Squire Patton Boggs’ State Attorneys General Practice Group is comprised of lawyers who have served at senior levels in state AG offices around the country and whose practices focus, to one degree or another, on representing clients before these increasingly assertive and powerful, yet often overlooked, government agencies, as explained in detail here.
In these updates, we will call attention to the most noteworthy state AG news or developments emerging in the previous week.
Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum has announced a $545,000 settlement with “the nutritional supplement chain Vitamin Shoppe Inc.” to resolve “allegations that Vitamin Shoppe sold products with unsafe or unlawful ingredients,” according to an Oregon AG media release. Specifically, Oregon alleged that Vitamin Shoppe sold products containing “DMAA, an amphetamine like ingredient, even after the [US Food and Drug Administration] determined the ingredient was unsafe or illegal,” and “picamilon, an unlawful dietary ingredient sold in other countries as a drug to treat psychiatric disorders,” according to the media release. The media release also states that under the terms of the settlement, Vitamin Shoppe “is prohibited from selling any dietary supplement after the [FDA] has issued written notice that the product contains an ingredient that is unlawful or unsafe,” and, further, if “the FDA, or any other governmental entity in the U.S., Britain, Canada, the European Union or Australia brings the safety or legality of a dietary supplement sold by Vitamin Shoppe into question, Vitamin Shoppe must conduct an independent investigation to confirm whether the product is safe.” Vitamin Shoppe will also pay $545,000 to the state of Oregon “to be used for consumer protection and other purposes,” according to the media release.
On March 14, Florida AG Pam Bondi introduced a resolution at a meeting of the Florida Governor and Cabinet to “recogniz[e] Uber’s efforts and initiatives to educate drivers to help prevent human trafficking,” according to a Florida AG news release. The resolution notes, for example, that in March 2016 Uber “became the first ride-sharing company to sign a pledge . . . to adopt business principles that will help prevent human trafficking,” and that Uber has been “proactive in taking steps to promote awareness and educate everyone who signs up to drive about this important issue.” In the resolution, the Florida Governor and Cabinet “commend [Uber] for their commitment to safety in the communities they serve and in doing their part to help put an end to human trafficking.”
A “coalition” of attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia, as well as Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, have issued a statement opposing President Trump’s action to “direct federal agencies to reconsider vehicle emission standards,” an action they say “represents a dramatic wrong turn in our nation’s efforts to fight air pollution from passenger cars and trucks, and protect the health of our children, seniors, and all communities,” according to a press release from New York AG Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the coalition. The press release notes that in 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “adopted emission standards limiting greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2017-25 and beyond.” On march 15, President Trump announced that his administration would “reopen a review of vehicle-emissions standards,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The New York-led state coalition says that they will “vigorously oppose attempts by the Trump Administration to weaken our vehicle emission policies and put our public health at risk,” according to AG Schneiderman’s press release. That press release also notes that AG Schneiderman intends to “file a motion to intervene in support of the current vehicle emission standards in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers filed suit against the standards” on March 13.