State by and through McGraw v. Imperial Marketing
In State by and through McGraw v. Imperial Marketing, 203 W.Va. 203, 506 S.E.2d 799 (1998), an unscrupulous marketer had mailed over 17,563 misleading solicitations to consumers over the space of a year and thereby "bilked West Virginia consumers out of $ 975,389.02 through repeated, willful conduct." 203 W.Va. at 219, 506 S.E.2d at 815.
The marketer asserted that, under the Act, it should only be required to pay one $ 5,000.00 civil penalty for its "repeated and willful" misconduct, and not face the $ 500,000.00 penalty imposed by the circuit court.
The Court affirmed the circuit court's $ 500,000.00 penalty, and indicated that the law "clearly assumes that a civil penalty may be imposed for each, individual violation of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act." 203 W.Va. at 219-220 n.6, 506 S.E.2d at 815- 16 n.6. (Starcher, J., concurring).
The Court pointed out that other jurisdictions considering this question had consistently held that a civil penalty may be imposed for each individual violation of a consumer protection statute.