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2001 Minnesota Session Laws

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                            CHAPTER 204-S.F.No. 103 
                  An act relating to civil actions; changing civil 
                  penalties for issuing checks that are dishonored; 
                  providing civil remedies for receiving motor fuel from 
                  a motor fuel retail business without paying for it; 
                  amending Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 332.50; 
                  proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, 
                  chapter 332. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 332.50, is 
        amended to read: 
           332.50 [CIVIL LIABILITY FOR ISSUANCE OF WORTHLESS CHECK.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) The definitions provided 
        in this subdivision apply to this section. 
           (b) "Check" means a check, draft, order of withdrawal, or 
        similar negotiable or nonnegotiable instrument.  
           (c) "Credit" means an arrangement or understanding with the 
        drawee for the payment of the check. 
           (d) "Dishonor" has the meaning given in section 336.3-502, 
        but does not include dishonor due to a stop payment order 
        requested by an issuer who has a good faith defense to payment 
        on the check.  "Dishonor" does include a stop payment order 
        requested by an issuer if the account did not have sufficient 
        funds for payment of the check at the time of presentment, 
        except for stop payment orders on a check found to be stolen.  
           (e) "Payee" or "holder" includes an agent of the payee or 
        holder. 
           Subd. 2.  [ACTS CONSTITUTING.] Whoever issues any check 
        that is dishonored is liable for the following penalties: 
           (a) A service charge of up to $20, or actual costs of 
        collection, not to exceed $30, may be imposed immediately on any 
        dishonored check by the payee or holder of the check, regardless 
        of mailing a notice of dishonor, if notice of the service charge 
        was conspicuously displayed on the premises when the check was 
        issued.  If a law enforcement agency obtains payment of a 
        dishonored check, a service charge not to exceed $25 may be 
        imposed if the service charge is retained by the law enforcement 
        agency for its expenses.  Only one service charge may be imposed 
        under this paragraph for each dishonored check.  The displayed 
        notice must also include a provision notifying the issuer of the 
        check that civil penalties may be imposed for nonpayment. 
           (b) If the amount of the dishonored check is not paid 
        within 30 days after the payee or holder has mailed notice of 
        dishonor pursuant to section 609.535 and a description of the 
        penalties contained in this subdivision, whoever issued the 
        dishonored check is liable to the payee or holder of the check 
        for: 
           (1) the amount of the check, the service charge as provided 
        in paragraph (a), plus a civil penalty of up to $100 or the 
        value of the check, whichever is greater.  In determining the 
        amount of the penalty, the court shall consider the amount of 
        the check and the reason for nonpayment.  The civil penalty may 
        not be imposed until 30 days following the mailing of the notice 
        of dishonor.  A payee or holder of the check may make a written 
        demand for payment of the civil liability by sending a copy of 
        this section and a description of the liability contained in 
        this section to the issuer's last known address.  Notice as 
        provided in paragraph (a) must also include notification that 
        additional civil penalties will be imposed for dishonored checks 
        for nonpayment after 30 days; 
           (2) interest at the rate payable on judgments pursuant to 
        section 549.09 on the face amount of the check from the date of 
        dishonor; and 
           (3) reasonable attorney fees if the aggregate amount of 
        dishonored checks issued by the issuer to all payees within a 
        six-month period is over $1,250. 
           (c) This subdivision prevails over any provision of law 
        limiting, prohibiting, or otherwise regulating service charges 
        authorized by this subdivision, but does not nullify charges for 
        dishonored checks, which do not exceed the charges in paragraph 
        (a) or terms or conditions for imposing the charges which have 
        been agreed to by the parties in an express contract. 
           (d) A sight draft may not be used as a means of collecting 
        the civil penalties provided in this section without prior 
        consent of the issuer. 
           (e) The issuer of a dishonored check is not liable for the 
        penalties described in paragraph (b) if a pretrial diversion 
        program under section 628.69 has been established in the 
        jurisdiction where the dishonored check was issued, the issuer 
        was accepted into the program, and the issuer successfully 
        completes the program. 
           Subd. 3.  [NOTICE OF DISHONOR REQUIRED.] Notice of 
        nonpayment or dishonor that includes a citation to this section 
        and section 609.535, and a description of the penalties 
        contained in these sections, shall be sent by the payee or 
        holder of the check to the drawer by certified mail, return 
        receipt requested, or by regular mail, supported by an affidavit 
        of service by mailing, to the address printed or written on the 
        check. 
