New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Title 45. Chapter 1.
Uniform Enforcement Act
45:1-14. Legislative findings and declarations; liberal construction of act
The Legislature finds and declares that effective implementation of consumer protection laws and the administration of laws pertaining to the professional and occupational boards located within the Division of Consumer Affairs require uniform investigative and enforcement powers and procedures and uniform standards for license revocation, suspension and other disciplinary proceedings by such boards. This act is deemed remedial, and the provisions hereof should be afforded a liberal construction.
45:1-15. Boards and professions or occupations regulated by or through such boards; application of act
The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and all professions or occupations regulated by or through such boards: the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, the New Jersey State Board of Architects, the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, the State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, the State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians, the Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Professional Planners, the State Board of Psychological Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers, the State Board of Shorthand Reporting, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the Acupuncture Examining Board, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the State Board of Respiratory Care, the State Real Estate Appraiser Board, and the State Board of Social Work Examiners.
As used within this act the following words or terms shall have the indicated definition unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
"Board" means any professional or occupational licensing board designated in section 2 of this act.
"Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
"Person" means any natural person or his legal representative, partnership, corporation, company, trust, business entity or association, and any agent, employee, salesman, partner, officer, director, member, stockholder, associate, trustee or cestuis que trust thereof.
45:1-17. Powers of Attorney General to implement act and administer law enforcement activities of boards
In implementing the provisions of this act and administering the law enforcement activities of those professional and occupational boards located within the Division of Consumer Affairs, the Attorney General may:
a. After advice to the board or boards in question of his intent to proceed under this section, and the specific action he intends to take, and the failure of such board or boards to take steps in accordance with the advice of the Attorney General within 30 days of receipt of such advice, promulgate rules and regulations consistent with the provisions of this act and the Administrative Procedure Act, P.L.1968, c. 410 (C. 52:14B-1 et seq.) governing the procedure for administrative hearings before all boards within the Division of Consumer Affairs. Such rules and regulations shall govern administrative complaints, answers thereto, issuance of subpoenas, appointment of hearing examiners, adjournments, submission of proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, the filing of briefs, and such other procedural aspects of administrative hearings before the boards as the Attorney General may deem necessary; provided, however, nothing herein authorized shall be construed to require the Attorney General to promulgate rules regarding prehearing investigative procedures.
b. After advice to the board or boards in question of his intent to proceed under this section, and the specific action he intends to take, and the failure of such board or boards to take steps in accordance with the advice of the Attorney General within 30 days of receipt of such advice, promulgate substantive rules and regulations consistent with the provisions of any statute governing the activities of any licensing agency, board or committee located within the Division of Consumer Affairs, which shall be limited to disciplinary matters and arbitrary restrictions on initial licensure. In addition to promulgating such rules and regulations, the Attorney General may direct that any proposed or existing regulation be amended, abandoned or repealed. Prior to the final adoption of any regulation affecting the activities of any professional or occupational licensing agency, board or committee located within the division and prior to the issuance of any directive to amend, abandon or repeal any regulation, the Attorney General or his designee shall first consult with the agency, board or committee whose activities are affected regarding the proposed action.
c. After a full consideration of all relevant facts and the applicable law, may direct the initiation of any appropriate enforcement action by a professional or occupational licensing board or set aside, modify or amend, as may be necessary, any action or decision of a licensing agency, board or committee located within the Division of Consumer Affairs; provided, however, no such action shall be directed by the Attorney General in reviewing the action or decision of an agency, board or committee unless such action or decision is contrary to applicable law.
45:1-18. Investigative powers of boards, director or attorney general
Whenever it shall appear to any board, the director or the Attorney General that a person has engaged in, or is engaging in any act or practice declared unlawful by a statute or regulation administered by such board, or when the board, the director or the Attorney General shall deem it to be in the public interest to inquire whether any such violation may exist, the board or the director through the Attorney General, or the Attorney General acting independently, may exercise any of the following investigative powers:
a. Require any person to file on such form as may be prescribed, a statement or report in writing under oath, or otherwise, as to the facts and circumstances concerning the rendition of any service or conduct of any sale incidental to the discharge of any act or practice subject to an act or regulation administered by the board;
b. Examine under oath any person in connection with any act or practice subject to an act or regulation administered by the board;
c. Inspect any premises from which a licensed profession or occupation is conducted;
d. Examine any goods, ware or item used in the rendition of any professional or occupational service;
e. Examine any record, book, document, account or paper maintained by or for any professional or occupational licensee in the regular course of practicing such profession or engaging in such occupation;
f. For the purpose of preserving evidence of an unlawful act or practice, pursuant to an order of the Superior Court, impound any record, book, document, account, paper, goods, ware, or item used or maintained by or for any board licensee in the regular course of practicing such profession or engaging in such occupation. In such cases as may be necessary, the Superior Court may, on application of the Attorney General, issue an order sealing items or material subject to this subsection.
