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Saturday, May 6, 2023
Mana Moriarty to head Office of Consumer Protection
By News Release @ 5:03 AM :: 2708 Views :: Hawaii State Government

MANA MORIARTY NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION

News Release from DCCA, May 4, 2023

HONOLULU – Hawai‘i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Director Nadine Y. Ando has named Mana Moriarty as executive director of the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP). The Executive Director of OCP is the consumer counsel for the State of Hawai‘i and represents and protects the state, the counties, and the public as consumers.

The Office of Consumer Protection, together with the Department of the Attorney General, investigates and brings lawsuits to enforce Hawai‘i’s consumer protection laws. The office also educates consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities, works with government agencies to protect and promote the interests of consumers, and recommends new laws and amendments to the Governor and the Hawai‘i State Legislature. OCP also operates the state’s Landlord-Tenant Information Center.

Moriarty joins OCP from the Department of the Attorney General, where he represented Hawai‘i  in lawsuits against opioids distributors and manufacturers, e‑cigarette companies, and the federal government. Moriarty also represented the state in legal proceedings against car manufacturers, student loan servicers, and post-secondary educational institutions.

“Protecting consumers and bringing businesses into compliance with consumer protection laws will ensure commerce is conducted honestly and transparently,” said Moriarty. “Consistent with past practice, the Office of Consumer Protection will continue to take enforcement actions when consumer protection laws have been violated.”

In recent years, OCP has obtained landmark settlements with multinational and domestic companies accused of violating consumer protection laws.

In November 2022, OCP participated in a multistate settlement of consumer protection and privacy claims against Google involving the payment of $391.5 million and terms that required the tech giant to change its location tracking practices. Hawai‘i will recover more than $4.7 million as part of the settlement.

In July 2022, OCP, the Federal Trade Commission, and 17 states reached an agreement with national jewelry retailer Harris Jewelry that requires the company to provide refunds to more than 46,000 eligible servicemembers nationwide, including 919 current and former servicemembers stationed in Hawai‘i.

In May 2022, OCP with the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, settled with the owner of TurboTax, Intuit Inc., for deceiving millions of low-income Americans into paying for tax services. Up to 15,904 Hawaii consumers who paid for services which should have been free will receive checks in the mail.  The money available to Hawaii consumers is more than $481,135.

In May 2016, Hawai‘i, through the Office of Consumer Protection, was the first state to sue Takata and Honda for causing millions of cars to be sold with the dangerous and defective airbags that later recalled. In May 2017, the state filed a second lawsuit against three more automakers – Toyota, Nissan, and Ford – regarding the same misconduct. Hawai‘i received $3 million in settlement to date from the suits. 

In February 2023, the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law awarded OCP funding for a summer law intern sponsored by the Janet D. Steiger Fellowship Project. The project introduces law students to a career in public service through paid eight-week summer programs in state consumer protection offices throughout the country. Each internship comes with a $6,000 stipend to pay the student over the eight-week program and assistance with housing and travel expenses.

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