California Government Code

Sec. § 8670.68


(a)

The administrator may issue a complaint to any person on whom civil liability may be imposed pursuant to Section 8670.67 or 8670.67.5. The complaint shall allege the facts or failures to act that constitute a basis for liability and the amount of the proposed civil liability. The complaint shall be served by personal service or certified mail and shall inform the party so served of the right to a hearing. Any person served with a complaint pursuant to this subdivision may, within 10 days after service of the complaint, request a hearing by filing with the administrator a notice of defense. A notice of defense is deemed to be filed within the 10-day period if it is postmarked within the 10-day period. If a hearing is requested by the respondent, it shall be conducted within 90 days after receipt of the notice of defense by the administrator. If no notice of defense is filed within 10 days after service of the complaint, the administrator shall issue an order setting liability in the amount proposed in the complaint unless the administrator and the party have entered into a settlement agreement, in which case the administrator shall issue an order setting liability in the amount specified in the settlement agreement. If the party has not filed a notice of defense or if the administrator and the party have entered into a settlement agreement, the order shall not be subject to review by any court or agency.

(b)

Any hearing required under this section shall be conducted by an independent hearing officer according to the procedures specified in Sections 11507 to 11517, inclusive, except as otherwise specified in this section. In making a determination, the hearing officer shall take into consideration the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the violation, the violator’s past and present efforts to prevent, abate, or clean up conditions posing a threat to the public health and safety of the environment, and the violator’s ability to pay the proposed civil penalty. After conducting any hearing required under this section, the hearing officer shall, within 30 days after the case is submitted, issue a decision, including an order setting the amount of civil penalty to be imposed.

(c)

Orders setting civil liability issued pursuant to this section shall become effective and final upon issuance, and payment shall be made within 30 days of issuance. Copies of the orders shall be served by personal service or by certified mail upon the party served with the complaint and upon other persons who appeared at the hearing and requested a copy.

(d)

Within 30 days after service of a copy of a decision issued by the hearing officer, any person so served may file with a court of appeal a petition for writ of mandate for review of the decision. Any person who fails to file the petition within the 30-day period may not challenge the reasonableness or validity of a decision or order of the hearing officer in any judicial proceedings brought to enforce the decision or order or for other remedies. Except as otherwise provided in this section, Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall govern any proceedings conducted pursuant to this subdivision. In all proceedings pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall uphold the decision of the hearing officer if the decision is based upon substantial evidence in the whole record. The filing of a petition for writ of mandate shall not stay any corrective action required pursuant to this act or the accrual of any penalties assessed pursuant to this act. This subdivision does not prohibit the court from granting any appropriate relief within its jurisdiction.

(e)

Any order for administrative penalties entered pursuant to his section shall be subject to interest at the legal rate from the filing of the complaint as specified in subdivision (a). The prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
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Last accessed
Jun. 6, 2016