Maria Colsey Heard

Member

Washington, D.C.

(202) 471-3419

(202) 861-1905

Maria has represented clients being sued or investigated by state attorneys general (AGs), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other government entities for more than 25 years. She understands the procedural, substantive, and reputational complexities unique to government investigations, and helps her clients navigate the terrain and preserve their rights.

A significant portion of Maria’s practice centers on issues relating to product or service marketing, customer service, labeling, and other consumer protection issues; hazardous waste, electronic waste, and other environmental issues; data privacy and security; consumer privacy and data breaches; business licensing and regulation; and unclaimed property. She represents clients in a wide variety of industry sectors, including pharmaceuticals, nutrition/dietary supplements, data management, consumer debt, consumer lending, telecommunications, hospitality, automotive, retail, grocery, security, and real estate. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, local businesses, charities, nonprofit organizations, and trade associations.

Whether guiding a client through the unique pre-litigation investigations that state AGs can conduct (including negotiating the governments’ requests for business documents and interviews), handling government litigation, or anything in between, Maria seeks creative solutions to mitigate her clients’ risk and reach a favorable resolution. She also has crafted legislative and other public policy solutions to legal challenges.

Maria’s other focus is on class action settlements. She has negotiated settlements of product liability claims and developed the administrative framework for national settlement programs. Maria also has defended class settlements against attacks on appeal and collaterally.

Maria works in close partnership with her clients, building relationships with key personnel to develop a granular understanding of the client’s business, challenges, and goals so that she can craft a tailored strategy, both to resolve the immediate matter at hand and help pave the way forward. Her goal is to address regulator interest arising from customer complaints and resolve government inquiries while allowing clients’ businesses to continue operating with as little interruption as possible.

Experience

News

Cozen O’Connor Launches New State Attorneys General Practice with Addition of Nationally Acclaimed State AG Practice

May 05, 2015

On the heels of its recent announcement of the addition of 60 lawyers in Chicago, Cozen O’Connor is proud to announce the addition of ten attorneys and government professionals and the formation of the firm’s State Attorneys General Practice.

Publications

November 13, 2018 Deadline Approaching for Comments on IRS Rules Relating to Reporting and Tax Deductions of State AG Settlements [The State AG Report Blog]

October 25, 2018

The process of ironing out settlements of state attorney general (“AG”) investigations and litigations is likely to get more complicated.  The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Act”), among the many other things it did, amended a key provision of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), 26 U.S.C. § 162, which...

AG Consumer Protection Staff Meet for Semi-Annual Seminar: Financial Technology, Consumer Lending, and Settlement Annuities in Focus [The State AG Report Blog]

October 06, 2016

This week, consumer protection staff from State Attorneys General Offices across the country met at the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Consumer Protection Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona.  This semi-annual meeting is one of the key opportunities during the year for AG staff to convene,...

Businesses Have the Mic at the NAAG Consumer Protection Seminar [The State AG Report Blog]

May 24, 2016

Consumer protection staff from State Attorney General offices around the country are in Washington, D.C., this week to attend the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) 2016 Spring Consumer Protection Seminar. This twice-a-year seminar provides government officials and staff an opportunity...

Be Prepared When a State Attorney General Calls [Natural Products Insider]

January 06, 2016

Lori Kalani and Maria Colsey Heard discuss AG investigations in, "Be Prepared When a State Attorney General Calls."

The State AG Report Weekly Update December 17, 2015 [The State AG Report Blog]

December 17, 2015

Consumer Protection Maryland Attorney General Intervenes in Structured Settlement Transfer Cases Maryland AG Brian Frosh filed motions to intervene in a number of cases to prevent allegedly unregistered out-of-state companies from purchasing structured settlements. These actions by AG Frosh are...

The State AG Report Weekly Update November 12, 2015 [The State AG Report Blog]

November 12, 2015

Antitrust FTC Challenges Proposed Acquisition Approved Previously by West Virginia Attorney General The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued an administrative complaint challenging the proposed acquisition of St. Mary’s Medical Center, Inc., by Cabell Huntington Hospital, Inc., after West...

The State AG Report Weekly Update September 10, 2015 [The State AG Report Blog]

September 10, 2015

Charities Michigan Attorney General Sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Charitable Organization for Alleged Violations of State Charities Law Michigan AG Bill Schuette ordered Childhood Leukemia Inc. (“CLF”) to cease and desist unsolicited phone calls to Michigan residents and issued a Notice of...

The State AG Report Weekly Update August 27, 2015 [The State AG Report Blog]

August 27, 2015

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB and NYDFS Sue Pension Advance Companies for Allegedly Abusive Business Practices The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) filed a lawsuit against Pension Funding, LLC, Pension Income,...

Health-Conscious Food Label Claims: The “Natural” Frontier for State AGs? [The State AG Report Blog]

July 23, 2015

Consumer interest in eating healthy has grown.  Organic food sales have risen rapidly over the last decade, jumping from just over $10 billion in sales in 2004 to $32 billion in 2014.  This boom in sales has led to some of the nation’s biggest food companies acquiring small organic food companies...

The State AG Report Weekly Update July 9, 2015 [The State AG Report Blog]

July 09, 2015

Antitrust Seventeen Attorneys General and the FTC Approve Merger of Discount Retailers Seventeen AGs and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved the $9.2 billion acquisition of Family Dollar Stores, Inc. by Dollar Tree, Inc. after initially raising concerns that the merger of the two...

The State AG Report Weekly Update May 28, 2015 [The State AG Report Blog]

May 28, 2015

Consumer Protection 22 Attorneys General Settle With Social Networking Site and Online Florist for Allegedly Engaging in Unfair and Deceptive Practices. 22 Attorneys General, led by Kansas AG Derek Schmidt and Maryland AG Brian Frosh, reached a settlement with social networking site Classmates,...

2017 Guide to State Attorneys General [Map]

May 05, 2015

The guide includes information on attorney generals in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth, and Territories of the United States, including a photos, year first elected or appointed, political party affiliation, leadership positions and brief background summaries.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Will You Be Ready If An AG Calls?

December 07, 2015 - Washington, D.C.

Education

  • The George Washington University, J.D., with honors, 1993
  • La Salle University, B.A., maxima cum laude, 1990
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania