Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
Chapter 52. Milk, Milk Products, and Dairies
9/21/2019

§ 3.2-5216. Condemnation of adulterated, misbranded products.

Any product referred to by § 3.2-5215 shall be liable to be proceeded against and condemned.

At any time prior to the expiration of the 20-day detention period provided by § 3.2-5215, the Commissioner shall notify the attorney for the Commonwealth for the city or county where such detention was made in writing. Upon receiving written notification, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall forthwith file in the name of the Commonwealth any information against the detained product in the clerk's office of the circuit court of the county or city where the detention was made. Upon the filing of such information, the clerk of court shall forthwith issue a warrant directing the sheriff to seize the detained product and see to its transportation to a suitable place of storage that, if necessary, may be outside of the county or city served by the sheriff. Should the attorney for the Commonwealth, for any reason, fail to file such information within five days after receipt of written notice of detention of the product, the same may, at any time within 30 days thereafter be filed by the Attorney General and the proceedings thereon shall be the same as if filed by the attorney for the Commonwealth.

Such information shall allege the seizure, and set forth in general terms the grounds of forfeiture of the seized product, and shall petition that the same be condemned and sold and the proceeds disposed of according to law, and that all persons concerned or interested be cited to appear and show cause why such product should not be condemned and sold to enforce the forfeiture. After the filing of the information, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall apply to the judge of the court wherein the information was filed for a hearing on the matters contained in the information. The judge of the court shall move the cause to the head of the docket and the hearing shall be had as soon as practical to do so.

The owner of and all persons in any manner then indebted or liable for the purchase price of the product and any person having a lien thereon, if they be known to the attorney who files the information, shall be made parties defendant thereto, and shall be served with the notice provided for, in the manner provided by law for serving a notice, at least 10 days before the day specified for the hearing on the information, if they are residents of the Commonwealth; and if they are unknown or nonresidents, or cannot with reasonable diligence be found in the Commonwealth, they shall be deemed sufficiently served by publication of the notice once a week for two successive weeks in some newspaper published in the county or city, or if there be none published therein, then in some newspaper having general circulation, and a notice shall be sent by registered mail of such seizure to the last known address of the owner of the detained product.

Any person claiming to be the owner of such product or to hold a lien thereon, may appear at any time before final judgment of the trial court, and be made a party defendant to the information so filed, which appearance shall be by answer, under oath, in which shall be clearly set forth the nature of such defendant's claim, whether as owner or as lienor, and if as owner, the right or title by which he claims to be such owner, and if lienor, the amount and character of his lien, and the evidence thereof; and in either case, such defendant shall set forth fully any reason or cause that he may have to show against the forfeiture of the product.

If such product is condemned, it shall, after entry of the decree, be disposed of by destruction or sale as the court may direct and the proceeds, if sold, less the court costs and fees, and storage and other proper expenses, shall be paid into the state treasury, but the product shall not be sold contrary to the regulations of the Board; provided, that upon the execution and delivery of a good and sufficient bond conditioned that the product shall not be sold or otherwise disposed of contrary to the regulations of the Board, the court may direct that such product be delivered to a claimant thereof, who may have appeared in the proceedings, subject to such supervision by the Commissioner as is necessary to insure compliance with the applicable regulations. When a decree of condemnation is entered against a product and it is released under bond, or destroyed, court costs and fees, and storage and other proper expenses may, as the court deems just, be awarded against the person, if any, intervening as claimant of the product.

If a claimant denies for any reason that the product to be condemned is subject to condemnation as provided by this section, and shall demand a trial by jury of the issue thus made, then the court shall, under proper instructions, submit the same to a jury of five, to be selected and empanelled as prescribed by law. If the jury finds in favor of the claimant, or if the court, trying such issue without a jury, so finds, the judgment of the court shall be to entirely relieve the product from forfeiture, and no costs shall be taxed against such claimant.

1970, c. 48, § 3.1-562.9; 2008, c. 860.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.