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AGO News Releases for 2011

 OLYMPIA -- The Washington Supreme Court today upheld a challenge to state water law, affirming the states’ position that groundwater used for stock-watering purposes is exempt from the requirement to apply for a water permit. 

 SEATTLE – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today regarding AT&T’s abandonment of its efforts to acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom.

OLYMPIA–The Attorney General’s Office today (AGO) settled a lawsuit against Moxie Media, its principals Lisa MacLean and Henry Underhill, and two political action committees (PAC) formed by MacLean and Underhill, Conservative PAC and Cut Taxes PAC.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna is celebrating the withdrawal of the “Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011” [H.R. 3035], which would have opened up mobile phones to robo-calls from businesses, whether consumers wanted to receive those calls or not.

OLYMPIA -- Many Washingtonians step up to help others in need, especially during the holiday season. To make the most of that generous spirit, Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna unveiled the 2011 Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report Thursday as a tool to help people give wisely and avoid greedy fundraising organizations when making donations.

State AGs say proposed federal law goes too far

OLYMPIA – Attorney General McKenna today joined 53 other attorneys general in asking Congress to oppose legislation targeting consumers’ telephone privacy. 

Shared Hope This news release was recently distributed by Shared Hope International.

OLYMPIA — Attorney General McKenna announced today that Washington state has joined with 42 other states and the federal government in reaching an agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (Merck) to settle civil and criminal allegations that Merck marketed Vioxx for unapproved uses.

November 23, 2011 > McKenna shares shopper survival tips

SEATTLE – “Black Friday” seems to arrive earlier every year, with turkey-and-stuffing-stuffed shoppers lining up on Thanksgiving eve. “Cyber Monday” follows, as Internet sales ramp up on Nov. 28. With this in mind, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna shared the following consumer tips for holiday shoppers, with a nod to Arizona AG Tom Horne.

SEATTLE – The owners of a Whatcom County car dealership will pay penalties and attorney’s fees to settle allegations by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office of deceptive sales and advertising practices. Not admitting any wrong-doing, the owners agreed to comply with the law.

State attorneys general raise questions about “binge-in-a-can” settlement

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, along with 33 other attorneys general and the San Francisco city attorney, filed comments today responding to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s proposed settlement with Phusion Projects, LLC regarding deceptive marketing of the flavored malt beverage "Four Loko" in super-sized cans.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood released a joint statement Wednesday applauding Congressional action to address online counterfeiting and piracy.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today regarding Gov. Gregoire’s naming of King County Superior Court Judge Steven González to the State Supreme Court.

OLYMPIA – The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law.

AGs say U.S. trading partners are stealing software -- and the jobs that go with it

OLYMPIA-- Foreign manufacturers are using stolen software to illegally slash costs and unfairly compete with American companies. Thirty-nine state and territorial attorneys general today asked federal authorities to use their existing powers to help strike back against such unfair competition, which costs U.S. jobs.

SEATTLE -- Attorney General Rob McKenna today reminded Washington residents that the federally mandated foreclosure review program is now underway, and eligible homeowners can expect an information letter from their mortgage lender to arrive in the mail soon.  

OLYMPIA – Eighty-two percent of young adult drivers (16-24) have read a text message while driving, according to a national survey conducted by the Ad Council. In an effort to educate young drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, other State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council are launching a new public service advertising campaign. The campaign includes TV, radio, outdoor and digital PSAs. New Facebook, Twitter and YouTube social media channels about the subject are also live today.

Urges homeowners to use non-profit, approved housing counselors instead

SEATTLE - Attorney General Rob McKenna today reminded homeowners needing assistance to avoid companies selling “foreclosure rescue,” “securitization audits” and other home loan modification schemes. 

 OLYMPIA – A Spokane County Jury on Oct. 21 found Melody Wright guilty of one count of First Degree Theft, and ten counts of Medicaid False Statements for obtaining Medicaid payments while not providing the contracted hours of service to her mother, a Medicaid recipient. As a result of her fraudulent billings, Wright received $13,092 to which she was not entitled.

