Code Section Group

Corporations Code - CORP

TITLE 4. SECURITIES [25000 - 31516]

  ( Title 4 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 384. )

DIVISION 5. FRANCHISE INVESTMENT LAW [31000 - 31516]

  ( Division 5 added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 1400. )

PART 4. ENFORCEMENT [31300 - 31420]

  ( Part 4 added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 1400. )

CHAPTER 2. Powers of the Commissioner [31400 - 31408]
  ( Chapter 2 added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 1400. )

31400.
  

(a) Whenever it appears to the commissioner that any person has engaged or is about to engage in any act or practice constituting a violation of any provision of this law or any rule or order hereunder, the commissioner may in the commissioner’s discretion bring an action, or the commissioner may request the Attorney General to bring an action in the name of the people of the State of California, in the superior court to enjoin the acts or practices or to enforce compliance with this law or any rule or order hereunder. Upon a proper showing a permanent or preliminary injunction, restraining order or writ of mandate shall be granted and a receiver or conservator may be appointed for the defendant or the defendant’s assets.

(b) If the commissioner determines it is in the public interest, the commissioner may include in any action authorized by subdivision (a) a claim for ancillary relief, including, but not limited to, a claim for restitution or disgorgement or damages on behalf of the persons injured by the act or practice constituting the subject matter of the action, and the court shall have jurisdiction to award that additional relief.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 698, Sec. 5.)

31400.1.
  

In any proceeding under Section 31400, the court may prohibit, conditionally or unconditionally, and permanently or for such period of time as it shall determine, any person who violated Section 31200, 31201, or 31202 from acting as an officer or director of any franchisor if the person’s conduct demonstrates unfitness to serve as an officer or director of the franchisor.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 101, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2008.)

31401.
  

(a) The commissioner may in his discretion (1) make such public or private investigations within or outside of this state as he deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of this law or any rule or order hereunder or to aid in the enforcement of this law or in the prescribing of rules and forms hereunder, and (2) publish information concerning the violation of this law or any rule or order hereunder.

(b) For the purpose of any investigation or proceeding under this law, the commissioner or any officer designated by him may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, agreements, or other documents or records which the commissioner deems relevant or material to the inquiry.

(c) In case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to, any person, the superior court, upon application by the commissioner, may issue to the person an order requiring him to appear before the commissioner, or the officer designated by him, there to produce documentary evidence, if so ordered, or to give evidence touching the matter under investigation or in question. Failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt.

(d) No person is excused from attending and testifying or from producing any document or record before the commissioner, or in obedience to the subpoena of the commissioner or any officer designated by him, or in any proceeding instituted by the commissioner, on the ground that the testimony or evidence (documentary or otherwise) required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture; but no individual may be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which he is compelled, after validly claiming his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence (documentary or otherwise), except that the individual testifying is not exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury or contempt committed in testifying.

(Added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 1400.)

31402.
  

If, in the opinion of the commissioner, the offer of any franchise is subject to registration under this law and it is being, or it has been, offered for sale without the offer first being registered, the commissioner may order the franchisor or offeror of that franchise to desist and refrain from the further offer or sale of that franchise unless and until the offer has been duly registered under this law. If, after that order has been made, a request for a hearing is filed in writing within 60 days from the date of service of the order by the person to whom the order was directed, a hearing shall be held in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and the commissioner shall have all of the powers granted under that chapter. Unless that hearing is commenced within 15 business days after the request is made (or the person affected consents to a later date), the order shall be deemed rescinded.

If that person fails to file a written request for a hearing within 60 days from the date of service of the order, the order shall be deemed a final order of the commissioner and shall not be subject to review by any court or agency, notwithstanding Section 31501.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 458, Sec. 8. Effective September 10, 2004. Operative January 1, 2005, by Sec. 19 of Ch. 458.)

31403.
  

If, in the opinion of the commissioner, the offer of any franchise exempt from registration under this law is being or has been offered for sale without complying with Section 31201, or any other provision that provides an exemption from Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 31110) of Part 2, the commissioner may order the franchisor or offeror of the franchise to desist and refrain from the further offer or sale of the franchise unless and until the offer is made in compliance with this law. If, after that order has been made, a request for a hearing is filed in writing within 60 days from the date of service of the order by the person to whom the order was directed, a hearing shall be held in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code and the commissioner shall have all of the powers granted under that chapter. Unless that hearing is commenced within 15 business days after the request is made, or the person affected consents to a later date, the order shall be deemed rescinded.

