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      RS 15:1356     


§1356. Civil remedies

            A.(1) All property, immovable or movable, including money, used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through, conduct in violation of a provision of R.S. 15:1353 is subject to civil forfeiture to the state. Any injured person shall have an in rem right or claim to forfeited property or to the proceeds derived therefrom superior to any right or claim the state has in the same property or proceeds. The state shall dispose of all forfeited property as soon as commercially feasible.

            (2) All forfeitures or dispositions under this Section shall be made with due provisions for the rights of factually innocent persons. No mortgage, lien, privilege, or other security interest recognized under the laws of Louisiana and no ownership interest in indivision shall be affected by a forfeiture hereunder if the owner of such mortgage, lien, privilege, or other security interest, or owner in indivision establishes that he is a factually innocent person. No forfeiture or disposition under this Section shall affect the rights of factually innocent persons.

            (3) The allocation of proceeds from such forfeiture and disposition shall be determined by the court in accordance with each law enforcement entity's participation in the investigation, seizure, and forfeiture process. Prior to such allocation, the costs of investigation shall be paid to the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation, twenty-five percent of the proceeds, including the costs of prosecution shall be paid to the district attorney's six percent fund, or in parishes where no such fund exists, to the district attorney's office, and twenty-five percent shall be paid to the judicial district indigent defender fund. The court shall make an allocation of the remaining fifty percent of the proceeds based on the following determination:

            (a) When more than one law enforcement agency has equally participated in the management of the investigation, seizure, and forfeiture, the proceeds shall be allocated equally among them.

            (b) When one law enforcement agency has conducted or substantially conducted the investigation, the proceeds shall be allocated to such agency, with actual vouchered costs reimbursed to the other agencies, not to exceed ten percent of the proceeds allocated to the primary law enforcement agency.

            B. Property subject to forfeiture under this Section may be seized by a law enforcement officer upon court process. Seizure without court process may be made if:

            (1) The seizure is incident to a lawful arrest or search.

            (2) The property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a forfeiture proceeding based upon this Section.

            C. In the event of a seizure under Subsection B of this Section, a forfeiture proceeding shall be instituted promptly. Property taken or detained under this Section shall not be subject to sequestration or attachment but is deemed to be in the custody of the law enforcement officer making the seizure, subject only to the order of the court. When property is seized under this Section, pending forfeiture and final disposition, the law enforcement officer making the seizure may:

            (1) Place the property under seal;

            (2) Remove the property to a place designated by the court; or

            (3) Request another agency authorized by law to take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location.

            D. The district attorney may institute civil proceedings under this Section. In any action brought under this Section, the district court shall proceed as soon as practicable to the hearing and determination. Pending final determination, the court may at any time enter such injunctions or restraining orders or take such actions, including the acceptance of satisfactory performance bonds, as the court may deem proper.

            E. Any person who is injured by reason of any violation of the provisions of R.S. 15:1353 shall have a cause of action against any person engaged in racketeering activity who violates a provision of R.S. 15:1353. Such injured person shall be entitled to recover three times the actual damages sustained or ten thousand dollars, whichever is greater. Such person shall also recover attorney fees in the trial and appellate courts and costs of investigation and litigation reasonably incurred.

            F. A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the state in any criminal proceeding shall preclude the defendant from denying the essential facts established in that proceeding in any subsequent civil action.

            G. The district attorney may upon timely application intervene in any civil action or proceeding brought under Subsection E herein if he certifies that in his opinion the action or proceeding is of general public importance. In such action or proceeding, the state shall be entitled to the same relief as if the district attorney had instituted the action or proceeding.

            H. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a criminal or civil action or proceeding under this Chapter may be commenced at any time within five years after the conduct in violation of a provision of this Chapter terminates or the cause of action accrues. If a criminal prosecution or civil action is brought under the provisions of this Chapter, the running of the period prescribed by this Section with respect to any cause of action arising under Subsection E of this Section which is based in whole or in part upon any matter complained of in any such prosecution or action shall be suspended during the pendency of such prosecution or action and for two years following its termination.

            I. The application of one civil remedy under any provision of this Chapter shall not preclude the application of any other remedy, civil or criminal, under this Chapter or any other provision of law. Civil remedies under this Chapter are supplemental and not mutually exclusive.

            J. Violations of the provisions of R.S. 15:1353 shall be treated as civil offenses or quasi offenses for the purpose of determining the proper venue for all civil actions instituted under this Section.

            K. If two or more defendants have violated the provisions of R.S. 15:1353 they shall be liable in solido for all damages, attorney's fees, and costs of investigation and litigation.

            Added by Acts 1983, No. 727, §1, eff. July 22, 1983; Acts 1985, No. 958, §1; Acts 2004, No. 415, §1; Acts 2017, No. 368, §1.

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