The several district courts of the United States are vested with jurisdiction specifically to enforce, and to prevent and restrain any person from violating, any order or regulation made or issued under this chapter.
(b) Referral to Attorney General
Terms Used In 7 USC 6411
- Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Secretary: means the Secretary of Agriculture. See 7 USC 6402
A civil action authorized to be brought under this section shall be referred to the Attorney General for appropriate action, except that the Secretary is not required to refer to the Attorney General a violation of this chapter, or any order or regulation issued under this chapter, if the Secretary believes that the administration and enforcement of this chapter would be adequately served by providing a suitable written notice or warning to the person who committed such violation or by administrative action under subsection (c).
(c) Civil penalties and orders
(1) Civil penalties
Any person who violates any provision of any order or regulation issued by the Secretary under this chapter, or who fails or refuses to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee duly required of the person under the order or regulations, may be assessed–
(A) a civil penalty by the Secretary of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000 for each such violation; or
(B) in the case of a willful failure or refusal to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee duly required of the person under this chapter or a regulation issued under this chapter, a civil penalty by the Secretary of not less than $10,000 nor more than $100,000 for each such violation.
Each violation shall be a separate offense.
(2) Cease-and-desist orders
In addition to, or in lieu of, a civil penalty, the Secretary may issue an order requiring the person to cease and desist from continuing such violation.
(3) Notice and hearing
No penalty shall be assessed or cease-and-desist order issued by the Secretary unless the person against whom the penalty is assessed or the order issued is given notice and opportunity for a hearing before the Secretary with respect to such violation.
The order of the Secretary assessing a penalty or imposing a cease-and-desist order shall be final and conclusive unless the affected person files an appeal from the Secretary’s order with the appropriate district court of the United States in accordance with subsection (d).
(d) Review by district court
(1) Commencement of action
Any person against whom a violation is found and a civil penalty assessed or cease-and-desist order issued under subsection (c) may obtain review of the penalty or order by–
(A) filing, within the 30-day period beginning on the date the penalty is assessed or order issued, a notice of appeal in–
(i) the district court of the United States for the district in which the person resides or carries on business; or
(ii) the United States District Court for the District of Columbia; and
(B) simultaneously sending a copy of the notice by certified mail to the Secretary.
The Secretary shall file promptly in such court a certified copy of the record on which the Secretary found that the person had committed a violation.
(3) Standard of review
A finding of the Secretary shall be set aside only if the finding is found to be unsupported by substantial evidence.
(e) Failure to obey orders
Any person who fails to obey a cease-and-desist order after the order has become final and unappealable, or after the appropriate United States district court has entered a final judgment in favor of the Secretary, shall be subject to a civil penalty assessed by the Secretary, after opportunity for a hearing and for judicial review under the procedures specified in subsections (c) and (d), of not more than $5,000 for each offense. Each day during which the failure continues shall be considered as a separate violation of such order.
(f) Failure to pay penalties
If any person fails to pay an assessment of a civil penalty after it has become a final and unappealable order, or after the appropriate United States district court has entered final judgment in favor of the Secretary, the Secretary shall refer the matter to the Attorney General for recovery of the amount assessed in the district court in which the person resides or conducts business. In the action, the validity and appropriateness of the final order imposing the civil penalty shall not be subject to review.
(g) Additional remedies
The remedies provided in this chapter shall be in addition to, and not exclusive of, other remedies that may be available.