Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Arkansas Funeral CareTue, Aug 8, 2017
Former owners can never operate in the funeral care business and must pay restitution to consumers
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached settlement against Arkansas Funeral Care and its owners for failing to provide funeral-care services in a timely, professional and respectful manner, and in some cases did not provide the services at all.
“Our loved ones deserve to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Regrettably, Arkansas Funeral Care ignored this responsibility and egregiously violated the trust of Arkansans. This settlement prevents the former owners from operating in the funeral care business and provides for restitution payments to consumers.”
The Attorney General’s office received numerous complaints from affected families in which Arkansas Funeral Care did not perform various agreed-upon funeral-care services, including: failure to provide cremation services, nauseating odor of bodies that were left unrefrigerated without being embalmed, failure to provide adequate staff to transport bodies and untimely receipt of death certificates.
Arkansans reported delays in embalming that caused extreme levels of decomposition to the bodies, resulting in some not having the ability to hold an open-casket service and one person reported that the cremation of her husband, a veteran, was delayed over three weeks and was not available for his memorial service.
Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Arkansas Funeral Care in January 2016 and stated that Arkansans entered into written contracts for chosen funeral goods and services with Arkansas Funeral Care based on advertised representations on their website, as well as other oral representations made during the sales process. The contracts detailed the costs of the funeral goods and services to be rendered at the time of need.
Under the terms of today’s settlement agreement, Arkansas Funeral Care will provide restitution to outstanding consumer complainants to whom the business provided services between Aug. 1, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2015 who have not yet received compensation. Arkansas Funeral Care has paid restitution to some consumers through the order of the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Board and in several private suits. Through the settlement negotiation process, the State was able to determine which of its complainants paid for funeral care services during the agreed-upon window of time, and Defendants agreed to provide restitution to those consumers. Consumers who purchased funeral insurance should be reminded that the insurance is portable and need not be used at the funeral establishment where it was purchased.
In addition, the owners of Arkansas Funeral Care are permanently restrained from personally, or as part of any business entity, operating in the funeral care business in the State, and the former owners may not hold any license governed by the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. The former owners are also responsible for $10,000 in civil penalties to the State of Arkansas.
Rutledge Urges Trump Administration to Conduct Cost-Benefit Analysis of CFPB RulesMon, Aug 7, 2017
Says, CFPB rules have ‘pre-empted state law and made it harder for business owners to grow jobs’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has written to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney urging him to direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of all recent and pending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules.
“Many of the rules and regulations that have been promulgated by the CFPB since its creation have pre-empted state law and made it harder for business owners to grow jobs,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The OMB should ensure that regulations are consistent with applicable law, properly consider and balance the costs and benefits and minimize the unnecessary burdens. I urge Director Mulvaney to conduct this review as soon as possible.”
Rutledge, who met with CFPB Director Richard Cordray in Little Rock last summer, has previously expressed concern with the CFPB’s new federal standards for – and limitations on – credit lines, installment loans, deposit advances, automobile-title secured loans and payday loans, as well as the Bureau’s Arbitration rule. In March, Rutledge filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit arguing that the CFPB is unconstitutional and that Director Cordray should be subject to political appointment.
In the letter to Director Mulvaney, Rutledge notes that a 1993 executive order requires that “significant regulatory actions” be submitted for review to OIRA for an analysis on the cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment. “Significant actions” include an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, interference with an action or planned action of another agency, materially altering the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants user fees or other loan programs or raising legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates.
Led by the South Carolina Attorney General, Rutledge is joined on the letter by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Attorneys General Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Microsoft CaseWed, Aug 2, 2017
Says, ‘this loophole cannot stand’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a large bipartisan coalition in submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the justices to decide whether email service providers can shield evidence of a crime from law enforcement by storing data outside the United States.
In United States v. Microsoft, a federal judge issued a search warrant under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), authorizing the search of a specific Microsoft Outlook email account. The judge found probable cause to believe the account was being used to traffic narcotics in the United States. An email provider who receives a warrant under the SCA for evidence of a crime must disclose the requested data to the law enforcement agency.
Microsoft argued that compliance with the warrant was not required because that data was stored on a server in Ireland. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with Microsoft and quashed the warrant.
“It is important for law enforcement officers to have access to pertinent information they need to properly and thoroughly conduct investigations,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Technology becomes a bigger part of our lives each day and this loophole cannot stand. The U.S. Supreme Court should clarify this rule.”
The coalition argued that email providers around the country are relying on this decision to refuse compliance with warrants issued under the SCA and similar state laws. The brief argues that the Supreme Court’s review “is necessary to address the Second Circuit’s remarkable conclusion that a private company has unfettered discretion to shield evidence of crime from law enforcement, simply by electronically sending that evidence out of the jurisdiction.”
Rutledge has been joined in filing the brief, led by Vermont, by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Jacksonville Woman for Medicaid FraudMon, Jul 31, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Pulaski County woman.
Kethmany Anderson, 44, of Jacksonville, was arrested and is being held from the Pulaski County Jail. She is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony. She is accused of billing for services not rendered, totaling $447.12 in October 2015.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or email@example.com.
Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for AugustFri, Jul 28, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for August.
Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative during her first year in office to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. In both 2015 and 2016, office hours were held in all 75 counties assisting nearly 1,300 Arkansans.
The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents. Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
Rutledge continues her partnership that began in 2016 with local law enforcement across the State to offer prescription drug take back boxes. Law enforcement will be at all mobile offices to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Tuesday, August 1
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Pocahontas Community Center
200 Geneva Drive
Pocahontas, AR 72455
Tuesday, August 8
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Van Buren Senior Activity Center
607 Knox St.
Van Buren, AR 72956
Tuesday, August 15
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Mid-Delta Clarendon Community Center
553 North 7th St.
Clarendon, AR 72029
Little River County
Thursday, August 24
10:30 a.m. – noon
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas – Barbara Horn Civic Center
1411 N. Constitution Ave.
Ashdown, AR 71822
Tuesday, August 29
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Mountain View Senior Center
210 School Ave.
Mountain View, AR 72560
Thursday, August 31
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Marion Chamber of Commerce
13 E. Military Road
Marion, AR 72364
Rutledge Prevails at the 8th Circuit in Defense of State Law to Protect WomenFri, Jul 28, 2017
Law requiring that medication abortion providers contract with a doctor who agrees to handle emergencies and complications will take effect soon
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit vacating a U.S. District Court’s decision enjoining and blocking an Arkansas law requiring that medication abortion providers contract with a doctor who agrees to handle emergencies and complications associated with abortion inducing drugs.
“In a unanimous opinion, the 8th Circuit recognized that the lower court incorrectly analyzed the law,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The injunction was vacated because Planned Parenthood failed to show that the state law is a substantial obstacle, preventing most women from having access to abortion services. This common sense law will help ensure that medication abortions are conducted in a safe, responsible manner and with appropriate protections for women. While the Court did not reach a final decision on the ultimate merits, today’s decision is an important notice to the lower court that this law has important benefits for patients. I will continue to defend Act 577 as Planned Parenthood continues its challenge.”