Title 9: Commerce and Trade
Chapter 63: CONSUMER PROTECTION
Sub-Chapter 01: General Provisions
9 V.S.A. § 2460. Civil investigation
§ 2460. Civil investigation
(a)(1) 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.
(2) The Attorney General or a state's attorney may require the attendance of such person or of any other person having knowledge in the premises in the county where the person resides or has a place of business or in Washington County if the 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 respect of any book, record, paper, or memorandum.
(3) The Attorney General or a state's attorney shall serve notice of the time, place, and cause of the examination or attendance, or notice of the cause of the demand for written responses, at least ten days prior to the date of the examination, personally or by certified mail, upon the person at his or her principal place of business, or, if the place is not known, to his or her last known address.
(4) 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.
(5) This subsection shall not be applicable to any criminal investigation or prosecution brought under the laws of this or any state.
(b)(1) 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.
(2) 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 subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000.00 and to recovery by the Attorney General's or state's attorney's office the reasonable value of its services and expenses in enforcing compliance with this section.
(c)(1) Whenever any person fails to comply with any notice served upon him or her under this section or whenever satisfactory copying or reproduction of material pursuant to this section cannot be done and the person refuses to surrender the material, the Attorney General or a state's attorney may file, in the Superior Court in which the person resides or has his or her principal place of business, or in Washington County if the person is a nonresident or has no principal place of business in this State, and serve upon the person, a petition for an order of the court for the enforcement of this section.
(2) Whenever a petition is filed under this section, the court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter presented, and to enter one or more orders as may be required to carry into effect the provisions of this section.
(3) A person who violates an order entered under this section by a court shall be punished for contempt of court and shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000.00 and to recovery by the Attorney General's or state's attorney's office of the reasonable value of its services and expenses in enforcing compliance with this section. (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; 2013, No. 44, § 5.)