2015 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title XXXI - TRADE AND COMMERCE
Chapter 358-A - REGULATION OF BUSINESS PRACTICES FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION
Section 358-A:4 - Administration; Enforcement.
358-A:4 Administration; Enforcement.
I. The provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the consumer protection and antitrust bureau, department of justice established by RSA 21-M:8.
III. (a) Whenever the attorney general has reason to believe that trade or commerce declared unlawful by this chapter has been, is being or is about to be conducted by any person, the attorney general may bring an action in the name of the state against such person to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction the use of such trade or commerce and may petition the court for an order of restitution of money or property to any person or class of persons injured thereby. The action may be brought in the superior court of the county in which the person allegedly in violation of this chapter resides or in which the principal place of business is located, or, with the consent of the parties or if the person is a nonresident and has no place of business within the state, in the superior court of Merrimack county.
(b) Upon a finding that any person has engaged or is engaging in any act or practice declared unlawful by this chapter, the court may make any necessary order or judgment and may award to the state civil penalties up to $10,000 for each violation of this chapter. No such order shall require the payment of civil penalties until the process of appeal has been exhausted. Any such order or judgment shall be prima facie evidence in any action brought under RSA 358-A:10 that the respondent has engaged in an act or practice declared unlawful by this chapter. For the purpose of this section, the court shall determine the number of unlawful acts or practices which have occurred without regard to the number of persons affected thereby. It shall be an affirmative defense to the assessment of civil penalties that the defendant acted pursuant to a good faith misunderstanding concerning the requirements of this chapter.
III-a. In connection with any action brought under paragraph III, the attorney general may also petition the court to appoint a receiver to take charge of the business of any person during the course of litigation when the attorney general has reason to believe that such an appointment is necessary to prevent such person from continuing to engage in any act or practice declared unlawful by this chapter and of preserving the assets of said person to restore to any other person any money or property acquired by any unlawful act or practice. The receiver shall have the authority to sue for, collect, receive and take into the receiver's possession all the goods and chattels, rights and credits, moneys and effects, lands and tenements, books, records, documents, papers, choses in action, bills, notes and property of every description, including property with which such property has been mingled if it cannot be identified in kind because of such commingling derived by means of any unlawful act or practice, and to sell, convey and assign the same and hold, dispose and distribute the proceeds thereof under the direction of the court. Any person who has suffered damages as a result of the use of any unlawful act or practice and submits proof to the satisfaction of the court that such person has in fact been damaged, may participate with general creditors in the distribution of the assets to the extent that the person has sustained out-of-pocket losses. In the case of a partnership or business entity, the receiver shall settle the estate and distribute the assets under the direction of the court. The court shall have jurisdiction of all questions arising in such proceedings and may make such orders and judgments as may be required. In lieu of the foregoing procedure, the court may permit any person alleged to have violated this chapter to post a bond in a manner and in an amount to be fixed by the court. The bond shall be made payable to the state and may be distributed by the court only after a decision on the merits and the process of appeals has been exhausted.
IV. Any county attorney or law enforcement officer receiving notice of any alleged violation of this chapter shall immediately forward written notice of the same with any other information that the county attorney or law enforcement officer may have to the department of justice.
Source. 1970, 19:1. 1975, 417:1-3. 1979, 171:1. 1985, 300:7, I, 23, 30; 410:8. 1996, 165:5, 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1997.
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