A recent interview given to the Washington State Tri-City Herald highlights the increased focus of the Washington Attorney General’s office on consumer protection issues.
In the interview, Attorney General Bob Ferguson explained that his focus is to recover money for consumers who have been harmed. He told the paper that since he has taken office, the consumer protection section of the A.G.’s office has grown from eight lawyers to twenty-two (soon to be twenty-four), and the office is bringing in nearly twice the number of cases that it brought in just two years ago. According to Ferguson, “The reason for that is not because there are more bad actors out there – I think that is relatively constant. We simply have put more resources in it.”
The article highlighted two recent actions by the office. The first was the successful case against the makers of 5-Hour Energy, in which a Washington state court ordered nearly $4.3 million in penalties and attorneys’ fees and costs over claims that the makers of the product deceived consumers. (We previously covered this case here). The second is a pending case against Navient Corporation, the largest student loan servicer in the United States. (Our write-up on the suit filed by the Washington Attorney General’s office, together with the Illinois Attorney General and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, can be found here).
This interview highlights the continued emphasis on consumer issues by state attorneys general. These efforts are unlikely to wane in the near future.
Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor developments in this area.