MONOPOLIES AND TRADE PRACTICES
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT
48-608. Loss from purchase or lease — Actual and punitive damages. (1) Any person who purchases or leases goods or services and thereby suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful by this chapter, may treat any agreement incident thereto as voidable or, in the alternative, may bring an action to recover actual damages or one thousand dollars ($1,000), whichever is the greater; provided, however, that in the case of a class action, the class may bring an action for actual damages or a total for the class that may not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), whichever is the greater. Any such person or class may also seek restitution, an order enjoining the use or employment of methods, acts or practices declared unlawful under this chapter and any other appropriate relief which the court in its discretion may deem just and necessary. The court may, in its discretion, award punitive damages and may provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper in cases of repeated or flagrant violations.
(2) An elderly person or a disabled person who brings an action under subsection (1) of this section shall, in addition to the remedies available under subsection (1) of this section, recover from the offending party an enhanced penalty of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) or treble the actual damages, whichever is greater.
(a) In order to recover the enhanced penalty, the court must find that the offending party knew or should have known that his conduct was perpetrated against an elderly or disabled person and that his conduct caused one (1) of the following:
(i) Loss or encumbrance of the elderly or disabled person’s primary residence;
(ii) Loss of more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the elderly or disabled person’s principal monthly income;
(iii) Loss of more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the funds belonging to the elderly or disabled person set aside by the elderly or disabled person for retirement or for personal or family care or maintenance;
(iv) Loss of more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the monthly payments that the elderly or disabled person receives under a pension or retirement plan; or
(v) Loss of assets essential to the health or welfare of the elderly or disabled person.
(b) If the court orders restitution under subsection (1) of this section for a pecuniary or monetary loss suffered by an elderly or disabled person, the court shall require that the restitution be paid by the offending party before he pays the enhanced penalty imposed by this subsection.
(c) In this subsection:
(i) "Disabled person" means a person who has an impairment of a physical, mental or emotional nature that substantially limits at least one (1) major life activity.
(ii) "Elderly person" means a person who is at least sixty-two (62) years of age.
(iii) "Major life activity" means self-care, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks or being able to be gainfully employed.
(3) An action brought under subsection (1) of this section may be brought in the county in which the person against whom it is brought resides, has his principal place of business, or is doing business, or in the county where the transaction or any substantial portion thereof occurred.
(4) Upon commencement of any action brought under this section, the clerk of the court shall, for informational purposes only, mail a copy of the complaint or other initial pleading to the attorney general and, upon entry of any judgment or decree in the action, shall mail a copy of such judgment or decree to the attorney general.
(5) Costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs. In any action brought by a person under this section, the court shall award, in addition to the relief provided in this section, reasonable attorney’s fees to the plaintiff if he prevails. The court in its discretion may award attorney’s fees to a prevailing defendant if it finds that the plaintiff’s action is spurious or brought for harassment purposes only.
(6) Any permanent injunction, judgment or order of the court made under section 48-606(1) through (3) or section 48-607, Idaho Code, shall be admissible as evidence in an action brought under this section that the respondent used or employed a method, act or practice declared unlawful by this chapter.
[48-608, added 1971, ch. 181, sec. 9, p. 847; am. 1973, ch. 285, sec. 8, p. 601; am. 1990, ch. 273, sec. 6, p. 771; am. 2008, ch. 257, sec. 1, p. 749.]