State Attorney General

heartbeatAs we have written before, mobile apps geared toward health and fitness have become increasingly popular—and an increasingly popular target for regulators. This makes sense. Health and fitness apps can pose a serious risk if consumers rely on them for personal health information that turns out to be inaccurate or misleading. And the risk goes both ways—an app can provide false reassurance that you’re perfectly healthy when you should really be seeing a doctor, or it can prompt you to seek unnecessary medical attention for a medical issue that’s not an issue at all.

It perhaps comes as little surprise, then, that an app that claims to accurately measure your heart rate—a pretty important indicator of health, you could say—would draw the scrutiny of a State AG.

The New York Attorney General in late March announced settlements with three mobile health app developers that allegedly made misleading and deceptive claims about their apps’ ability to accurately measure heart rates and monitor and play fetal heartbeats. Notably, the settlements also included allegations that the developers maintained inadequate privacy policies that failed to inform consumers about the scope of the developers’ data collection and storage practices. These settlements brought to a close the New York AG’s yearlong investigation into the app developers.

Continue Reading NY AG Doesn’t Miss a Beat, Settles Three Cases with Mobile Health App Developers

busLegal history is replete with stories of persons or companies turning a manageable legal problem into a more serious one by trying to hide or destroy evidence, see Watergate and Arthur Anderson/Enron for two notable examples. A recent case involving a bus company executive provides a good case study in what not to do when facing a government investigation and the consequences of trying to hide or destroy evidence in an investigation.

Ralph Groen worked as a VP for Information Technology for Coach USA, a tour bus company. Beginning in 2009, the NY AG and the US DOJ began investigating Coach USA and another company forming a joint venture to corner the tour bus market in New York City and thereby drive up prices. The DOJ and NY AG sued the companies in 2012 and the companies settled in 2015 by agreeing to pay $7.5 million and breaking up much of the joint venture.

Continue Reading When the Cover Up Is Worse Than the Crime