Enforcing laws relating to unfair business practices committed by regulated entities.
During the investigation of a complaint alleging a violation of consumer protection laws, a district attorney or deputy or assistant district attorney (district attorney) may request records from a state or local licensing authority (licensing authority) regarding a regulated individual (regulated person) who is the subject of a complaint if the complaint states:
According to the district attorney, the complainant suffered damages totaling at least $20,000, which appears reasonable given the conduct alleged in the complaint; or
Two or more regulated persons jointly engaged in the conduct that is the subject of the complaint.
Licensees may only perform activities at specific premises if they are authorized to do so by state licensing authorities. When a complaint is filed against a person regulated by a board or commission, a district attorney may not request records from a licensing authority.
Upon receiving such a request, the licensing authority shall share its records with the district attorney and allow the district attorney to inspect them if no action has been taken against the regulated person or persons.
In addition, the act authorizes state licensing authorities to enter into an interagency agreement with the attorney general or the attorney general’s designee for the referral of complaints alleging violations of consumer protection laws, subject to approval by the head of the executive department in which the state licensing authority is located.
A regulated person is entitled to costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred and actual damages sustained in relation to the district attorney’s or attorney general’s investigation and in relation to a licensing authority’s investigation in a related matter if a court determines that the complaint that led to the district attorney’s or attorney’ general’s investigation is frivolous, groundless, and was filed in bad faith or if the regulated person prevails or substantially prevails in the matter.