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Senate File 2181

Partial Bill History

Bill Text

  1  1    Section 1.  Section 714.16, subsection 1, Code Supplement
  1  2 2001, is amended by adding the following new paragraphs:
  1  3    NEW PARAGRAPH.  aa.  "Agricultural merchandise" means
  1  4 merchandise sold to be used in the production of agricultural,
  1  5 horticultural, viticultural, and dairy products; livestock,
  1  6 wildlife, poultry, bees, fish, and products thereof; and any
  1  7 and all products raised or produced on farms.
  1  8    NEW PARAGRAPH.  ia.  "Nonprofit organization" means a
  1  9 charitable organization, a political organization, or a
  1 10 religious organization as defined in section 13C.1; a
  1 11 nonprofit corporation as defined in section 504A.2; a public
  1 12 or nonpublic school, college, or university; or a fraternal
  1 13 benefit society as defined in section 512B.3.
  1 14    NEW PARAGRAPH.  ib.  "Office supplies and services" means
  1 15 any goods, or services incident to the use of such goods,
  1 16 including but not limited to supplies and equipment and
  1 17 promotional advertising, to be used in the operation of any
  1 18 office, including but not limited to offices of any business,
  1 19 home business, or nonprofit organization, or of any farm, but
  1 20 shall not include goods or services purchased for the purpose
  1 21 of resale.
  1 22    Sec. 2.  Section 714.16, subsection 7, Code Supplement
  1 23 2001, is amended to read as follows:
  1 24    7.  a.  (1)  A Unless otherwise provided, a civil action
  1 25 pursuant to this section shall be by equitable proceedings.
  1 26 If it appears to the attorney general that a person has
  1 27 engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in a
  1 28 practice declared to be unlawful by this section, the attorney
  1 29 general may seek and obtain in an action in a district court a
  1 30 temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or
  1 31 permanent injunction prohibiting the person from continuing
  1 32 the practice or engaging in the practice or doing an act in
  1 33 furtherance of the practice.  The court may make orders or
  1 34 judgments as necessary to prevent the use or employment by a
  1 35 person of any prohibited practices, or which are necessary to
  2  1 restore to any person in interest any moneys or property, real
  2  2 or personal, which have been acquired by means of a practice
  2  3 declared to be unlawful by this section, including the
  2  4 appointment of a receiver in cases of substantial and willful
  2  5 violation of this section.  If a person has acquired moneys or
  2  6 property by any means declared to be unlawful by this section
  2  7 and if the cost of administering reimbursement outweighs the
  2  8 benefit to consumers or consumers entitled to the
  2  9 reimbursement cannot be located through reasonable efforts,
  2 10 the court may order disgorgement of moneys or property
  2 11 acquired by the person by awarding the moneys or property to
  2 12 the state to be used by the attorney general for the
  2 13 administration and implementation of this section.  Except in
  2 14 an action for the concealment, suppression, or omission of a
  2 15 material fact with intent that others rely upon it, it is not
  2 16 necessary in an action for reimbursement or an injunction, to
  2 17 allege or to prove reliance, damages, intent to deceive, or
  2 18 that the person who engaged in an unlawful act had knowledge
  2 19 of the falsity of the claim or ignorance of the truth.  A
  2 20 claim for reimbursement may be proved by any competent
  2 21 evidence, including evidence that would be appropriate in a
  2 22 class action.
  2 23    (2)  In addition to the remedies otherwise provided for in
  2 24 this subsection subparagraph (1), the attorney general may
  2 25 request and the court may impose a civil penalty not to exceed
  2 26 forty thousand dollars per violation against a person found by
  2 27 the court to have engaged in a method, act, or practice
  2 28 declared unlawful under this section; provided, however, a
  2 29 course of conduct shall not be considered to be separate and
  2 30 different violations merely because the conduct is repeated to
  2 31 more than one person.  In addition, on the motion of the
  2 32 attorney general or its own motion, the court may impose a
  2 33 civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars for each
  2 34 day of intentional violation of a temporary restraining order,
  2 35 preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction issued under
  3  1 authority of this section.  A penalty imposed pursuant to this
  3  2 subsection subparagraph is in addition to any penalty imposed
  3  3 pursuant to section 537.6113.  Civil penalties ordered
  3  4 pursuant to this subsection subparagraph shall be paid to the
  3  5 treasurer of state to be deposited in the general fund of the
  3  6 state.
  3  7    b.  (1)  Any person or nonprofit organization may bring an
  3  8 action at law to recover actual damages, if the person or
  3  9 nonprofit organization purchases, leases, or rents merchandise
  3 10 for personal, family, or household purposes, agricultural
