Code Section Group

Food and Agricultural Code - FAC

DIVISION 20. PROCESSORS, STORERS, DEALERS, AND DISTRIBUTORS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS [54001 - 57700]

  ( Division 20 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

CHAPTER 6. Processors of Farm Products [55401 - 55922]

  ( Chapter 6 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

ARTICLE 2. General Provisions [55431 - 55439]
  ( Article 2 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

55431.
  

The marketing of agricultural commodities within this state is hereby declared to be affected with the public interest. The provisions of this chapter are enacted in the exercise of the police powers of this state for the purpose of protecting the health, peace, safety, and general welfare of the people of this state.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)

55432.
  

The director may publish in pamphlet form as often as he thinks necessary a list of processors that are licensed pursuant to this chapter, together with all necessary regulations which concern the enforcement of this chapter.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)

55433.
  

Any money in the Department of Food and Agriculture Fund which was derived pursuant to this chapter, or Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 56101), may be expended for the administration and enforcement of these chapters and Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 56701), notwithstanding any other provision of law which limits the expenditure of any such money to the specific purposes or to the administration or enforcement of each of the chapters separately.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 193, Sec. 27.)

55435.
  

No provisions in any bond which is given pursuant to any provision of this chapter which attempts by contract to shorten the period which is prescribed for the commencement of an action on the bond by Section 337 of the Code of Civil Procedure, is valid if such provision attempts to limit the time for commencement of action on the bond to a shorter period than six months from the termination of the 35-day period which is covered by such bond.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)

55435.5.
  

(a) Except pursuant to an exemption granted by the department, no person licensed under this chapter shall employ as an agent any person who meets any of the following criteria:

(1) Whose license has been revoked, or is currently suspended.

(2) Who has committed any one flagrant or repeated violations of this chapter or Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 56101).

(3) Who failed to pay a producer’s claims for which the person, or, where the person controlled the decision to pay, the person’s employer, was liable, and which arose out of the conduct of a business licensed, or required to be licensed, under this chapter or Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 56101).

(4) Who has been convicted of a crime that includes as one of its elements the financial victimization of another person.

(b) The department may approve the employment of any person covered under subdivision (a), if the licensee furnishes and maintains a surety bond in the form and amount satisfactory to the department, but which shall not be less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), as assurance that the licensee’s business will be conducted in accordance with this chapter and that the licensee will pay all amounts due California producers. The department may approve employment without a surety bond after the expiration of four years from the effective date of the applicable disciplinary order. The department, based on changes in the nature and volume of business conducted by the licensee, may require an increase or authorize a reduction in the amount of the bond, but in no case shall the bond be reduced below ten thousand dollars ($10,000). A licensee who is notified by the department to provide a bond in an increased amount shall do so within a reasonable time to be specified by the department, and if the licensee fails to do so, the approval of employment shall automatically terminate. The department may suspend or revoke the license of any licensee who, after the date given in the notice, continues to employ any person in violation of this section.

(c) The department may obtain access to a licensee’s or agent’s criminal record during the course of a licensing investigation opened for other reasons or if the department is presented with a reasonable basis to believe an agent or licensee satisfies any of the criteria set forth in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (a). The Department of Justice shall furnish criminal record information to the department at the department’s request. If the information thereby obtained reveals a conviction for a crime that includes as one of its elements the financial victimization of another person, the department shall bring this to the attention of the licensee and the agent by a written notice. This written notice shall set out the charges against the licensee or agent, prohibit employment or revoke or deny the license effective if and when any rights to an administrative hearing have been exhausted, and set out the licensee’s or agent’s rights under this section.

(d) The department may grant an exemption on presentation of substantial, clear, and convincing evidence to support a reasonable belief as to any of the following:

(1) There has been a mistake of fact or identity.

(2) The present role as an agent provides no opportunity for a repeat of the prior behavior.

(3) The person has been rehabilitated.

All submissions shall be authenticated and verified under penalty of perjury. Unless the licensee or agent can prove one of these three elements by substantial, clear, and convincing evidence, the department shall deny the request for exemption.

(e) (1) A licensee or agent who has been identified by the department as satisfying any of the criteria set forth in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (a) and who has not been granted an exemption by the department shall be afforded a hearing upon the licensee’s or agent’s request under this chapter. The licensee or agent shall not have a right of hearing if the department did not notify the employer or deny an exemption.

(2) At the hearing, the department shall have the burden to prove that any of the criteria set forth in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (a) are satisfied by a preponderance of the evidence. It shall be the licensee’s or agent’s burden to prove rehabilitation by substantial, clear, and convincing evidence.

(3) In the case of a criminal conviction, “convicted of a crime” includes a plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere. Any action that the department is permitted to take following the establishment of a conviction may be taken when the time for appeal has elapsed, the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal, or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence, notwithstanding a subsequent order pursuant to Sections 1203.4 and 1203.4a of the Penal Code permitting the person to withdraw his or her plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information, or indictment. For purposes of this section or any other provision of this chapter, the record of a conviction, or a copy thereof certified by the clerk of the court or by a judge of the court in which the conviction occurred, shall be conclusive evidence of the conviction.

(4) For purposes of this section or any other provision of this chapter, a certified copy of a decision and order or minutes of the court in which a finding is made concerning any of the criteria set forth in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (a), is prima facie evidence of the truth of the charge and collateral estoppel applies.

(f) The documents and information procured pursuant to this section shall be considered the records of a consumer and shall not be construed to be a public record. The documents and information shall remain confidential, except in actions brought by the department to enforce this division, or as a result of the issuance of a subpoena in accordance with Section 1985.4 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The unauthorized release of the documents received from the Department of Justice or the information contained in those documents is a misdemeanor.

(Amended by Stats. 1997, Ch. 696, Sec. 2.5. Effective January 1, 1998.)

55436.
  

Civil suits and criminal prosecutions which arise by virtue of any provision of this chapter may be commenced and tried in any of the following:

(a) The county where the products were received by the processor.

(b) The county in which the principal place of business of such processor is located.

(c) The county in which the violation of this chapter occurred.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)

55437.
  

The rights, remedies, and penalties which are provided for in this chapter are in addition to any other rights, remedies, or penalties which are provided for by law, and any acts or parts of acts in conflict therewith are hereby repealed.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)

55438.
  

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the provisions of Part 2 (commencing with Section 307) of the Code of Civil Procedure are applicable to, and constitute the rules of practice in, the proceedings which are mentioned in this chapter, and the provisions of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure relative to new trials and appeals, except insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, apply to the proceedings which are mentioned in this chapter.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)

55439.
  

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, or part of this chapter is for any reason adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder of this chapter, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, or part of this chapter which is directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment is rendered.

(Enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15.)

FACFood and Agricultural Code - FAC2