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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XXXV
AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE, AND ANIMAL INDUSTRY
Chapter 573
MARKETING OF AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES
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F.S. 573.124
573.124 Penalties; violation; hearings.
(1) Every person who violates any provision of ss. 573.101-573.124 or any provision of any marketing agreement or order duly issued by the department shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083. Each day during which any such violation continues after the department has issued a cease and desist order against the violator shall constitute a separate offense. Any fine imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be transmitted by the clerk of such court to the department to be used to defray the cost of administering the respective marketing order or agreement.
(2) Upon the filing of a verified complaint with the department charging a violation of any provision of ss. 573.101-573.124, any provision of any marketing order issued by the department, or any provision of any marketing agreement enforced by the department, and prior to institution of any court proceedings authorized, the department may refer the matter to a prosecuting attorney of this state having jurisdiction for action pursuant to the provisions of ss. 573.101-573.124 or may proceed to consider the charges set forth in such verified complaint.
(3) If the department finds that no violation has occurred, it shall forthwith dismiss the complaint.
(4) If the department finds that a violation has occurred, it shall so enter its findings and notify the parties to the complaint. Should the defendant or defendants thereafter fail, neglect, or refuse to desist from the violation within the time specified by the department, the department may thereupon file a complaint against the defendant or defendants in a court of competent jurisdiction.
(5) Any prosecuting attorney of this state having jurisdiction may, upon his or her own initiative, and shall, upon complaint of any person, bring an action in the name of the state in any court of competent jurisdiction within the state against any person violating any provision of ss. 573.101-573.124, any marketing order duly issued by the department, or any marketing agreement enforced by the department.
(6) The several circuit courts of the state, sitting in chancery, are hereby vested with jurisdiction specifically to enforce and to enjoin and restrain any person from violating any provision of ss. 573.101-573.124, any marketing order duly issued by the department or any marketing agreement enforced by the department; and in any such proceeding it shall not be necessary for the department to allege or prove that an adequate remedy at law does not exist. The circuit court may issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, as in other actions for injunctive relief, and upon final hearing, if the final decree is in favor of the department, the final decree shall provide that the defendant or defendants pay to the department the reasonable costs of each suit, including reasonable attorney’s fees to be fixed by the court. These actions may be commenced either in the county where any defendant resides or in the county where any act complained of occurred.
(7) The provisions of ss. 573.101-573.124 shall not be applicable to retailers of agricultural commodities except to the extent that any retailer also engages in the processing or distributing of agricultural commodities as defined in ss. 573.101-573.124.
(8) It shall be a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for:
(a) Any person to willfully render or furnish a false or fraudulent report, statement, or record required by the department, or any marketing agreement or marketing order effective thereunder.
(b) Any person engaged in the handling of any agricultural commodity or in the wholesale or retail trade thereof to fail or refuse to furnish to the department or its duly authorized agents, upon request, information concerning the name and address of the persons from whom he or she has received any agricultural commodity regulated by a marketing order issued and in effect hereunder, and the quantity of the commodity so received.
History.ss. 24, 26, ch. 87-171; s. 51, ch. 91-220; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 904, ch. 97-103; s. 30, ch. 2002-295.