Citations Affected: IC 22-9; IC 22-11; IC 34-51.
Synopsis: Civil actions concerning LP gas containers. Permits the civil
rights commission to award attorney's fees to a prevailing complainant
in a discrimination action brought before the commission. Permits an
individual to bring a civil action against a person who misuses a
liquified petroleum (LP) gas container. Permits the prevailing party to
recover damages, court costs and attorney's fees. Repeals provision
mandating that 75% of a punitive damages award go to the state.
Effective: July 1, 2002.
January 8, 2002, read first time and referred to Committee on Corrections, Criminal and
January 31, 2002, amended, reported favorably _ Do Pass.
February 4, 2002, read second time, ordered engrossed. Engrossed.
February 5, 2002, read third time, passed. Yeas 47, nays 1.
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning civil
SECTION 1. IC 22-9-1-6 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS
[EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2002]: Sec. 6. (a) The commission shall
establish and maintain a permanent office in the city of Indianapolis.
(b) The commission may appoint such attorneys and other employees and agents as it considers necessary, fix their compensation within the limitation provided by law, and prescribe their duties. All these employees, with the exception of the executive director and attorneys, shall be appointed by the commission from eligible lists to be promulgated by the department of personnel as the result of a competitive examination held under IC 4-15-2 and rules of the department and on the basis of training, practical experience, education, and character. However, special consideration and due weight shall be given to the practical experience and training that a person may have for the particular position involved regardless of his academic training. Promotions, suspensions, and removal of persons appointed from such lists shall be in accordance with IC 4-15-2. The reasonable and necessary traveling expenses of each employee of the
commission while actually engaged in the performance of duties in
behalf of the commission shall be paid in accordance with the state
travel policies and procedures established by the Indiana department
of administration and approved by the budget agency.
(c) Except as it concerns judicial review, the commission may adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 to implement this chapter.
(d) The commission shall formulate policies to effectuate the purposes of this chapter and make recommendations to agencies and officers of the state or local subdivisions thereof to effectuate such policies. The several departments, commissions, divisions, authorities, boards, bureaus, agencies, and officers of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall furnish the commission, upon its request, all records, papers, and information in their possession relating to any matter before the commission.
(e) The commission shall receive and investigate complaints alleging discriminatory practices. The commission shall not hold hearings in the absence of a complaint. All investigations of complaints shall be conducted by staff members of the civil rights commission or their agents.
(f) The commission may create such advisory agencies and conciliation councils, local or statewide, as will aid in effectuating the purposes of this chapter. The commission may itself, or it may empower these agencies and councils to:
(1) study the problems of discrimination in the areas covered by section 2 of this chapter when based on race, religion, color, sex, handicap, national origin, or ancestry; and
(2) foster through community effort, or otherwise, good will among the groups and elements of the population of the state.
These agencies and councils may make recommendation to the commission for the development of policies and procedures in general. Advisory agencies and conciliation councils created by the commission shall be composed of representative citizens serving without pay, but with reimbursement for reasonable and necessary actual expenses.
(g) The commission may issue such publications and such results of investigations and research as in its judgment will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.
(h) The commission shall prevent any person from discharging, expelling, or otherwise discriminating against any other person because he filed a complaint, testified in any hearing before this commission, or in any way assisted the commission in any matter under its investigation.
action as referred to in this chapter may be obtained under IC 22-9-8.
If no proceeding to obtain judicial review is instituted within thirty (30)
days from receipt of notice by a person that an order has been made by
the commission, the commission, if it determines that the person upon
whom the cease and desist order has been served is not complying or
is making no effort to comply, may obtain a decree of a court for the
enforcement of the order in circuit or superior court upon showing that
the person is subject to the commission's jurisdiction and resides or
transacts business within the county in which the petition for
enforcement is brought.
(m) If, upon all the evidence, the commission shall find that a person has not engaged in any unlawful practice or violation of this chapter, the commission shall state its findings of facts and shall issue and cause to be served on the complainant an order dismissing the complaint as to the person.
(n) The commission may furnish technical assistance requested by persons subject to this chapter to further compliance with this chapter or with an order issued thereunder.
(o) The commission shall promote the creation of local civil rights agencies to cooperate with individuals, neighborhood associations, and state, local, and other agencies, both public and private, including agencies of the federal government and of other states.
(p) The commission may reduce the terms of conciliation agreed to by the parties to writing (to be called a consent agreement) that the parties and a majority of the commissioners shall sign. When signed, the consent agreement shall have the same effect as a cease and desist order issued under subsection (k). If the commission determines that a party to the consent agreement is not complying with it, the commission may obtain enforcement of the consent agreement in a circuit or superior court upon showing that the party is not complying with the consent agreement and the party is subject to the commission's jurisdiction and resides or transacts business within the county in which the petition for enforcement is brought.
(q) In lieu of investigating a complaint and holding a hearing under this section, the commission may issue an order based on findings and determinations by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concerning a complaint that has been filed with one (1) of these federal agencies and with the commission. The commission shall adopt by rule standards under which the commission may issue such an order.
(r) Upon notice that a complaint is the subject of an action in a
federal court, the commission shall immediately cease investigation of
the complaint and may not conduct hearings or issue findings of fact or
orders concerning that complaint.
SECTION 2. IC 22-11-15-5.1 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2002]: Sec. 5.1. (a) A person injured as a result of an act or practice that violates this chapter may bring a civil action for:
(1) declaratory relief;
(2) injunctive relief; and
against the person violating this chapter.
(b) An action brought under this section must be commenced not later than two (2) years after the date of the alleged violation.
(c) A court may award costs and reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing party in an action brought under subsection (a).
SECTION 3. IC 34-51-3-3 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2002]: Sec. 3. A jury in a case subject to this chapter may not be advised of
(1) the limitation on the amount of a punitive damage award
under section 4 of this chapter. or
(2) the requirement under section 6 of this chapter concerning
allocation of money received in payment of a punitive damage
SECTION 4. IC 34-51-3-6 IS REPEALED [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2002].