DISCLAIMER

 

06-011-O

ORDINANCE NO. __________


AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 29C-9 OF THE DULUTH CITY CODE, 1959, AS AMENDED, PERTAINING TO THE CITY ATTORNEY’S DUTIES TO REPRESENT HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINANTS.

BY COUNCILORS KRAUSE AND LITTLE:

The city of Duluth does ordain:

     Section 1. That Section 29C-9 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 29C-9. Civil remedies.

     (a)  After a finding of probable cause, and in addition to criminal penalties, the commission may refer the matter to the city attorney to maintain an action to enforce this Chapter and recover the city’s costs, disbursements, damages and attorney’s fees directly caused by commission of a violation of this Chapter against the complainant, or to any other qualified attorney to maintain a civil action on behalf of the complainant at complainant’s expense;

     (b)  Any violation of this Chapter may be redressed in a civil action in district court. Any such action shall be heard by a judge without a jury. The court may grant any of the following relief:

           (1)  Temporary or preliminary relief pending final disposition if such relief is necessary to carry out the purposes of this Chapter;

           (2)  Order the defendant to pay compensatory damages to the person who was discriminated against, including damages for mental anguish or mental suffering, in an amount of up to three times the amount for all such damages sustained;

           (3)  Order the defendant to pay punitive damages, in the amount not to exceed $8,500, to the person who was discriminated against;

           (4)  Order the defendant to refrain from violating the provisions of this Chapter which it finds the defendant to have violated;

           (5)  Order the defendant to act affirmatively so as to effectuate the purposes of this Chapter;

           (6)  Allow a prevailing complainant reasonable attorney’s fees and costs;

     (c)  After a finding of probable cause, the commission may so certify to a licensing or regulatory agency and, if the respondent does not cease to engage in such discriminatory practice, the licensing or regulatory agency may take appropriate administrative action including suspension or revocation of the respondent's license;

     (d)  As provided in Section 363.117 of Minnesota Statutes and notwithstanding the provisions of any law or ordinance to the contrary, a person who has filed a complaint with the commission may bring a civil action at the following times:

           (1)  Within 45 days after receipt of notice that the commission has determined that there is no probable cause to credit the allegations contained in the complaint; receipt of notice is presumed to be five days from the date of service by mail of the written notice; or

           (2)  After 45 days from the filing of the complaint if a hearing has not been held or if the commission has not entered into a conciliation agreement to which the complainant is a signatory. The complainant shall notify the commission of an intention to bring a civil action, which shall be commenced within 90 days of giving the notice.

     The commission shall terminate all proceedings relating to the complaint upon receipt of a copy of a civil action brought by a complainant. A complainant shall provide to the commission a copy of the summons and complaint in the civil action by registered or certified mail.

     Section 2. That this ordinance shall take effect 30 days after its passage and publication.


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  Currently, a case can be referred to the city attorney wherein the city’s lawyer represents, free of charge, a private party in an action for three times damages, punitive damages, future damages and nonliquidated damages. This is inconsistent with the system created by Section 26 of the Charter. The amendment would limit the city attorney’s role to enforcement of the Code and collection of out-of-pocket losses experienced by the city.