16-11-509. Penalties and other remedies. (1) In addition to any other civil or criminal remedy provided by law, upon a determination that a wholesaler has violated 16-11-505 or any rule adopted pursuant to that section, the department may revoke or suspend the license of the wholesaler in the manner provided by 16-11-144 in a proceeding initiated by the department or at the request of the attorney general. For each violation of 16-11-505, a civil penalty in the amount of $250 for the first full or partial pack and $10 for each additional full or partial pack to which a tax insignia is affixed or that is sold, offered for sale, or possessed for sale in violation of 16-11-505 may be imposed. Each tax insignia affixed, each offer to sell cigarettes, and each pack sold, offered for sale, or possessed for sale in violation of 16-11-505 constitutes a separate violation. The penalty may be imposed in the manner provided by 16-11-143(2) in a proceeding brought by the department or the attorney general.
(2) Any cigarettes that have been sold, offered for sale, or possessed for sale in this state in violation of 16-11-505 may be considered contraband under 16-11-147. The cigarettes are subject to seizure and forfeiture as provided in 16-11-147, and all cigarettes seized and forfeited must be destroyed and not resold.
(3) The attorney general may seek an injunction to restrain a threatened or actual violation of 16-11-505 or 16-11-507(1) or (4) by a wholesaler and to compel the wholesaler to comply with those sections.
(4) (a) In any action brought pursuant to this part, the prevailing party is entitled to recover the costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees calculated as provided in 16-11-404. If the state is the prevailing party, its recoverable costs must include the state's costs of investigation of the violation.
(b) In cases in which the state is the prevailing party and outside counsel represents the attorney general, the attorney fees awarded must equal the outside counsel charges reasonably incurred by the attorney general's office for attorney fees and expenses in prosecuting the action. In all other cases in which the state is the prevailing party, the state's attorney fees must be calculated by reference to the hourly rate charged by the agency legal services bureau of the department for the provision of legal services to state agencies, multiplied by the number of attorney hours devoted to the prosecution of the action, plus the actual cost of any expenses reasonably incurred in the prosecution of the action.
(5) (a) It is unlawful for a person to:
(i) sell, offer for sale, or distribute cigarettes that the person knows or should know are intended for distribution or sale in the state in violation of 16-11-505; or
(ii) acquire, hold, own, possess, transport, import, or cause to be imported cigarettes that the person knows or should know are intended for distribution or sale in the state in violation of 16-11-505.
(b) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable as provided in 16-11-148.
(6) If a court determines that a person has violated this part, the court shall order any profits, gain, gross receipts, or other benefit from the violation to be paid to the state treasurer for deposit in the trust fund created by Article XII, section 4, of the Montana constitution.
(7) Penalties, investigation expenses, attorney fees, and costs recovered under parts 4 and 5 of this chapter are allocated to the department of justice for deposit in the major litigation account and may be used for any purpose for which funds deposited in that account may be used. The funds are statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, to the department of justice.
(8) Unless otherwise expressly provided, the remedies or penalties provided by this part are cumulative to each other and to the remedies or penalties available under all other laws of this state. (Certain provisions void on occurrence of contingency--sec. 16, Ch. 397, L. 2003--see part compiler's comment.)
History: En. Sec. 9, Ch. 397, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 324, L. 2005.