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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 399-V
Parking facilities; towing of vehicles, posting of notices
General Business (GBS) CHAPTER 20, ARTICLE 26
§ 399-v. Parking facilities; towing of vehicles, posting of notices.

1. For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the
following meanings:

(a) "commercial tower" shall mean any person, firm, partnership,
corporation or association that engages in commercial towing, as defined
in section one hundred seven-b of the vehicle and traffic law, whether
by contract or other agreement;

(b) "owner" shall mean the owner or lessee of a parking facility or an
agent of such owner or lessee, provided that such term shall not include
a commercial tower acting as an agent of such owner or lessee; and

(c) "parking facility" shall mean parking facilities having a parking
capacity of five or more motor vehicles not owned or operated by the
state, a municipality or public authority.

2. Every parking facility shall display prominently a conspicuous
notice stating the name, address and telephone number of the operator of
the parking facility together with the name, address and telephone
number of any individual or entity authorized to tow from such parking
facility any motor vehicle or the name, address and telephone number of
any individual or entity authorized to place a device designed to
immobilize any motor vehicle in such parking facility. Such notice shall
also state that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the vehicle
owner's expense.

3. No owner or operator of a parking facility shall tow or authorize
the towing of any motor vehicle or immobilize or authorize the
immobilization of any motor vehicle in such parking facility unless such
owner or operator displays a notice pursuant to subdivision two of this
section.

4. No owner or operator of a parking facility shall solicit, receive,
accept or agree to receive or accept any payment, commission or other
consideration from a commercial tower for the towing and storing of
vehicles removed from such owner's or operator's parking facility.

4-a. (a) Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, an
application may be made by the attorney general in the name of the
people of the state of New York to a court or justice having
jurisdiction to issue an injunction, and upon notice to the defendant of
not less than five days, to enjoin and restrain the continuance of such
violations; and if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court or
justice that the defendant has, in fact, violated this section, an
injunction may be issued by such court or justice, enjoining and
restraining any further violation, without requiring proof that any
person has, in fact, been injured or damaged thereby. In any such
proceeding the court may make allowances to the attorney general as
provided in paragraph six of subdivision (a) of section eighty-three
hundred three of the civil practice law and rules, and direct
restitution. Whenever the court shall determine that a violation of this
section has occurred, the court may impose a civil penalty of not less
than fifty dollars and not more than one thousand dollars for each such
violation. In connection with any such proposed application, the
attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a determination of
the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance with the civil
practice law and rules.

(b) The provisions of this section may be enforced concurrently by the
town attorney, city corporation counsel, or other lawful designee of a
municipality or local government, and all moneys collected thereunder
shall be retained by such municipality or local government.

5. The provisions of this section shall not apply to cities having a
population of one million or more.

6. Any person who has been injured by reason of any violation of this
section may bring an action in his or her own name to enjoin such
unlawful act or practice, an action to recover his or her actual damages
or one hundred fifty dollars, whichever is greater, or both such
actions. The court may, in its discretion, increase the award of damages
to an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages up to one
thousand dollars, if the court finds the defendant willfully or
knowingly violated this section. The court may award reasonable
attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff.

7. This section shall not annul, alter, affect or exempt any owner or
operator subject to the provisions of this section from complying with
the laws, ordinances, rules or regulations of any locality relating to
the posting of parking facility notices and/or the towing of motor
vehicles from parking facilities, except to the extent that these laws,
ordinances, rules or regulations are inconsistent with any provision of
this section, but no such local law, ordinance, rule or regulation shall
be considered inconsistent if it affords greater protection to the
consumer including but not limited to local laws, rules or regulations
that:

(i) regulate the reasonable amount that a commercial tower may charge
for the towing and storage of a vehicle removed from a parking facility;

(ii) require written contracts between an owner and a commercial
tower, which contracts may also be required to be filed with the
political subdivision;

(iii) require the owner to be physically present when a vehicle is
towed from a parking facility; or

(iv) regulate the hours when a commercial tower must be available to
release a vehicle that is towed from a parking facility.