In order to accomplish the objectives of this act or any act or regulation administered by a board, the Attorney General may hold such investigative hearings as may be necessary and may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of any person or the production of books, records or papers at any such hearing or inquiry.
45:1-19. Failure or refusal to file statement or report, refusal of access to premises or failure to obey subpoena; penalty
If any person shall fail or refuse to file any statement or report or refuse access to premises from which a licensed profession or occupation is conducted in any lawfully conducted investigative matter or fail to obey a subpoena issued pursuant to this act, the Attorney General may apply to the Superior Court and obtain an order:
a. Adjudging such person in contempt of court; or
b. Granting such other relief as may be required; or
c. Suspending the license of any such person unless and until compliance with the subpoena or investigative demand is effected.
45:1-20. Compelling testimony or production of book, paper or document; immunity from prosecution
If any person shall refuse to testify or produce any book, paper, or other document in any proceeding under this act for the reason that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him may tend to incriminate him, convict him of a crime, or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture, and shall, notwithstanding, be directed to testify or to produce such book, paper, or document by the Attorney General, he shall comply with such direction.
A person who is entitled by law to, and does assert such privilege, and who complies with such direction of the Attorney General shall not thereafter be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture in any criminal proceeding which arises out of and relates to the subject matter of the proceeding. No person so testifying shall be exempt from prosecution or punishment for perjury or false swearing committed by him in giving such testimony or from any civil or administrative action arising from such testimony.
45:1-21. Grounds for refusal to admit to examination or denial, suspension or revocation of any certificate, registration or license; definitions
A board may refuse to admit a person to an examination or may refuse to issue or may suspend or revoke any certificate, registration or license issued by the board upon proof that the applicant or holder of such certificate, registration or license:
a. Has obtained a certificate, registration, license or authorization to sit for an examination, as the case may be, through fraud, deception, or misrepresentation;
b. Has engaged in the use or employment of dishonesty, fraud, deception, misrepresentation, false promise or false pretense;
c. Has engaged in gross negligence, gross malpractice or gross incompetence;
d. Has engaged in repeated acts of negligence, malpractice or incompetence;
e. Has engaged in professional or occupational misconduct as may be determined by the board;
f. Has been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude or any crime relating adversely to the activity regulated by the board. For the purpose of this subsection a plea of guilty, non vult, nolo contendere or any other such disposition of alleged criminal activity shall be deemed a conviction;
g. Has had his authority to engage in the activity regulated by the board revoked or suspended by any other state, agency or authority for reasons consistent with this section; h. Has violated or failed to comply with the provisions of any act or regulation administered by the board;
i. Is incapable, for medical or any other good cause, of discharging the functions of a licensee in a manner consistent with the public's health, safety and welfare;
j. Has repeatedly failed to submit completed applications, or parts of, or documentation submitted in conjunction with, such applications, required to be filed with the Department of Environmental Protection.
k. Has violated any provision of P.L. 1983, c.320 (C.17:33A-1et seq.) or any insurance fraud prevention law or act of another jurisdiction.
For purposes of this act:
"Completed application" means the submission of all of the information designated on the checklist, adopted pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1991, c. 421 (C. 13:1D-101), for the class or category of permit for which application is made.
"Permit" has the same meaning as defined in section 1 of P.L.1991, c. 421 (C. 13:1D-101).
45:1-21.1. Annual summary of compliance information and attendance at continuing education seminars; costs; information deemed public records
a. A board obtaining information from the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1991, c. 418 (C. 13:1D-110) on the compliance of a member of a regulated profession with the requirements for completed applications of the department, shall annually develop a detailed written summary of the information gathered by the department pursuant to P.L.1991, c. 418 (C. 13:1D-110) regarding compliance with the department's requirements for completed applications and attendance records for continuing education seminars required to be filed with the department pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c. 419 (C. 13:1D-117).
b. Any reasonable costs incurred in preparation of the report required pursuant to this section may be included in the charges authorized pursuant to P.L.1974, c. 46 (C. 45:1-3.2).
c. Information required to be compiled by a board pursuant to this section, shall be deemed to be public records subject to the requirements of P.L.1963, c. 73 (C. 47:1A-1 et seq.).
45:1-22. Additional or alternative penalties to revocation, suspension or refusal to renew; temporary order suspending or limiting license; subpoena
In addition or as an alternative, as the case may be, to revoking, suspending or refusing to renew any license, registration or certificate issued by it, a board may, after affording an opportunity to be heard:
a. Issue a letter of warning, reprimand, or censure with regard to any act, conduct or practice which in the judgment of the board upon consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances does not warrant the initiation of formal action;
b. Assess civil penalties in accordance with this act;
c. Order that any person violating any provision of an act or regulation administered by such board to cease and desist from future violations thereof or to take such affirmative corrective action as may be necessary with regard to any act or practice found unlawful by the board;
d. Order any person found to have violated any provision of an act or regulation administered by such board to restore to any person aggrieved by an unlawful act or practice, any moneys or property, real or personal, acquired by means of such act or practice; provided, however, no board shall order restoration in a dollar amount greater than those moneys received by a licensee or his agent or any other person violating the act or regulation administered by the board;
e. Order any person, as a condition for continued, reinstated or renewed licensure, to secure medical or such other professional treatment as may be necessary to properly discharge licensee functions.
