§ 143‑151.77.  Enforcement and penalties.

(a) In addition to injunctive relief, the Commissioner may assess and collect a civil penalty against any person who violates any of the provisions of this Article or rules adopted pursuant to this Article, as provided in this section. The maximum civil penalty for a violation is five thousand dollars ($5,000). A civil penalty may be assessed from the date of the violation. Each day of a continuing violation may constitute a separate violation.

(b) The Commissioner shall determine the amount of the civil penalty and shall notify the person who is assessed the civil penalty of the amount of the penalty and the reason for assessing the penalty. The notice of assessment shall be served by any means authorized under Rule 4 of G.S. 1A‑1 and shall direct the violator to either pay the assessment or contest the assessment within 30 calendar days by filing a petition for a contested case under Article 3 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. If a violator does not pay a civil penalty assessed by the Commissioner within 30 calendar days after it is due, the Commissioner shall request that the Attorney General institute a civil action to recover the amount of the assessment. The civil action may be brought in the superior court of any county where the violation occurred. A civil action must be filed within one year of the date the assessment was due. An assessment that is not contested is due when the violator is served with a notice of assessment. An assessment that is contested is due at the conclusion of the administrative and judicial review of the assessment.

(c) In determining the amount of the penalty, the Commissioner shall consider the degree and extent of harm caused by the violation, the cost of rectifying the damage, the amount of money the violator saved by noncompliance, whether the violation was committed willfully, the prior record of the violator in complying or failing to comply with this Article, and the action of the person to remedy the violation.

(d) The clear proceeds of civil penalties collected by the Commissioner under this subsection shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C‑457.2. (2013‑206, s. 1; 2014‑115, s. 13.)