Commerce and Trade


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Subchapter VIII. Enhanced Penalties when Elder Person or Person with a Disability Targeted

(a) "Elder person'' means a person who is 65 years of age or older.

(b) "Major life activities'' includes functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

(c) "Person with a disability'' means a person who has a disability as defined in § 4602 of this title.

(d) "Substantially limits'' means substantially interferes with or affects over an extended period of time. Minor temporary ailments or injuries shall not be considered physical or mental impairments which substantially limit a person's major life activities. Examples of minor temporary ailments are colds, influenza or sprains or minor injuries.

69 Del. Laws, c. 151, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 4, 5.;

(a) If any person is found to have violated any provision of this chapter, and said violation is committed against an elder person or a person with a disability, in addition to any criminal or civil penalty otherwise set forth or imposed, the court may impose an additional civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for each violation.

(b) The civil penalties imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be deposited with the State Treasurer and placed into the Consumer Protection Fund as created by § 2527 of this title, shall be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly, and shall be used for the investigation and prosecution of deceptive acts against elder and disabled persons and for consumer education initiatives.

69 Del. Laws, c. 151, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 6.;

In determining whether to impose an enhanced civil penalty under this subchapter and the amount thereof, the court shall consider the extent to which 1 or more of the following factors are present:

(1) Whether the defendant's conduct was in disregard of the rights of the elder person or person with a disability;

(2) Whether the defendant knew or should have known that the defendant's conduct was directed to an elder person or person with a disability;

(3) Whether the elder person or person with a disability was more vulnerable to the defendant's conduct because of age, poor health, infirmity, impaired understanding, restricted mobility or disability than other persons and whether the elder person or person with a disability actually suffered substantial physical, emotional or economic damage resulting from the defendant's conduct;

(4) Whether the defendant's conduct caused an elder person or person with a disability to suffer any of the following:

a. Mental or emotional anguish;

b. Loss of or encumbrance upon a primary residence of the elder person or person with a disability;

c. Loss of or encumbrance upon the principal employment or principal source of income of the elder person or person with a disability;

d. Loss of funds received under a pension or retirement plan or a government benefits program;

e. Loss of property set aside for retirement or for personal or family care and maintenance; or

f. Loss of assets essential to the health and welfare of the elder person or person with a disability.

(5) Any other factors the court deems appropriate.

69 Del. Laws, c. 151, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 7-14.;

(a) An elder person or person with a disability who suffers damage or injury as a result of an offense or violation described in this chapter has a cause of action to recover actual damages, court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

(b) If a private cause of action is brought by the victim of a violation of this subchapter, and said victim was 65 years of age or older or a person with a disability when the violation occurred, the victim shall be entitled to recover 3 times the amount of the victim's compensatory damages if a violation of this subchapter is established. Such treble damages shall be in addition to any other damages to which the victim is entitled pursuant to common law or other provisions of the Delaware Code.

(c) Restitution ordered pursuant to this section has priority over a civil penalty imposed pursuant to this subchapter.

69 Del. Laws, c. 151, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 113, §§ 3, 4; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 15, 16.;

The Attorney General shall establish and maintain referral procedures with the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities within the Department of Health and Social Services in order to provide any necessary intervention and assistance to elder persons or persons with disabilities who may have been victimized by violations of this chapter.

69 Del. Laws, c. 151, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 345, § 5; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 17.;