If that person fails to file a written request for a hearing within 60 days from the date of service of the order, the order shall be deemed a final order of the commissioner and shall not be subject to review by any court or agency, notwithstanding Section 31501.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 458, Sec. 9. Effective September 10, 2004. Operative January 1, 2005, by Sec. 19 of Ch. 458.)

31404.
  

The commissioner may refer evidence that is available concerning any violation of this law or of any rule or order hereunder to the district attorney of the county in which the violation occurred, who may, with or without such a reference, institute appropriate criminal proceedings under this law. Upon request of the district attorney, the commissioner and the counsel, deputies, or assistants of the commissioner may assist the district attorney in presenting the law or facts at the trial.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 936, Sec. 1.)

31405.
  

(a) Any person who violates any provision of this law, or who violates any rule or order made under this law, shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each violation, which shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the commissioner in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(b) As applied to the penalties for acts in violation of this division, the remedies provided by this section and by other sections of this division are not exclusive, and may be sought and employed in any combination to enforce the provisions of this division.

(c) No action shall be maintained to enforce any liability created under subdivision (a) unless brought before the expiration of four years after the act or transaction constituting the violation.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 458, Sec. 10. Effective September 10, 2004. Operative January 1, 2005, by Sec. 19 of Ch. 458.)

31406.
  

(a) If, upon inspection or investigation, based upon a complaint or otherwise, the commissioner has cause to believe that a person is violating any provision of this division or any rule or order promulgated pursuant to this division, the commissioner may issue a citation to that person in writing describing with particularity the basis of the citation. Each citation may contain an order to desist and refrain and an assessment of an administrative penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per violation and shall contain reference to this section, including the provisions of subdivision (c). All penalties collected under this section shall be deposited in the State Corporations Fund.

(b) The sanctions authorized under this section shall be separate from, and in addition to, all other administrative, civil, or criminal remedies.

(c) If within 60 days from the receipt of the citation, the person cited fails to notify the commissioner that the person intends to request a hearing as described in subdivision (d), the citation shall be deemed final.

(d) Any hearing under this section shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(e) After the exhaustion of the review procedures provided for in this section, the commissioner may apply to the appropriate superior court for a judgment in the amount of the administrative penalty and order compelling the cited person to comply with the order of the commissioner. The application shall include a certified copy of the final order of the commissioner and shall constitute a sufficient showing to warrant the issuance of the judgment and order.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 458, Sec. 11. Effective September 10, 2004. Operative January 1, 2005, by Sec. 19 of Ch. 458.)

31407.
  

(a) If, after examination or investigation, the commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that any person is conducting business in violation of any provision of this division or related rule or order binding upon it, the commissioner may, by written order addressed to the person, direct the discontinuance of the violation. The order shall be effective immediately, but shall not become final except in accordance with subdivision (b).

(b) An order issued pursuant to this section shall not become final except after notice to the affected person of the commissioner’s intention to make the order final and of the reasons for the finding. The commissioner shall also notify the person that upon receiving a request the matter shall be set for hearing to commence within 15 business days after receipt of the request. The person may consent to have the hearing commence at a later date. If no hearing is requested within 60 days after the mailing or service of the required notice, and none is ordered by the commissioner, the order may become final without a hearing and that person shall immediately discontinue the practices named in the order. If a hearing is requested or ordered it shall be held in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and the commissioner shall have all of the powers granted under that chapter. If, upon the conclusion of the hearing, it appears to the commissioner that the person is violating any provision of this division or any related rule or order binding upon it, the commissioner shall make the order of discontinuance final and the person shall immediately discontinue the practices named in the order.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 458, Sec. 12. Effective September 10, 2004. Operative January 1, 2005, by Sec. 19 of Ch. 458.)

31408.
  

(a) If the commissioner determines it is in the public interest, the commissioner may include in any administrative action brought under this division, including a stop order, a claim for ancillary relief, including, but not limited to, a claim for rescission, restitution or disgorgement or damages on behalf of the persons injured by the act or practice constituting the subject matter of the action, and the administrative law judge shall have jurisdiction to award additional relief. The person affected may be required to attend remedial education, as directed by the commissioner.

(b) In an administrative action brought under this part the commissioner is entitled to recover costs, which in the discretion of the administrative law judge may include any amount representing reasonable attorney’s fees and investigative expenses for the services rendered, for deposit into the State Corporations Fund for the use of the Department of Business Oversight.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 190, Sec. 26. Effective January 1, 2016.)

CORPCorporations Code - CORP