Title 9: Commerce and Trade
Chapter 63: CONSUMER PROTECTION
9 V.S.A. § 2460. Civil investigation
§ 2460. Civil investigation
(a) The attorney general or a state's attorney whenever he or she has reason to believe any person to be or to have been in violation of section 2453 of this title, or of any rule or regulation made pursuant to section 2453 of this title, may examine or cause to be examined by any agent or representative designated by him or her for that purpose, any books, records, papers, memoranda and physical objects of whatever nature bearing upon each alleged violation, and may demand written responses under oath to questions bearing upon each alleged violation. The attorney general or state's attorney may require the attendance of such person or of any other person having knowledge in the premises in the county where such person resides or has a place of business or in Washington County if such person is a nonresident or has no place of business within the state, and may take testimony and require proof material for his or her information, and may administer oaths or take acknowledgment in re
spect of any book, record, paper or memorandum. The attorney general or a state's attorney shall serve notice of the time, place and cause of such examination or attendance, or notice of the cause of the demand for written responses, at least ten days prior to the date of such examination, personally or by certified mail, upon such person at his or her principal place of business, or, if such place is not known, to his or her last known address. Any book, record, paper, memorandum or other information produced by any person pursuant to this section shall not, unless otherwise ordered by a court of this state for good cause shown, be disclosed to any person other than the authorized agent or representative of the attorney general or a state's attorney or another law enforcement officer engaged in legitimate law enforcement activities, unless with the consent of the person producing the same. This subsection (a) shall not be applicable to any criminal investigation or prosecution brought
under the laws of this or any state.
(b) A person upon whom a notice is served pursuant to the provisions of this section shall comply with the terms thereof unless otherwise provided by the order of a court of this state. Any person who, with intent to avoid, evade, or prevent compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigation under this section, removes from any place, conceals, withholds, or destroys, mutilates, alters, or by any other means falsifies any documentary material in the possession, custody or control of any person subject of any such notice, or mistakes or conceals any information, shall be fined not more than $5,000.00.
(c) Whenever any person fails to comply with any notice served upon him under this section or whenever satisfactory copying or reproduction of any such material cannot be done and such person refuses to surrender such material, the attorney general or a state's attorney may file, in the superior court in which such person resides or has his principal place of business or in Washington county if such person is a nonresident or has no principal place of business in this state, and serve upon such person, a petition for an order of such court for the enforcement of this section. Whenever any petition is filed under this section, such court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter so presented, and to enter such order or orders as may be required to carry into effect the provisions of this section. Any disobedience of any order entered under this section by any court shall be punished as a contempt thereof. (Added 1967, No. 132, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No
. 45, § 6, eff. April 4, 1969; 1973, No. 110, § 4; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1997, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.)