Section 55122. (Added by Stats. 2008, Ch. 414, Sec. 30.)
Cite as: Cal. Food & Agric. Code §55122.
(a) The department may levy a civil penalty against any person who is grossly negligent or willfully violates this chapter in an amount of not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for each violation. Each day a grossly negligent or willful violation of this chapter continues, for a period that shall not exceed 10 days, may be a separate violation. The amount of the penalty assessed for each violation shall be based upon the nature of the violation, the seriousness of the effect of the violation upon the effectuation of the purposes and provisions of this chapter, and the impact of the penalty on the violator, including the deterrent effect on future violations. If the secretary determines, based on evidence submitted, that the grossly negligent or willful violation has the potential to seriously impact the ability of California rice producers to produce or market rice without characteristics of commercial impact, each day shall be considered a separate violation and the period of time shall not exceed a total of 20 days.
(b)Upon a finding that a violation was negligent or unintentional, the secretary may levy a civil penalty of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each violation.
(c)For a first offense, and upon a finding that the violation is minor and negligent or unintentional, in lieu of a civil penalty as prescribed in subdivision (b), the secretary may issue a notice of violation.
(d)A person against whom a civil penalty is levied shall be afforded an opportunity for a hearing before the secretary, upon a request made within 30 days after the date of issuance of the notice of penalty. At the hearing, the person shall be given the right to present evidence on his or her own behalf. If no hearing is requested, the civil penalty shall constitute a final and nonreviewable order.
(e)If a hearing is held, review of the decision of the secretary may be sought by the person against whom the civil penalty is levied within 30 days of the date of the final order of the secretary pursuant to Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(f)A civil penalty levied by the department pursuant to this section may be recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the state.