 Joins multistate coalition urging FCC to ban unauthorized charges on telephone bills, write stronger regulations on phone and wireless services

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that Washington state has reached a settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer, Inc., concluding a government investigation into allegations that the company engaged in illegal off-label marketing schemes to promote the sales of its urology drug Detrol for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

A new Washington state law, protecting consumers from immigration-related fraud, went into effect Thursday, Oct. 20.   The recently enacted Immigration Services Fraud Prevention Act, requested by the Attorney General’s Office, prohibits anyone from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in an immigration matter, unless that person is a licensed attorney or is otherwise authorized to provide legal services under federal immigration law.
La ley estatal de Washington protege a los consumidores ante el fraude relacionado con los servicios de inmigración. La recientemente promulgada ley de Prevención de Fraude en Servicios de Inmigración (RCW 19.154) prohíbe a las personas que no tengan autorización del gobierno federal o que no sean abogados de aconsejar a las personas en un asunto de inmigración.  Esta nueva ley entra en vigor el 20 de octubre de 2011.

 OLYMPIA – A United States District Court judge ruled today that there is no reason to shield from public view petitions from a 2009 ballot measure on domestic partnerships.

META LINK

SEATTLE – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today warned consumers about a text-message trap to capture financial information and drain credit card and bank accounts. Such text message scams are called “smishing.”

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today reiterated his position on the 26-state lawsuit challenging the federal health care reform law passed in 2010.

McKenna says Americans deserve a timely answer on mandate to buy federally approved insurance

OLYMPIA – Today, the 26 states challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case in its upcoming term.

September 27, 2011 > Backpage.com responds to AGs

OLYMPIA - Today we’ve released the letter from online classified site Backpage.com responding to inquiries from most of the nation’s state attorneys general. We received the letter late Friday.

OLYMPIA - Deceptive advertisements will cost a Vancouver marketing company and its owner more than $128,000 in penalties and attorneys’ fees.

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that his office joined the Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit seeking to block a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. Washington state and six other states joined as plaintiffs an amended DOJ complaint, filed today in Washington DC, seeking to block the deal.

SHORELINE – Proving once again its commitment to helping Washington homeowners avoid foreclosure, the Attorney General’s Office today provided an additional $550,000 to provide free housing counseling to distressed homeowners.

OLYMPIA – In a 9-0 ruling, the Washington State Supreme Court denied the City of Seattle’s request to require Attorney General Rob McKenna to withdraw Washington from the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law passed in March 2010 and upheld the Attorney General’s authority to defend the public interest.

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Supreme Court today ruled 7-2 that Attorney General Rob McKenna must file an appeal as requested by the state Commissioner of Public Lands, despite the fact that an Okanogan Superior Court considered and ruled against the Commissioner’s position and despite the Office of the Attorney General’s judgment that the appeal was not in the legal interest of the state of Washington. In its ruling, the court pointed to a specific statute pertaining directly to the Commissioner’s authority to direct legal action.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and 45 other attorneys general today called for information about how Backpage.com presumably attempts to remove advertising for sex trafficking, especially ads that could involve minors.

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Rob McKenna today issued the following statement regarding the announcement that the US Department of Justice has filed suit to block the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T.

SEATTLE – Immigration law is one of the most complicated areas in the legal field. Missing a deadline or not properly researching applicable law prior to submitting an application can cause an immigrant to lose his or her legal status or even face deportation.

OLYMPIA – The Washington Attorney General’s Office says too many car ads violate consumer protection laws. The office announced eight settlements today that are part of its ongoing work to steer dealers toward fair business practices.

OLYMPIA – The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta today issued a 2-1 opinion, ruling the federal government may not force individuals to purchase government-approved health insurance in the private marketplace.

SEATTLE – Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that his office is suing ReconTrust Company, a subsidiary of Bank of America, for conducting illegal foreclosures on thousands of Washington homeowners.

SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington filed a new lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The suit is a major development in the state’s longstanding fight to ensure timely cleanup of 56 million gallons of nuclear waste stored in Hanford’s leaky underground tanks, and continuation of the process to license Yucca Mountain as a deep geologic disposal site.

McKenna unveils training materials to empower bank employees to protect vulnerable adults

BELLEVUE – It was a story that brought new attention to a growing problem: helpless seniors preyed upon by caregivers, friends, and relatives.

Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit gives updates on Lewis and Thurston County cases

OLYMPIA –  The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit  (MFCU) announced two new developments today. Robert Miller, formerly from Chehalis, was sentenced Wednesday to four months in jail for fraudulently taking nearly $30,000 from the state’s Medicaid program.  Last year state prosecutors charged Miller with First Degree Theft and Medicaid False Statement because he submitted forged documents and submitted bills for services that weren’t being provided. Miller has also fully repaid Medicaid.

SEATTLE – Programs to help Washington homeowners avoid foreclosure and improve the lives of mental health patients and those suffering from gastrointestinal diseases were recently awarded grants by the Attorney General’s Office.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today regarding the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejecting a request to stop the federal Department of Energy (DOE) from unilaterally terminating the Yucca Mountain development process

CHICAGO—Attorney General Rob McKenna announced his 2011-2012 presidential initiative to combat human trafficking nationwide at a June 23 launch event in Chicago following his installation as president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

 Also receives Kelley-Wyman award, AG association’s highest honor

CHICAGO – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna now leads the organization that combines the brain and fire-power of the states’ chief legal officers. McKenna became the president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) on Wednesday night, and simultaneously received the organization’s highest award.

SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced the state will receive more than $1 million from a consumer protection settlement with two drug companies accused of poor manufacturing practices.

 McKenna announces presidential initiative at June 23 kickoff event

CHICAGO — Attorney General Rob  McKenna will announce his 2011-2012 presidential initiative to combat human trafficking nationwide at a June 23 launch event in Chicago following his installation as president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

Latest cases involve epilepsy, hemophilia drugs promoted for “off-label” uses

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington joined the federal government and other states in reaching agreements with two drug manufacturers accused of improperly marketing medications.

SEATTLE – From sea to shining sea, scammers are preying on those pursuing the American dream. For those seeking the right to live in the United States, the path to citizenship can be blocked by bad legal advice or blatant fraud. Federal and state officials banded together today in Seattle to expose immigration services scams and direct immigrants to real help.

 OLYMPIA — The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta will hear oral arguments tomorrow in the multistate health care lawsuit suit filed last year. The suit now includes 26 plaintiff states, two individuals and the National Federation of Independent Business.

 Former Evergreen State College professor fined for conduct involving international study program

OLYMPIA – A former Evergreen State College professor has received the largest penalty ever imposed by the board that polices ethical lapses by state employees.

SPOKANE – The “State Record Retrieval Board” notice mailed to Washington residents last year directed them pay $87 to obtain a copy of their property deed, or face an $35 fee if they missed the tight deadline. At least 45 of the 5,000 Washington residents who received the notice dutifully sent checks. But the Washington Attorney General’s Office says they were misled – and are owed refunds.

OLYMPIA – Washington state mental health programs will receive a $1.57 million lift thanks to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division’s role in regulating unfair marketing practices by a global drug manufacturer.

SEATTLE – Consumers who purchased massage chairs, bath tubs and range hoods from a Bellevue-based company were left waiting … and waiting … for their simulated shiatsu, soaks and steam ventilation, said the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

GRAND MOUND – The White Swan Dream Makers come from a small town roughly 40 miles southwest of Yakima on the Yakama Reservation—a small town with big problems.

 OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that he joined 39 other Attorneys General in an agreement to eliminate underage tobacco sales at certain convenience stores.

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that Washington joined other states and the federal government to reach an agreement with pharmaceutical manufacturer EMD Serono, Inc.  The settlement resolves claims that the company paid illegal kickbacks to medical professionals in order to promote Rebif, a multiple sclerosis (MS) medication.

Law enforcement heroes recognized in Medal of Honor ceremony

OLYMPIA – Today, Washington State Attorney General McKenna honored four law-enforcement officers who made incredible sacrifices in the line of duty.

SEATTLE – It was a bad Hollywood ending. After Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery stores closed their doors, former customers throughout the nation began complaining of collection notices added to their credit files without any warning. Not only did customers balk at excessive fees and damaged credit scores, but many claimed they didn’t owe the money in the first place.

OLYMPIA – The Washington state Law Enforcement Medal of Honor/Peace Officers Memorial ceremony will be held in Olympia on Friday. 

