Monday, April 5, 2010

Massachusetts Appeals Court holds that amendment to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 175 s. 177 does not apply retroactively

I have been discussing Anawan Ins. Agency v. Division of Ins., 76 Mass. App. Ct. 447 (2010), in which an insurance agency was accused of employing an unlicensed broker.

The applicable statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 175, § 177, which prohibits payments to unlicensed brokers, was amended in 2002 by inserting the word "knowingly" in the sentence, "Whoever knowingly violates a provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500."

The court noted that an amendment to a statute applies retroactively where the amendment is a clarification or a fine-tuning of the earlier provision. It held that the word "knowingly" was not a clarification or fine-tuning and would not apply retroactively.

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