(a) Jurisdiction of United States district courts; administrative action
The several district courts of the United States are vested with jurisdiction specifically to enforce, and to prevent and restrain any person from violating any plan or regulation made or issued under this chapter. The facts relating to any civil action authorized to be brought under this subsection shall be referred to the Attorney General for appropriate action: Provided, That nothing in this chapter shall be construed as requiring the Secretary to refer to the Attorney General violations of this chapter whenever the Secretary believes that the administration and enforcement of any such plan or regulation would be adequately served by administrative action under subsection (b) of this section or suitable written notice or warning to any person committing such violations.
(b) Civil penalties; cease and desist orders; appeal; failure to comply with order or assessment; further proceedings and penalties
(1) Any person who violates any provision of any plan or regulation issued by the Secretary under this chapter, or who fails or refuses to pay, collect, or remit any assessment or fee duly required of such person thereunder, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not less than $500 or more than $5,000 for each such violation. Each violation shall be a separate offense. In addition to or in lieu of such civil penalty the Secretary may issue an order requiring such person to cease and desist from continuing such violations. No penalty shall be assessed or cease and desist order issued unless such person is given notice and opportunity for a hearing before the Secretary with respect to such violation, and the order of the Secretary assessing a penalty or imposing a cease and desist order shall be final and conclusive unless the affected person files an appeal from the Secretary’s order with the appropriate United States court of appeals.
(2) Any person against whom a violation is found and a civil penalty assessed or cease and desist order issued under subsection (b)(1) of this section may obtain review in the court of appeals of the United States for the circuit in which such person resides or carries on business or in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by filing a notice of appeal in such court within thirty days from the date of such order and by simultaneously sending a copy of such notice by certified mail to the Secretary. The Secretary shall promptly file in such court a certified copy of the record upon which such violation was found. The findings of the Secretary shall be set aside only if found to be unsupported by substantial evidence.
(3) Any person who fails to obey a cease and desist order after it has become final and unappealable, or after the appropriate court of appeals has entered a final judgment in favor of the Secretary, shall be subject to a civil penalty assessed by the Secretary, after opportunity for a hearing and for judicial review under the procedures specified in subsections (b)(1) and (2) of this section, of not more than $500 for each offense, and each day during which such failure continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
(4) If any person fails to pay an assessment of a civil penalty after it has become a final and unappealable order, or after the appropriate court of appeals has entered final judgment in favor of the Secretary, the Secretary shall refer the matter to the Attorney General for recovery of the amount assessed in any appropriate district court of the United States. In such action, the validity and appropriateness of the final order imposing the civil penalty shall not be subject to review.
AMENDMENTS 1982—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 97–244 substituted "from violating any plan or regulation made or issued under this chapter" for "from violating, any plan or regulation made or issued pursuant to this chapter", and inserted provision that the facts relating to any civil action authorized to be brought under this subsection must be referred to the Attorney General for appropriate action, provided that nothing in this chapter shall be construed as requiring the Secretary to refer to the Attorney General violations of this chapter whenever the Secretary believes that the administration and enforcement of any such plan or regulation would be adequately served by administrative action under subsec. (b) of this section or suitable written notice or warning to any person committing such violations. Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 97–244 added subsec. (b). Former subsec. (b), which provided that any handler who violated any provision of any plan issued by the Secretary under this chapter, or who failed or refused to remit any assessment or fee duly required of him thereunder, would be subject to criminal prosecution and would be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each such offense, was struck out.
7 U.S.C. § 2621 (2018)