A09478 Summary:

BILL NO    A09478 

SAME AS    No same as 

SPONSOR    Dinowitz

COSPNSR    Lentol, Lavine, Roberts, Graf, Mosley

MLTSPNSR   

Add S349-f, Gen Bus L

Relates to communications by retail stores attempting to settle civil actions
deriving from larceny prosecutions.
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A09478 Actions:

BILL NO    A09478 

05/01/2014 referred to consumer affairs and protection
05/20/2014 reported referred to codes
06/09/2014 reported referred to rules
06/16/2014 reported 
06/16/2014 rules report cal.307
06/16/2014 ordered to third reading rules cal.307
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A09478 Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A09478 Memo:

BILL NUMBER:A9478

TITLE OF BILL:  An act to amend the general business law, in relation
to communications by retail stores attempting to settle civil actions
deriving from larceny prosecutions

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:  The purpose of this bill is to
inform consumers that a settlement related to a larceny prosecution
will not have any effect on any criminal actions arising from the same
event that lead to the civil action

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 adds a new section 349-f to the general business law that
requires a merchant who is attempting to settle a civil action that is
derived from a criminal prosecution provides a notice to a consumer in
any correspondence related to a possible settlement that explains that
a settlement of the civil action will not have any effect on any
criminal actions arising from the events that lead to the civil
action. The section provides the exact statement a merchant or
retailer must provide in writing or read to a consumer if the
communication is spoken.

Section 1 also allows for treble damages as well as costs and
attorney's fees as determined by a court.

Section 2 sets the effective date

JUSTIFICATION:  There has been a series of articles recently
highlighting deceptive practices that merchants and retailers are
using to punish shoplifters. Section 11-105 of the general obligation
law allows for civil penalties for anyone who commits larceny as
defined by paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section 155.05 of the
penal law and clearly outlines the rights a merchant or retailer has
in pursuing the civil action. However, many merchants have initiated
communication, both written and verbal, with those who have committed
larceny to attempt to settle out of court. These communications have
been found to be deceptive in that they often allege a civil suit will
be filed that the merchant has no intention of filing, they are often
sent by third parties who have been retained to represent the merchant
to collect a penalty. They also mislead consumers to believe that
should they settle the civil action they will be freed from any future
criminal proceeding which is not the case.

This legislation would require a specific and explicit notice be
provided in any form of communication that the communication is an
attempt to settle the civil action related to a criminal prosecution
that the consumer has a right to refuse or accept, and that acceptance
or refusal of the offer will have no impact on any criminal action
arising from the event that led to the civil action.  Furthermore the
notice will inform the consumer that refusing the settlement may
result in civil litigation.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:  This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:  None to the State.


EFFECTIVE DATE:  This act shall take effect immediately and shall
apply to any prospective attempted settlements of such civil actions
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A09478 Text:

                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________

                                         9478

                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y

                                      May 1, 2014
                                      ___________

       Introduced by M. of A. DINOWITZ -- read once and referred to the Commit-
         tee on Consumer Affairs and Protection

       AN  ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to communications
         by retail stores attempting to  settle  civil  actions  deriving  from
         larceny prosecutions

         THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1    Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section
    2  349-f to read as follows:
    3    S 349-F. CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN  LARCENY  PROSECUTIONS.  1.  WHENEVER  A
    4  MERCHANT  OR  RETAIL  STORE  ATTEMPTS  TO  SETTLE A CIVIL ACTION THAT IS
    5  DERIVATIVE OF A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION COMMENCED UNDER ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED
    6  FIFTY-FIVE OF THE PENAL  LAW,  ALL  COMMUNICATIONS  PERTAINING  TO  SUCH
    7  ATTEMPTED SETTLEMENT SHALL CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT, WHICH SHALL,
    8  IF WRITTEN, BE IN A CONSPICUOUS PLACE, IN FONT LARGER THAN THE REMAINDER
    9  OF THE COMMUNICATION, AND, IF SPOKEN, READ IN ITS ENTIRETY:
   10    THIS  IS  AN ATTEMPT TO REACH A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IN A CIVIL ACTION
   11  FOR SATISFACTION OF DAMAGES RELATED TO A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. YOU  HAVE
   12  THE RIGHT TO REFUSE THIS OFFER. YOUR ACCEPTANCE OR REFUSAL OF THIS OFFER
   13  HAS NO EFFECT ON ANY CRIMINAL ACTION ARISING FROM THE EVENTS THAT LED TO
   14  THIS  CIVIL ACTION. FAILURE TO ACCEPT THIS AGREEMENT MAY RESULT IN CIVIL
   15  LITIGATION AGAINST YOU.
   16    2. A MERCHANT OR RETAIL STORE THAT  VIOLATES  THIS  SECTION  SHALL  BE
   17  STRICTLY LIABLE FOR:
   18    (A)  ANY  ACTUAL  DAMAGES  SUSTAINED  BY DEFENDANT AS A RESULT OF SUCH
   19  FAILURE;
   20    (B) TREBLE THE AMOUNT SOUGHT BY THE MERCHANT OR RETAIL  STORE  IN  ANY
   21  SUCH  SETTLEMENT  AGREEMENT.  IN THE CASE OF MULTIPLE SETTLEMENT OFFERS,
   22  THE AMOUNT TO BE TREBLED SHALL BE THE HIGHEST SETTLEMENT  AMOUNT  SOUGHT
   23  BY SUCH MERCHANT OR RETAIL STORE;
   24    (C)  IN  THE  CASE  OF  ANY SUCCESSFUL ACTION TO ENFORCE THE FOREGOING
   25  LIABILITY, THE COSTS OF THE ACTION, TOGETHER WITH  A  REASONABLE  ATTOR-
   26  NEYS' FEE AS DETERMINED BY THE COURT.
   27    S  2.  This  act  shall take effect immediately and shall apply to any
   28  prospective attempted settlements of such civil actions.

        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD14906-01-4
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