HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 581        FILED ON: 1/13/2017

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 957

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

John W. Scibak

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act prohibiting non-disparagement clauses in certain contracts.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 581        FILED ON: 1/13/2017

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 957

By Mr. Scibak of South Hadley, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 957) of John W. Scibak relative to contracts or proposed contracts for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services.  The Judiciary.

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE HOUSE, NO. 1593 OF 2015-2016.]

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninetieth General Court
(2017-2018)

_______________

 

An Act prohibiting non-disparagement clauses in certain contracts.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION 1. Chapter 93 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 101 the following section:-

Section 101A.  (a) (1) A contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services may not include a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services.

(2) It shall be unlawful to threaten or to seek to enforce a provision made unlawful under this section, or to otherwise penalize a consumer for making any statement protected under this section.

(b) Any waiver of the provisions of this section is contrary to public policy, and is void and unenforceable.

(c) Any person, firm or corporation that violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,500 for a first violation, and a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for a second or subsequent violation.  Said civil penalties shall be assessed and collected in a civil action brought by the consumer, by the Attorney General, or by the district attorney of the county in which the violation occurred.  When collected, the civil penalty shall be payable, as appropriate, to the consumer or to the general fund of whichever governmental entity brought the action to assess the civil penalty.

(d) Any person, firm or corporation that willfully, intentionally, or recklessly violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

(e) The penalty provided by this section is not an exclusive remedy, and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law. This section shall not be construed to prohibit or limit a person or business that hosts online consumer reviews or comments from removing a statement that is otherwise lawful to remove.