           The issuance of a check with an address printed or written 
        on it is a representation by the drawer that the address is the 
        correct address for receipt of mail concerning the check.  
        Failure of the drawer to receive a regular or certified mail 
        notice sent to that address is not a defense to liability under 
        this section, if the drawer has had actual notice for 30 days 
        that the check has been dishonored.  
           An affidavit of service by mailing shall be retained by the 
        payee or holder of the check.  
           Subd. 4.  [PROOF OF IDENTITY.] The check is prima facie 
        evidence of the identity of the drawer issuer if the person 
        receiving the check:  
           (a) records the following information about the drawer 
        issuer on the check, unless it is printed on the face of the 
        check:  
           (1) name; 
           (2) home or work address; 
           (3) home or work telephone number; and 
           (4) identification number issued pursuant to section 
        171.07; 
           (b) compares the drawer's issuer's physical appearance, 
        signature, and the personal information recorded on the check 
        with the drawer's issuer's identification card issued pursuant 
        to section 171.07; and 
           (c) initials the check to indicate compliance with these 
        requirements.  
           Subd. 5.  [DEFENSES.] Any defense otherwise available to 
        the drawer issuer also applies to liability under this section. 
           Sec. 2.  [332.505] [CIVIL LIABILITY FOR RECEIVING MOTOR 
        FUEL WITHOUT PAYING.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] For purposes of this section:
           (1) "motor fuel" means a liquid, regardless of its 
        properties, used to propel a vehicle; 
           (2) "retailer" means a person that sells motor fuel at 
        retail; and 
           (3) "vehicle" means a motor vehicle or watercraft that is 
        self-propelled and that uses motor fuel for propulsion. 
           Subd. 2.  [ACTS CONSTITUTING.] (a) The owner of a vehicle 
        that receives motor fuel that was not paid for is liable to the 
        retailer for the price of the motor fuel received and a service 
        charge of up to $20, or the actual costs of collection not to 
        exceed $30.  This charge may be imposed upon the mailing of the 
        notice under subdivision 3, if notice of the service charge was 
        conspicuously displayed on the premises from which the motor 
        fuel was received.  The notice must include a statement that 
        civil penalties will be imposed if payment is not received 
        within 30 days.  Only one service charge may be imposed under 
        this paragraph for each incident. 
           (b) If the price of the motor fuel received is not paid 
        within 30 days after the retailer has mailed notice under 
        subdivision 3, the owner is liable to the retailer for the price 
        of the motor fuel received, the service charge as provided in 
        paragraph (a), plus a civil penalty not to exceed $100 or the 
        price of the motor fuel, whichever is greater.  The civil 
        penalty may not be imposed until 30 days after the mailing of 
        the notice under subdivision 3.  
           Subd. 3.  [NOTICE OF NONPAYMENT.] Notice of nonpayment that 
        includes a citation to this section and a description of the 
        penalties contained in it shall be sent by the retailer to the 
        owner by regular mail, supported by an affidavit of service by 
        mailing, to the address indicated by records on the vehicle 
        under section 86B.401 or 168.346.  The notice must include a 
        signed statement by the employee who reported the act describing 
        what the employee observed and the license number of the motor 
        vehicle, if known.  Failure of the owner to receive a notice is 
        not a defense to liability under this section. 
           An affidavit of service by mailing must be retained by the 
        retailer. 
           Subd. 4.  [NOTICE OF DISPUTE.] If, within the 30-day period 
        referred to in subdivision 2, paragraph (b), the owner sends 
        written notice to the retailer disputing the retailer's claim 
        that the owner received motor fuel from the retailer without 
        paying for it, the retailer may collect the price of the motor 
        fuel and the civil penalties imposed by this section only 
        pursuant to a judgment rendered by a court of competent 
        jurisdiction. 
           Upon receipt of the notice, the retailer shall cease all 
        collection efforts.  
           Sec. 3.  [EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICATION.] 
           Section 1 is effective August 1, 2001, and applies to 
        checks issued on or after that date.  Section 2 is effective 
        August 1, 2001, for causes of action arising on or after that 
        date. 
           Presented to the governor May 25, 2001 
           Signed by the governor May 29, 2001, 11:27 a.m.

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