2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Civil remedies; limitation on civil and criminal actions.
Civil remedies; limitation on civil and criminal actions.
812.035 Civil remedies; limitation on civil and criminal actions.—
(1) Any circuit court may, after making due provisions for the rights of innocent persons, enjoin violations of the provisions of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081 by issuing appropriate orders and judgments, including, but not limited to:
(a) Ordering any defendant to divest himself or herself of any interest in any enterprise, including real estate.
(b) Imposing reasonable restrictions upon the future activities or investments of any defendant, including, but not limited to, prohibiting any defendant from engaging in the same type of endeavor as the enterprise in which he or she was engaged in violation of the provisions of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081.
(c) Ordering the dissolution or reorganization of any enterprise.
(d) Ordering the suspension or revocation of any license, permit, or prior approval granted to any enterprise by any department or agency of the state.
(e) Ordering the forfeiture of the charter of a corporation organized under the laws of the state or the revocation of a certificate authorizing a foreign corporation to conduct business within the state, upon finding that the board of directors or a managerial agent acting on behalf of the corporation, in conducting the affairs of the corporation, has authorized or engaged in conduct in violation of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081 and that, for the prevention of future criminal activity, the public interest requires the charter of the corporation forfeited and the corporation dissolved or the certificate revoked.
(2) All property, real or personal, including money, used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through conduct in violation of a provision of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081 is subject to civil forfeiture to the state. The state shall dispose of all forfeited property as soon as commercially feasible. If property is not exercisable or transferable for value by the state, it shall expire. All forfeitures or dispositions under this section shall be made with due provision for the rights of innocent persons.
(3) Property subject to forfeiture under this section may be seized by a law enforcement officer upon court process. Seizure without process may be made if:
(a) The seizure is incident to a lawful arrest or search or an inspection under an administrative inspection warrant.
(b) The property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a forfeiture proceeding based upon this section.
(c) The law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the property is directly or indirectly dangerous to the public health or safety.
(d) The law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the property is otherwise subject to forfeiture under this section.
(4) In the event of a seizure under subsection (3), a forfeiture proceeding shall be instituted promptly. When property is seized under this section, pending forfeiture and final disposition, the law enforcement officer may:
(a) Place the property under seal.
(b) Remove the property to a place designated by the court.
(c) Require another agency authorized by law to take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location.
(5) The Department of Legal Affairs, any state attorney, or any state agency having jurisdiction over conduct in violation of a provision of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081 may institute civil proceedings under this section. In any action brought under this section, the circuit court shall proceed as soon as practicable to the hearing and determination. Pending final determination, the circuit court may at any time enter such injunctions, prohibitions, or restraining orders, or take such actions, including the acceptance of satisfactory performance bonds, as the court may deem proper.
(6) Any aggrieved person may institute a proceeding under subsection (1). In such proceeding, relief shall be granted in conformity with the principles that govern the granting of injunctive relief from threatened loss or damage in other civil cases, except that no showing of special or irreparable damage to the person shall have to be made. Upon the execution of proper bond against damages for an injunction improvidently granted and a showing of immediate danger of significant loss or damage, a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction may be issued in any such action before a final determination on the merits.
(7) The state, including any of its agencies, instrumentalities, subdivisions, or municipalities, if it proves by clear and convincing evidence that it has been injured in any fashion by reason of any violation of the provisions of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081, has a cause of action for threefold the actual damages sustained and, in any such action, is entitled to minimum damages in the amount of $200 and shall also recover court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in the trial and appellate courts. In no event shall punitive damages be awarded under this section. The defendant shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs in the trial and appellate courts upon a finding that the claimant raised a claim which was without substantial fact or legal support.
(8) A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the state in any criminal proceeding under ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081 shall estop the defendant in any subsequent civil action or proceeding as to all matters as to which such judgment or decree would be an estoppel as between the parties.
(9) The Department of Legal Affairs may, upon timely application, intervene in any civil action or proceeding brought under subsection (6) or subsection (7) if he or she certifies that, in his or her opinion, the action or proceeding is of general public importance. In such action or proceeding, the state shall be entitled to the same relief as if the Department of Legal Affairs had instituted this action or proceeding.
(10) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a criminal or civil action or proceeding under ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081 may be commenced at any time within 5 years after the cause of action accrues; however, in a criminal proceeding under ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081, the period of limitation does not run during any time when the defendant is continuously absent from the state or is without a reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the state, but in no case shall this extend the period of limitation otherwise applicable by more than 1 year. If a criminal prosecution or civil action or other proceeding is brought, or intervened in, to punish, prevent, or restrain any violation of the provisions of ss. 812.012-812.037 or s. 812.081, the running of the period of limitations prescribed by this section with respect to any cause of action arising under subsection (6) or subsection (7) which is based in whole or in part upon any matter complained of in any such prosecution, action, or proceeding shall be suspended during the pendency of such prosecution, action, or proceeding and for 2 years following its termination.
History.—s. 12, ch. 77-342; s. 293, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 84-304; s. 2, ch. 85-34; s. 4, ch. 86-277; s. 5, ch. 92-79; s. 1238, ch. 97-102; s. 4, ch. 2016-5.