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      RS 51:2611     


§2611.  Enforcement

A.  An aggrieved person claiming to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice, or who believes that he will be injured by a discriminatory housing practice that is about to occur, may file a complaint with the attorney general.  The civil rights section may also file a complaint on behalf of any person.  On receipt of the complaint, the attorney general shall:

(1)  Give the aggrieved person notice that the complaint has been filed and advise the aggrieved person of the time limits and choice of forums under this Chapter.

(2)  Not later than ten days after the filing of the complaint, serve the respondent a notice identifying the alleged discriminatory housing practice and advising the respondent of the procedural rights and obligations of a respondent under this Chapter, together with a copy of the original complaint.

B.  A complaint pursuant to Subsection A of this Section shall be filed not later than one year after the alleged discriminatory housing practice occurs.  A complaint shall be in writing and shall state the facts on which the allegations of a discriminatory housing practice are based.  The complaint shall contain any other information and be in the form that the attorney general requires.  The complaint may be reasonably and fairly amended at any time.  A respondent may file an answer to the complaint against him not later than the tenth day after receipt of the notice and copy pursuant to Paragraph A(2) and, with the consent of the attorney general, which shall be granted if it would be reasonable and fair to do so, may amend his answer at any time.  The attorney general may require both complaints and answers to be verified.

C.(1)  Within ten days after the receipt of the respondent's answer or, if no answer is filed within the time prescribed in Subsection B, within five days after the expiration of such time, the attorney general, or a certified agency, if the complaint has been referred pursuant to this Subsection, must refer the complaint to a mediation panel under this Subsection.  If the parties agree to a settlement through mediation, and the mediated settlement is in writing and signed by both parties, the attorney general shall dismiss the complaint, if the attorney general approves the agreement and finds it to be in the public interest.

(2)  If the complaint has not been resolved through mediation within thirty days after referral to the mediation panel, it must be returned to the attorney general or certified agency for investigation, which shall commence immediately.  If the complaint is returned to the attorney general, he shall investigate the complaint and may proceed to try to eliminate or correct the alleged discriminatory housing practice by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and mediation.  If the attorney general determines after investigation that there is not reasonable cause to believe that the complaint is true, he shall enter an order dismissing the complaint and shall notify the complainant and the respondent of his action.  If the attorney general determines after investigation that there is reasonable cause to believe that the complaint is true, he shall enter an order containing his findings of fact and shall endeavor to eliminate the alleged unlawful housing practice by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion.

(3)  Nothing said or done in the course of these informal endeavors may be made public, provided that if a civil action resulting from a complaint is commenced in any federal or state court, evidence collected by or submitted to the attorney general during investigation of the complaint and the source of the evidence are discoverable by the parties to the civil action in accordance with applicable rules of evidence, procedure, and discovery.

D.(1)  If a complaint alleges a discriminatory housing practice within the jurisdiction of a local public agency which has been certified by the attorney general under this Subsection, and the local public agency has entered into an intergovernmental agreement pursuant to R.S. 51:2610(D)(4), the attorney general may refer the complaint to that certified agency before taking any action with respect to the complaint.  The attorney general shall take no further action with respect to the complaint unless the certified agency has not acted in a timely fashion after the date the complaint was received or unless the attorney general determines that the certified agency no longer qualifies for certification under this Subsection under the circumstance of a particular case, or the rights of the parties or interest of justice requires this action.

(2)  In order to determine that the substantive rights protected by the agency, the procedures followed by the agency, the remedies available to the agency, and the availability of judicial review of the agency's action are substantially equivalent to those established by this Chapter and qualify the agency for this certification, the attorney general shall take into account the current practices and past performance, if any, of the agency.

E.  All conciliation agreements shall provide that the complainant waives, releases, and covenants not to sue the respondent or claim against the respondent in any forum with respect to the matters which were alleged as complaints filed with the attorney general, subject to performance by the respondent of the promises and representations contained in the conciliation agreement.  All conciliation agreements shall be in writing and agreed to by the complainant, the respondent, and the attorney general or his designee.

F.  The attorney general shall complete the investigation of an alleged discriminatory housing practice within one hundred days after the filing of the complaint or, when the attorney general takes further action pursuant to Subsection D, within one hundred days after the commencement of such further action, unless it is impracticable to do so.

G.  If the attorney general is unable to complete the investigation within the time period set forth in Subsection F, the attorney general shall notify the parties in writing of the reasons for not doing so.

Acts 1991, No. 527, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 569, §1.

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