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Section: Violations, penalties, remedies

Statute: 13:1E-99.54

11. a. Whenever the commissioner finds that a person has violated any provision of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the commissioner may: (1) issue an order requiring the person found to be in violation to comply in accordance with subsection b. of this section; (2) bring a civil action in accordance with subsection c. of this section; (3) levy a civil administrative penalty in accordance with subsection d. of this section; (4) bring an action for a civil penalty in accordance with subsection e. of this section; or (5) petition the Attorney General to bring a criminal action in accordance with subsection g. of this section. Pursuit of any of the remedies specified under this section shall not preclude the seeking of any other remedy specified. b. Whenever the commissioner finds that a person has violated this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the commissioner may issue an order specifying the provision or provisions of this act, or the rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, of which the person is in violation, citing the action that constituted the violation, ordering abatement of the violation, and giving notice to the person of the person's right to a hearing on the matters contained in the order. The ordered person shall have 20 calendar days from receipt of the order within which to deliver to the commissioner a written request for a hearing. After the hearing and upon finding that a violation has occurred, the commissioner may issue a final order. If no hearing is requested, the order shall become final after the expiration of the 20-day period. A request for hearing shall not automatically stay the effect of the order. c. The commissioner may institute an action or proceeding in the Superior Court for injunctive and other relief to enforce the provisions of this act and to prohibit and prevent a violation of this act, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, and the court may proceed in the action in a summary manner. In any such proceeding the court may grant temporary or interlocutory relief. Such relief may include, singly or in combination: (1) a temporary or permanent injunction; (2) assessment of the violator for the reasonable costs of any inspection, including the costs of any sampling or testing of packages or packaging components that led to the establishment of the violation, and for the reasonable costs of preparing and litigating the case under this subsection. d. (1) The commissioner may assess a civil administrative penalty of not more than $7,500.00 for a first offense, not more than $10,000.00 for a second offense and not more than $25,000.00 for a third and every subsequent offense. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense. No assessment may be levied pursuant to this section until after the violator has been notified by certified mail or personal service. The notice shall include a reference to the section of the statute, rule, regulation, or order violated, a concise statement of the facts alleged to constitute a violation, a statement of the amount of the civil administrative penalties to be imposed, and a statement of the person's right to a hearing. The ordered person shall have 20 calendar days from receipt of the notice within which to deliver to the commissioner a written request for a hearing. After the hearing and upon finding that a violation has occurred, the commissioner may issue a final order after assessing the amount of the fine specified in the notice. If no hearing is requested, the notice shall become a final order after the expiration of the 20-day period. Payment of the assessment is due when a final order is issued or the notice becomes a final order. The authority to levy a civil administrative penalty is in addition to all other enforcement provisions in this act, and the payment of any assessment shall not be deemed to affect the availability of any other enforcement provisions in connection with the violation for which the assessment is levied. The department may compromise any civil administrative penalty assessed under this section in an amount the department determines appropriate. (2) The commissioner may not assess a civil administrative penalty for a first offense for any violation of the provisions of this act, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, except in those instances where an ordered person violates an administrative order issued pursuant to subsection b. of section 10 of this act. e. (1) A person who violates this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, shall be liable for a penalty of not more than $7,500.00 per day, to be collected in a civil action commenced by the commissioner. (2) The commissioner may not bring an action for a civil penalty for a first offense for any violation of the provisions of this act, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, except in those instances where an ordered person violates an administrative order issued pursuant to subsection b. of section 10 of this act. A person who violates an administrative order issued pursuant to subsection b. of this section, or a court order issued pursuant to subsection c. of this section, or who fails to pay an administrative assessment in full pursuant to subsection d. of this section is subject upon order of a court to a civil penalty not to exceed $50,000.00 per day of each violation. Any penalty imposed pursuant to this subsection may be collected, with costs, in a summary proceeding pursuant to "the penalty enforcement law" (N.J.S.2A:58-1 et seq.). The Superior Court and the municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of "the penalty enforcement law" in connection with this act. f. Assessments and penalties under this section shall be paid to the department and deposited into the "Toxic Packaging Reduction Fund" established pursuant to section 12 of this act. g. Any person who purposely or knowingly: (1) sells, offers for sale, or offers for promotional purposes any package or packaging component in violation of subsection a. of section 4 of this act, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto; (2) sells, offers for sale, or offers for promotional purposes any product in violation of subsection b. of section 4 of this act, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto; or (3) sells, offers for sale, or offers for promotional purposes any package or packaging component that exceeds the maximum contaminant levels set forth in subsection c. of section 4 of this act; shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a crime of the third degree and, notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $7,500.00 for a first offense, not more than $10,000.00 for a second offense and not more than $25,000.00 for a third and every subsequent offense. Each day during which the violation continues constitutes an additional, separate and distinct offense. h. The provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-6 to the contrary notwithstanding, a prosecution for a violation of the provisions of subsection g. of this section shall be commenced within five years of the date of discovery of the violation. i. No retailer shall be deemed to have violated the provisions of section 4 of this act, if the commissioner finds that the retailer can demonstrate that, in the purchase of a specified package or packaging component, the retailer relied in good faith on the written assurance of the product manufacturer or distributor that the package or packaging component complied with the provisions of this act. The written assurance shall state that a specified package or packaging component is in compliance with the provisions of this act, and shall be signed by an authorized representative of the package manufacturer or distributor. If an exemption is claimed for the package or packaging component pursuant to subsection b. of section 5 of this act, the written assurance shall state the specific basis upon which the exemption is claimed. L.1991,c.520,s.11.

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