norfolk, Virginia, Delegate Jay Jones.
  • To “meet” the state AGs across the nation and read more AG election news and insights, visit The State AG Report.Alleged Illegal Labor Practices Cost Grocery Stores $1 Million in Restitution and Penalties

Alleged Illegal Labor Practices Cost Grocery Stores $1 Million in Restitution and Penalties

  • Massachusetts AG Maura Healey cited three C-Mart grocery stores and their owners for alleged wage theft and other labor violations affecting over 150 employees.
  • According to the AG’s office, an investigation revealed that C-Mart employees were denied paid sick leave, overtime, and premium pay for work on Sundays. In addition, C-Mart and its owners failed to produce timekeeping records that are required by law.
  • The AG’s office issued 15 citations totaling nearly $1 million in restitution and penalties.

State AGs Seek Federal Funding for Antitrust Enforcement

  • The National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) sent a letter to Congress signed by a bipartisan group of 45 AGs calling on legislators to provide funding to support state antitrust enforcement efforts.
  • The letter notes that state AGs play a crucial role in enforcing state and federal antitrust laws, often working closely with federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice. The letter also notes that the growing national economy has resulted in a greater number of complex and resource-intensive antitrust enforcement actions, which require additional staffing and financing.
  • The letter asks Congress to provide the funding needed to enhance state antitrust capabilities, as Congress has done previously through, for example, the Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Cryptocurrency Platform Hit with Motion for TRO, Preliminary Injunction, and Receiver Appointment

  • New York AG Letitia James moved to stop cryptocurrency trading platform Coinseed, Inc. (“Coinseed”) from allegedly executing unauthorized trades and acting as an unregistered commodity broker-dealer.
  • As previously reported, in February 2021 AG James sued Coinseed over allegations that it operated illegally and defrauded investors in violation of New York’s Martin Act by raising funds in an unregistered securities offering and deceiving investors with false claims about its staff’s expertise and experience.
  • The motion seeks a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, and the appointment of a receiver to safeguard investors’ funds.

Deceptive Mailers Allegedly Used to Lure Customers into Overpriced Magazine Subscriptions

  • Colorado AG Phil Weiser and Wyoming AG Bridget Hill reached a settlement with marketing companies Atlantic Publishers Group, LLC and Publishers Partnership Services, LLC, and related individuals and entities (collectively “Defendants”) to resolve allegations that Defendants used deceptive practices to sell overpriced magazine subscriptions.
  • The Colorado complaint alleged that Defendants targeted consumers with deceptive mailers designed to look like renewal notices for consumers’ existing subscriptions. In reality, consumers who responded to these mailers bought new overpriced subscriptions and did not extend their existing subscriptions.
  • According to the Colorado AG’s office, under the terms of the settlement, Defendants will pay $500,000 to each AG’s office. Defendants will also be banned from operating magazine subscription businesses in Colorado and Wyoming and from sending deceptive mailers to consumers in these two states.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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