  3 11 merchandise, office supplies or services, or a business
  3 12 opportunity as defined in section 523B.1, regardless of the
  3 13 dollar amount of initial investment; or is solicited for
  3 14 charitable contributions, and suffers the loss of any moneys
  3 15 or property, real or personal, as the result of a practice
  3 16 declared to be unlawful by this section or by another section,
  3 17 the violation of which is declared to violate this section.
  3 18 The court may order such equitable relief as it deems
  3 19 necessary to protect the public from further violations,
  3 20 including temporary and permanent injunctive relief.  A
  3 21 prevailing plaintiff shall also be entitled to reasonable
  3 22 attorney fees and the costs of bringing the action.  Except in
  3 23 an action for the concealment, suppression, or omission of a
  3 24 material fact with intent that others rely upon it, it is not
  3 25 necessary in an action for damages or an injunction, to allege
  3 26 or to prove reliance, intent to deceive, or that the person
  3 27 who engaged in the unlawful act had knowledge of the falsity
  3 28 of the claim or ignorance of the truth.  If the fact finder
  3 29 finds that the use of a practice declared to be unlawful by
  3 30 this section was willful, punitive damages may be awarded to a
  3 31 prevailing plaintiff.
  3 32    (2)  Within seven days following commencement of any action
  3 33 brought under subparagraph (1), the plaintiff shall provide a
  3 34 copy of the petition to the attorney general and, within seven
  3 35 days following entry of any final judgment in the action,
  4  1 shall provide a copy of the judgment to the attorney general.
  4  2 In addition, the party appealing an order or judgment issued
  4  3 in any action brought under subparagraph (1) shall provide a
  4  4 copy of the notice of appeal to the attorney general within
  4  5 seven days following the date such notice is filed with the
  4  6 court.  All copies of petitions, judgments, and notices of
  4  7 appeal shall be sent by certified mail and shall be
  4  8 accompanied by a written statement identifying the copied
  4  9 document as pertaining to an action under this paragraph.
  4 10 Failure to provide the required copies to the attorney general
  4 11 shall not be grounds for dismissal of an action under this
  4 12 section.  However, no final judgment shall be entered until
  4 13 the attorney general files notice that the attorney general
  4 14 will not participate as a party to the proceeding or until at
  4 15 least sixty days have passed since the petition was mailed to
  4 16 the attorney general by the plaintiff or on behalf of the
  4 17 plaintiff as shown by the proof of mailing on file in the
  4 18 case.  No appeal shall be docketed until proof of mailing of
  4 19 the notice of appeal to the attorney general has been filed in
  4 20 the Iowa supreme court.  The attorney general may intervene as
  4 21 a party at any time within sixty days of receiving a copy of a
  4 22 petition as set forth above, or may be heard at any point in
  4 23 any judicial proceeding pursuant to this paragraph.  The
  4 24 attorney general's failure to intervene as a party or
  4 25 otherwise participate in the action shall not preclude any
  4 26 later action by the attorney general.  Reimbursement awarded
  4 27 to the attorney general pursuant to paragraph "a",
  4 28 subparagraph (1), on behalf of a plaintiff who has filed an
  4 29 action pursuant to subparagraph (1) of this paragraph,
  4 30 concerning the same set of facts shall be deducted from any
  4 31 damages awarded to the plaintiff in an action filed under this
  4 32 paragraph.
  4 33    c.  Any claim made under this section shall be required to
  4 34 be proved by a preponderance of the evidence.  
  4 35                           EXPLANATION
  5  1    This bill amends Code section 714.16 to provide a private
  5  2 cause of action for violations of the consumer fraud Act.
  5  3    The bill provides that a consumer fraud victim who is a
  5  4 person or nonprofit organization who purchases, leases, or
  5  5 rents merchandise for personal, family, or household purposes,
  5  6 agricultural merchandise, office supplies or services, or
  5  7 certain business opportunities, or who is solicited for
  5  8 charitable contributions, may bring a civil action and be
  5  9 awarded actual damages, attorney fees, costs, injunctive
  5 10 relief, and punitive damages for willful violations.
  5 11    The bill further authorizes the attorney general to oversee
  5 12 private consumer fraud actions by permitting the attorney
  5 13 general to intervene within 60 days of receipt of a petition
  5 14 or be heard at any point in any private proceeding.  The bill
  5 15 assists the attorney general in monitoring private actions by
  5 16 requiring private parties to provide copies of petitions,
  5 17 judgments, decrees, and notices of appeal.  
  5 18 LSB 6200XS 79
  5 19 rh/sh/8.1

Text: SF02180                           Text: SF02182
Text: SF02100 - SF02199                 Text: SF Index
Bills and Amendments: General Index     Bill History: General Index

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