KENNEWICK  – Storybook Lane, an online company previously sued by the Washington Attorney General’s Office, must once again refund consumers nationwide. The Kennewick-based company, which sells home décor for children’s bedrooms, violated the terms of a 2008 settlement by failing to deliver orders, issue refunds and respond to customer inquiries.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna warns that hanging on to unneeded pain pills and improperly disposing of prescriptions are fueling a surge in drug overdoses. This Saturday, McKenna joins the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Kennewick Police Captain Trevor White to encourage local residents to turn in their unused medications.

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office – a nationwide leader in enforcement actions against scareware purveyors – announced an agreement today with yet another collection of companies accused of using deceptive warnings and “free scans” to sell anti-spyware programs and registry cleaners.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna expressed gratitude to legislators today for supporting several of his 2011 legislative proposals.

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office cautions homeowners about paying to participate in a “mass joinder” lawsuit promising mortgage relief.

SEATTLE – Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna joined the attorneys general of 34 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, in objecting Tuesday to the settlement of a private, class-action lawsuit against DirectBuy, Inc., because it offers no real benefit to consumers.

SEATTLE – Six months into its investigation into unlawful business practices by foreclosure trustees, the Washington Attorney General’s Office announced that it has uncovered an additional widespread problem that jeopardizes homeowners’ chances of stopping a foreclosure.

SEATTLE  --  Across Washington, immigrants looking for the right to live and work legally in our state are unknowingly risking their futures. The Washington Attorney General’s Office announced 10 new settlements today with individuals accused of illegally practicing immigration law – a legal area so complicated that one wrong step can drastically delay citizenship or completely ruin a family’s chance to pursue the American dream.

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office is suing an online seller of stethoscopes for sales practices that caused consumers substantial heartache.

OLYMPIA – Today, 11th Circuit Chief Judge Joel Fredrick Dubina agreed to proceed with an expedited schedule for hearing the health care reform challenge that is before that court.  A three-judge panel will hear oral arguments on Wednesday, June 8, at 9:30 a.m. in Atlanta.

SEATTLE – You may be owed money if you paid a Washington-based company that sold search-engine optimization, shopping cart integration and Web design and hosting services. The Washington Attorney General’s Office says small businesses nationwide are potentially eligible for refunds as a result of a consumer protection settlement with a group of defendants who used multiple business names since 2005.

SEATTLE – Ads proclaiming, “Government Vehicle Disposal,” and “The Repo Joe Sale,” are designed to steer buyers to used car sales events  under the pretense they’re getting a special deal. But the Washington Attorney General’s Office says these promotions usually violate the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

SPOKANE – The Washington State Court of Appeals Division III today affirmed convicted rapist Kevin Coe’s civil commitment as a sexually violent predator.

Attorneys from both Washington state and Washington, DC, today urged a panel of judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to stop the federal Department of Energy (DOE) from unilaterally and irrevocably terminating the Yucca Mountain development process.

SEATTLE – Attorneys general announced today the largest multistate, consumer protection settlement with a pharmaceutical company in history. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP will pay a record $68.5 million to settle allegations of improper marketing of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel.

SEATTLE – In a sluggish economy when every dollar saved counts, the Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Centers are a valuable ally. Helping consumers and businesses resolve disputes, at no cost and without picking sides, the program’s volunteers and staff handled complaints from more than 22,000 people last year and helped recover $4.8 million those individuals said they were owed.

 Only open government bills, eminent domain bill sidelined so far

OLYMPIA – Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are again showing their support for Washington State Attorney General’s proposed legislation, enabling most of his proposals to advance beyond the Legislature’s first major cutoff date of the year.

SEATTLE – Thanks to the Attorney General’s Office, hundreds of cash-strapped Washington consumers who paid Freedom Debt Relief to work out a deal with their credit card providers will be feeling some relief. The California-based company agreed to pay up to nearly $800,000 in restitution to resolve allegations it violated Washington’s Consumer Protection and Debt Adjusting Acts.

Senior US Judge Roger Vinson today in Florida clarified that his January 31 ruling—which declared the federal health care reform act unconstitutional—did in fact order the federal government to cease implementation of the Act. He added he would grant a stay of that decision if the federal government filed a notice of appeal within seven days and agreed to seek expedited review.

OLYMPIA – The Washington Attorney General’s Office wrapped up its case with a company accused of hawking pricey service contracts through deceptive junk mail, illegal robocalls and misleading TV ads. The state’s settlement bans Credexx and its former owner, David J. Tabb, from doing business in Washington again.

A Pierce County jury today returned a unanimous verdict against a Pacific County man charged with shooting a Washington State Patrol trooper in the back of the head in February 2010.

It began with one patient exhibiting unusual symptoms in 2006. Doctors were puzzled. When dozens of similar cases began to appear, they got worried. But it wasn't until they found the common factor that the mystery was resolved — counterfeit cough syrup containing diethylene glycol, a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze.  

McKenna urges legislators to respond to a “public safety emergency”

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and Representative Charles Ross, R-Naches, today announced a new proposal to fund programs that prevent young people from joining gangs and offer ways for current gang members to find a way out.

Attorney General Rob McKenna will join Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound, Pierce County Crime Stoppers, local law enforcement and others at a news conference Monday morning to unveil a new effort to fight crimes against seniors.

The state budget received a little boost this week in the form of a $772,320.33 check thanks to a settlement between the Attorney General’s Office and Intelius last fall. 

Individual mandate unconstitutional

OLYMPIA — A Florida judge today ruled that Congress exceeded its Constitutional authority in approving a new health care mandate requiring all US citizens to have or purchase health insurance or face a fine. The ruling overturns the entire law.

SEATTLE – Despite warnings, many computer users unknowingly leave them themselves vulnerable to financial fraud or privacy invasions. In recognition of Data Privacy Day, Attorney General Rob McKenna today warned Washington residents to protect their personal information by checking the privacy settings on social Web sites and using secured networks.

SEATTLE – If you have a gift card for Anchor Blue, shop now. The clothing store chain is closing all of its stores and will honor gift cards, certificates and store credits as payment for purchases through Jan. 28.

SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna’s bill to help fight identity theft by increasing penalties for mail theft will be considered by a legislative committee this week.

OLYMPIA — Lawmakers are being blanketed with computer-generated e-mails that spread inaccuracies and misleading accusations about the Attorney General’s anti-gang bill, HB 1126. The ACLU of Washington’s e-mail campaign claims that the bill’s civil protection orders will “sweep up innocent people into court” and deny them an attorney.

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office joined the U.S. Department of Justice and other attorneys general in a settlement that permits the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, while requiring Comcast to make its programming available to competitors.

Washington residents are losing thousands of dollars to manipulative criminals claiming to be relatives in need of help.

The number of states represented in a multi-state challenge to provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could climb to 26. States today filed a motion requesting to add six additional states to the case: Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine.

OLYMPIA – The Legislature will hear public testimony on 11 bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna this week, 10 pertaining to open government and protection of private property. Monday, Jan. 17: Community Safety: Corrections Savings - Three strikes for frivolous lawsuits , 1:30 p.m., House

Businesses and consumers agree that saying “no” means “no.” But does not saying “no” – or simply remaining silent – qualify as a “yes?" Some marketers seem to think so. They’ve increasingly used deceptive tactics to charge consumers for products and services they never intended to buy and to collect consumers’ personal information, resulting in increased solicitations.

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General’s anti-gang bill will be considered by a key legislative committee on Wednesday. 

The state’s political parties lost another battle against Washington’s popular Top 2 primary today, a loss state officials hopes will put an end to years of litigation.  US District Court Judge John Coughenour of the Western District of Washington at Seattle today ruled the Top 2 primary as implemented in partisan elections “is constitutional because the ballot and accompanying information eliminate the possibility of widespread confusion among the reasonable, well-informed electorate.”

OLYMPIA – Five bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna are scheduled for public hearings this week.

OLYMPIA…Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that Facebook has agreed to improve its terms and conditions for state and local government agencies using the social media Web site. The new terms, facilitated through the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), resolve a series of legal issues that were caused by the site’s standard terms of service agreement.

SEATTLE – A software company whose self-proclaimed “performance-enhancing and PC maintenance” programs were purchased by more than 19,000 Washington residents must offer refunds to some of those consumers as part of a settlement announced today by the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

Bills to save money, foster open government and protect consumers receive bipartisan support

OLYMPIA – Legislators from both parties joined Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today to announce proposals to save money, protect the vulnerable and make government more accountable.

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