Deli fined $16,600 for e-cig display

7507 Amboy Road, Staten Island. Image Credit: Google Maps

Deli displayed e-cigarette products after City served summons. On May 6, 2019, during a routine inspection, an officer from the Department of Consumer Affairs* served a summons charging violations of City electronic cigarette laws on Tottenville Gourmet Deli & Smoke Shop located at 7507 Amboy Road, Staten Island. The officer saw e-cigarette products on display in a glass case with prices. The Deli did not have a license as an Electronic Cigarette Retail Dealer.

At the OATH hearing on October 18, 2019, the City asserted that the Deli continued to possess, display and post prices of e-cigarette products for 166 days after the date of inspection. The City sought a $16,600 penalty, reflecting the maximum penalty of $100 for each day of unlicensed e-cigarette activity.

The owner admitted that e-cigarette products remained on display in the glass case, but claimed that on May 7, the day following the inspection, he had placed two handwritten signs over the glass case stating, “No Sale Tobacco or Electronic Devices” and “No sale electronic device.”

The hearing officer rejected the Deli’s defense, ruled that the Deli engaged in unlicensed activity, and imposed a penalty of $16,600.

The Deli’s owner appealed. The owner argued that the City did not produce sufficient evidence to show that the Deli had actually sold e-cigarette products after the inspection. The City responded that the owner only worked at the Deli part-time, and that “unlicensed activity” included mere possession of 20 or more e-cigarette products.

The OATH Appeals Division agreed with the City, found the owner’s testimony unconvincing, and upheld the penalty of $16,600.

DCA v. Tottenville Gourmet Deli and Smoke Shop Inc., OATH Hearings Division Appeals Unit, Appeal No. 70051204 (Jan. 6, 2020).

*Editor’s Note: The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is now known as the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP).

By: Maya Addady (Maya is a New York Law School student, Class of 2020.)



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