A board may, upon a duly verified application of the Attorney General alleging an act or practice violating any provision of an act or regulation administered by such board, enter a temporary order suspending or limiting any license issued by the board pending plenary hearing on an administrative complaint; provided, however, no such temporary order shall be entered unless the application made to the board palpably demonstrates a clear and imminent danger to the public health, safety and welfare and notice of such application is given to the licensee affected by such order.
In any administrative proceeding commenced on a complaint alleging a violation of an act or regulation administered by a board, such board may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of books, records, or documents at the hearing on the complaint.
45:1-23. Summary proceeding in Superior Court; injunction; orders necessary to prevent unlawful practice or remedy past unlawful activity
Whenever it shall appear to a board, the director or the Attorney General that a violation of any act, including the unlicensed practice of the regulated profession or occupation, or regulation administered by such board has occurred, is occurring, or will occur, the Attorney General, in addition to any other proceeding authorized by law, may seek and obtain in a summary proceeding in the Superior Court an injunction prohibiting such act or practice. In any such proceeding the court may assess a civil penalty in accordance with the provisions of this act, order restoration to any person in interest of any moneys or property, real or personal, acquired by means of an unlawful act or practice and may enter such orders as may be necessary to prevent the performance of an unlawful practice in the future and to fully remedy any past unlawful activity. In any action brought pursuant to this section, the court shall not suspend or revoke any license issued by a board.
45:1-24. Failure to comply with order of board directing payment of penalties or restoration of moneys or property; enforcement
Upon the failure of any person to comply within 10 days after service of any order of a board directing payment of penalties or restoration of moneys or property, the Attorney General or the secretary of such board may issue a certificate to the Clerk of the Superior Court that such person is indebted to the State for the payment of such penalty and the moneys or property ordered restored. A copy of such certificate shall be served upon the person against whom the order was entered. Thereupon the clerk shall immediately enter upon his record of docketed judgments the name of the person so indebted and of the State, a designation of the statute under which the penalty is imposed, the amount of the penalty imposed, and amount of moneys ordered restored, a listing of property ordered restored, and the date of the certification. Such entry shall have the same force and effect as the entry of a docketed judgment in the Superior Court, and the Attorney General shall have all rights and remedies of a judgment creditor in addition to exercising any other available remedies. Such entry, however, shall be without prejudice to the right of appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court from the board's order.
An action to enforce the provisions of any order entered by a board or to collect any penalty levied thereby may be brought in any municipal court or the Superior Court in summary manner pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Act, (N.J.S.A.. 2A:58-1 et seq.) and the rules of court governing the collection of civil penalties. Process in such action shall be by summons or warrant, and in the event that the defendant fails to answer such action, the court shall issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest for the purpose of bringing such person before the court to satisfy any order entered.
45:1-25. Violations; civil penalty; action to collect or enforce
Any person violating any provision of an act or regulation administered by a board shall, in addition to any other sanctions provided herein, be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $2,500.00 for the first offense and not more than $5,000.00 for the second and each subsequent offense. For the purpose of construing this section, each transaction or statutory violation shall constitute a separate offense; provided, however, a second or subsequent offense shall not be deemed to exist unless an administrative or court order has been entered in a prior, separate and independent proceeding. In lieu of an administrative proceeding or an action in the Superior Court, the Attorney General may bring an action in the name of any board for the collection or enforcement of civil penalties for the violation of any provision of an act or regulation administered by such board. Such action may be brought in summary manner pursuant to the Penalty Enforcement Act (N.J.S.A.. 2A:58-1 et seq.) and the rules of court governing actions for the collection of civil penalties in the municipal court where the offense occurred. Process in such action may be by summons or warrant and in the event that the defendant in such action fails to answer such action, the court shall, upon finding an unlawful act or practice to have been committed by the defendant, issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest in order to bring such person before the court to satisfy the civil penalties imposed. In any action commenced pursuant to this section, the court may order restored to any person in interest any moneys or property acquired by means of an unlawful act or practice. Any action alleging the unlicensed practice of a profession or occupation shall be brought pursuant to this section or, where injunctive relief is sought, by an action commenced in the Superior Court. In any action brought pursuant to this act, a board or the court may order the payment of costs for the use of the State.
45:1-26. Repeal of inconsistent acts and parts of acts
All acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act are hereby superseded and repealed.
If any provision of this law or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the law which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this law are severable.