AG Letitia James secures millions of dollars for New Yorkers

In this Aug. 6, 2020 photo, New York State Attorney General Letitia James takes a question at a news conference in New York.
Associated Press /Kathy Willens, File

New York State Attorney General Letitia James along with a group of forty-two bipartisan attorneys general, recently negotiated and secured $700 million dollars from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for deceptively marketing and selling baby powder and body powder products that contained dangerous talcum powder. From the judgement, New York will receive $44 million.

The settlement is the latest action by Attorney General James to protect New York State consumers and hold companies accountable for misleading practices. In May 2024, Attorney General James, and a multistate coalition of 50 attorneys general secured more than $410 million from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wire for misleading millions of Americans with deceptive advertisements about “unlimited” data plans and “free” phones. In addition, a federal judge accepted a jury’s finding that Quincy Bioscience made fraudulent and deceptive statements about the supplement, Prevagen leading to a permanent injunction against the company’s deceptive advertising.

According to State Attorney General James these actions are cruel and does affect low-income communities most. “Targeting communities with cosmetic products that contain dangerous substances is not just illegal, it is very cruel,” she argued. “No amount of money can undo the pain caused by Johnson & Johnson’s talc-laced products, but today families can rest assured that the company is been held accountable for the harm it caused, and its dangerous products will no longer be on shelves in New York. Those that prey on our communities, hurt their health, and violate our laws will be met with the full force of the office,” James declared.

Records will show that in 2023 Attorney General James and the Federal Trade Commission undertook and secured $1.6 million of dollars from online apartments finders for defrauding consumers with false marketing of available rooms. The journey has been a long one the attorney general said, while fighting these frauds since 2019. She also filed an argument against Johnson & Johnson requiring them to do a multistate settlement to pay nearly $117 million for the deceptive marketing for a transvaginal surgical mesh device that endangers the health of women across New York and the rest of the nation.

In New York, this matter was overseen by Special Counsel Mary Alestra under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jane M. Azai of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.  The Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau is part of the Division of Economic Justice led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer  Levy.