STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3548 2019-2020 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY January 29, 2019 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. DINOWITZ, GOTTFRIED, GALEF, BRAUNSTEIN, MAGNAREL- LI, ABINANTI, OTIS -- read once and referred to the Committee on Judi- ciary AN ACT to amend the general obligations law, in relation to requiring contractees to waive their rights relating to the making of certain statements about contractors The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. The general obligations law is amended by adding a new 2 section 5-337 to read as follows: 3 § 5-337. Agreements requiring contractees to waive their rights in 4 relation to expressing certain opinions about contractors void and unen- 5 forceable. 1. (a) A contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease 6 of consumer goods or services may not include a provision waiving the 7 consumer's right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or 8 its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services. 9 (b) It shall be unlawful to threaten or to seek to enforce a provision 10 made unlawful under this section, or to otherwise penalize a consumer 11 for making any statement protected under this section. 12 2. Any waiver of the provisions of this section is contrary to public 13 policy, and is void and unenforceable. 14 3. Any person or entity that violates this section shall be subject to 15 a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars for the 16 first violation, and five thousand dollars for the second and for each 17 subsequent violation, to be assessed and collected in a civil action 18 brought by the consumer or by the attorney general. In addition, for a 19 willful or intentional violation of this section, a consumer or the 20 attorney general may recover a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand 21 dollars. Under this section, when the civil action is brought by the 22 consumer, the civil penalty shall be payable to the consumer and when EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00731-01-9A. 3548 2 1 the civil action is brought by the attorney general, such civil penalty 2 shall be payable to the state. 3 4. The penalty provided by this section is not an exclusive remedy, 4 and does not affect any other relief or remedy provided by law. This 5 section shall not be construed to prohibit or limit a person or business 6 that hosts online consumer reviews or comments from removing a statement 7 that is otherwise lawful to remove. 8 § 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall 9 have become a law.