State Attorneys General Investigations

State attorneys general (AGs) are taking a visible role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Asserting their positions as the chief legal officers of their respective states, AGs are making it clear that deceiving and defrauding consumers will not be tolerated, and they are taking enforcement action, including litigation, against those whose conduct they deem unscrupulous.

From the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, our team has been tracking state AG developments, following their official communications, engaging with key contacts in AG offices, and advising clients on key issues and concerns. We maintain a state-by-state chart that tracks price gouging actions and publish client alerts on COVID-19 issues relevant to companies operating in a myriad of industries. Specific risk areas include:

  • Price Gouging. State AGs are targeting retailers and suppliers to protect consumers from price gouging on products and services in high demand due to COVID-19. They also are working with online platforms for third-party sellers to combat price gouging.
  • Reimbursement Disputes. Mass cancellations of live events have left consumers unable to use memberships, subscriptions, and season passes. Many state AGs are seeking to protect consumers from a diminution, interruption, or cancellation of ongoing contracts.
  • False Advertising. State AGs are sounding the alarm over claims that products or services either prevent or cure COVID-19.
  • Charities and Cause Marketing. State AGs are issuing consumer warnings regarding fake charities raising money for phony COVID-19 victims.

Current State Attorneys General COVID-19 Representative Matters Include:

  • Assisting a major theme park operator in risk analysis and design of communications and sales and marketing policies for reopening domestic attractions under capacity limitations.
  • Advising multiple publicly traded companies on potential liability under national anti-price gouging statutes.
  • Advising a major consumer-facing company regarding the applicability of pricing controls triggered by California governor's coronavirus-related declaration of a state of emergency.
  • Advising companies on how to respond to supply side pricing increases
  • Assisting a trade association with proposed draft language for executive orders on organized retail theft and COVID-19 price gouging.