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(a) Any manufacturer, distributor or motor vehicle dealer who suffers any loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by a manufacturer, distributor or motor vehicle dealer of an unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or practice as defined by this chapter, any act prohibited or declared unlawful by this chapter, or any rule or regulation adopted under this chapter, may bring an action in the superior court, or if applicable in the federal district court for the district of Massachusetts, for damages and equitable relief, including injunctive relief, as described in the following sentence: The party filing suit may obtain equitable relief if it can be demonstrated: (1) that the unfair method of competition, deceptive act or practice, or violation if not enjoined would have a substantial likelihood of causing loss of money or property or of causing damage to the public, and (2) that all other customary standards governing the issuance of injunctive relief in accordance with Massachusetts or Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as applicable, are met.
(b) Before filing suit under any section of this chapter except section 8, all parties to the dispute shall meet and confer for purposes of discussing settlement. Failure to do so may be deemed evidence during any court proceeding of bad faith on the part of the party making no reasonable effort, or ignoring others' efforts, to confer. If the party prevailing in the suit made no reasonable effort, or ignored others' efforts, to so confer, the party shall be prohibited from collecting an award of attorneys' fees as described in subsection (c).
(c) If the prevailing party in any action or protest brought under this chapter successfully demonstrates to the court that the actions, claims or defenses of the other party were asserted in bad faith, then the court shall, in addition to other relief provided for by this chapter and notwithstanding the amount in controversy and whether the prevailing party has sustained any actual damage, award to the prevailing party its reasonable costs of suit, including reasonable attorneys' fees.
(d) Any person against whom any claim is asserted under this section may tender within 30 days after service of the complaint in the action a written offer of settlement containing specific settlement terms. If the offer of settlement is not accepted within 15 days by the other person, and the court finds that the relief offered was reasonable in relation to the injury actually suffered, not including attorneys' fees and costs, the court award shall not exceed the offer. This subsection shall limit any award of attorneys' fees or costs awarded pursuant to subsection (c).
(e) The rights and remedies provided for in this chapter shall be the exclusive rights and remedies available under state law arising out of a violation of this chapter. Notwithstanding any term or provision of a franchise agreement to the contrary: (1) the laws of the commonwealth shall govern the interpretation of the franchise agreement of a motor vehicle dealer located in the commonwealth and the performance of the parties thereunder, and (2) the courts of the commonwealth and the federal courts with jurisdiction over cases filed in the district of Massachusetts shall have exclusive jurisdiction with respect to any action brought under this chapter or any action brought by a manufacturer, distributor or motor vehicle dealer concerning the franchise of a motor vehicle dealer located in the commonwealth.
(1) Acts.Whoever does any of the following may be penalized as provided in sub. (3):
(a) Intentionally takes and carries away, uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of movable property of another without the other's consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of such property.
(b) By virtue of his or her office, business or employment, or as trustee or bailee, having possession or custody of money or of a negotiable security, instrument, paper or other negotiable writing of another, intentionally uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of such money, security, instrument, paper or writing without the owner's consent, contrary to his or her authority, and with intent to convert to his or her own use or to the use of any other person except the owner. A refusal to deliver any money or a negotiable security, instrument, paper or other negotiable writing, which is in his or her possession or custody by virtue of his or her office, business or employment, or as trustee or bailee, upon demand of the person entitled to receive it, or as required by law, is prima facie evidence of an intent to convert to his or her own use within the meaning of this paragraph.
(c) Having a legal interest in movable property, intentionally and without consent, takes such property out of the possession of a pledgee or other person having a superior right of possession, with intent thereby to deprive the pledgee or other person permanently of the possession of such property.
(d) Obtains title to property of another person by intentionally deceiving the person with a false representation which is known to be false, made with intent to defraud, and which does defraud the person to whom it is made. “False representation” includes a promise made with intent not to perform it if it is a part of a false and fraudulent scheme.
(e) Intentionally fails to return any personal property which is in his or her possession or under his or her control by virtue of a written lease or written rental agreement after the lease or rental agreement has expired. This paragraph does not apply to a person who returns personal property, except a motor vehicle, which is in his or her possession or under his or her control by virtue of a written lease or written rental agreement, within 10 days after the lease or rental agreement expires.
(2) Definitions.In this section:
(ac) “Adult at risk” has the meaning given in s. 55.01(1e).
(ad) “Elder adult at risk” has the meaning given in s. 46.90(1)(br).
(ae) “Individual at risk” means an elder adult at risk or an adult at risk.
(ag) “Movable property” is property whose physical location can be changed, without limitation including electricity and gas, documents which represent or embody intangible rights, and things growing on, affixed to or found in land.
(am) “Patient” has the meaning given in s. 940.295(1)(L).
(b) “Property” means all forms of tangible property, whether real or personal, without limitation including electricity, gas and documents which represent or embody a chose in action or other intangible rights.
(c) “Property of another” includes property in which the actor is a co-owner and property of a partnership of which the actor is a member, unless the actor and the victim are husband and wife.
(cm) “Resident” has the meaning given in s. 940.295(1)(p).
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, “value” means the market value at the time of the theft or the cost to the victim of replacing the property within a reasonable time after the theft, whichever is less. If the property stolen is a document evidencing a chose in action or other intangible right, “value” means either the market value of the chose in action or other right or the intrinsic value of the document, whichever is greater. If the property stolen is scrap metal, as defined in s. 134.405(1)(f), or “plastic bulk merchandise container” as defined in s. 134.405(1)(em), “value” also includes any costs that would be incurred in repairing or replacing any property damaged in the theft or removal of the scrap metal or plastic bulk merchandise container. If the thief gave consideration for, or had a legal interest in, the stolen property, the amount of such consideration or value of such interest shall be deducted from the total value of the property.
(3) Penalties.Whoever violates sub. (1):
(a) If the value of the property does not exceed $2,500, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(bf) If the value of the property exceeds $2,500 but does not exceed $5,000, is guilty of a Class I felony.
(bm) If the value of the property exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000, is guilty of a Class H felony.
(c) If the value of the property exceeds $10,000 but does not exceed $100,000, is guilty of a Class G felony.
(cm) If the value of the property exceeds $100,000, is guilty of a Class F felony.
(d) If any of the following circumstances exists, is guilty of a Class H felony:
1. The property is a domestic animal.
3. The property is taken from a building which has been destroyed or left unoccupied because of physical disaster, riot, bombing or the proximity of battle.
4. The property is taken after physical disaster, riot, bombing or the proximity of battle has necessitated its removal from a building.
5. The property is a firearm.
6. The property is taken from a patient or resident of a facility or program under s. 940.295(2) or from an individual at risk.
(e) If the property is taken from the person of another or from a corpse, is guilty of a Class G felony.
(4) Use of photographs as evidence.In any action or proceeding for a violation of sub. (1), a party may use duly identified and authenticated photographs of property which was the subject of the violation in lieu of producing the property.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Massachusetts General Laws Part I. Administration of the Government (Ch. 1-182) Ch. 93B, § 15 - last updated January 01, 2020 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ma/part-i-administration-of-the-government-ch-1-182/ma-gen-laws-ch-93b-sect-15/
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