Relates to communications by retail stores attempting to settle civil actions deriving from larceny prosecutions.
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: The purpose of this bill is to notify the defendant in a larceny case that a settlement agreement in a civil case is unrelated to any criminal prosecution.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would amend the general business law by adding a new section 349-e. This new section would require a merchant or retail store in seeking a settlement in larceny. This bill includes required language which would notify the defendant that the acceptance or refusal of the settlement will not affect any criminal action arising from the events that led to the civil action.
JUSTIFICATION: Major stores are engaged in practicing deception in collecting money from those accused of petty crimes. They are informing these individuals that if they send them a check or provide payment they will settle their case, inferring the misconception that the criminal case will go away. What they are failing to inform these individuals is that it is a settlement for a non-existent civil case, which the store has no intention of initiating. The belief that the person's criminal case has been settled has led to the issuance of warrants, because of the misbelieve that their case has been settled.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012 - A.10129
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5051 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 7, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. DILAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer 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: Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 349-e to read as follows: S 349-E. CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN LARCENY PROSECUTIONS. 1. WHENEVER A MERCHANT OR RETAIL STORE ATTEMPTS TO SETTLE A CIVIL ACTION THAT IS DERIVATIVE OF A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION COMMENCED UNDER ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE OF THE PENAL LAW, ALL COMMUNICATIONS PERTAINING TO SUCH ATTEMPTED SETTLEMENT SHALL CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT, WHICH SHALL, IF WRITTEN, BE IN A CONSPICUOUS PLACE, IN FONT LARGER THAN THE REMAINDER OF THE COMMUNICATION, AND, IF SPOKEN, READ IN ITS ENTIRETY: THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO REACH A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IN A CIVIL ACTION FOR SATISFACTION OF DAMAGES RELATED TO A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE THIS OFFER. YOUR ACCEPTANCE OR REFUSAL OF THIS OFFER HAS NO EFFECT ON ANY CRIMINAL ACTION ARISING FROM THE EVENTS THAT LED TO THIS CIVIL ACTION. FAILURE TO ACCEPT THIS AGREEMENT MAY RESULT IN CIVIL LITIGATION AGAINST YOU. 2. A MERCHANT OR RETAIL STORE THAT FAILS TO INCLUDE SUCH STATEMENT IN ANY COMMUNICATION WITH DEFENDANT SHALL BE STRICTLY LIABLE FOR: (A) ANY ACTUAL DAMAGES SUSTAINED BY DEFENDANT AS A RESULT OF SUCH FAILURE; (B) TREBLE THE AMOUNT SOUGHT BY THE MERCHANT OR RETAIL STORE IN ANY SUCH SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT. IN THE CASE OF MULTIPLE SETTLEMENT OFFERS, THE AMOUNT TO BE TREBLED SHALL BE THE HIGHEST SETTLEMENT AMOUNT SOUGHT BY SUCH MERCHANT OR RETAIL STORE;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07200-01-3 S. 5051 2
(C) IN THE CASE OF ANY SUCCESSFUL ACTION TO ENFORCE THE FOREGOING LIABILITY, THE COSTS OF THE ACTION, TOGETHER WITH A REASONABLE ATTOR- NEYS' FEE AS DETERMINED BY THE COURT. ON A FINDING BY THE COURT THAT AN ACTION UNDER THIS SECTION WAS BROUGHT IN BAD FAITH AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF HARASSMENT, THE COURT MAY AWARD TO THE DEFENDANT ATTORNEYS' FEES REASONABLE IN RELATION TO THE WORK EXPENDED AND COSTS. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.