§ 104.41  COMPLAINTS; INVESTIGATION.
   Duty of Commission to investigate discriminatory housing practices.
   (A)   Complaint.
      (1)   The Commission shall investigate alleged discriminatory housing practices.
      (2)   A complaint concerning an alleged discriminatory housing practice must be:
         (a)   In writing;
         (b)   Under oath; and/or
         (c)   In the form prescribed by the Commission.
      (3)   An aggrieved person may, not later than 1 year after an alleged discriminatory housing practice has occurred or terminated, whichever is later, file a complaint with the Commission alleging the discriminatory housing practice.
      (4)   Not later than one year after an alleged discriminatory practice has occurred or terminated, whichever is later, the Commission may file the Commission's own complaint.
      (5)   A complaint under this section may be amended at any time.
      (6)   When a complaint is filed under this section, the Commission shall do the following:
         (a)   Give the aggrieved person notice that the complaint has been received;
         (b)   Advise the aggrieved person of the time limits and choice of forums under this chapter; and
         (c)   Not later than 20 days after the filing of the complaint or the identification of an additional respondent under division (D) below serve on each respondent:
            1.   A notice identifying the alleged discriminatory housing practice advising the respondent of the procedural rights and obligations of a respondent under this chapter; and
            2.   A copy of the original complaint.
   (B)   Answer to complaint.
      (1)   Not later than 10 days after receipt of the notice and a copy of the complaint under division (A)(6)(c) above, a respondent may file an answer to the complaint.
      (2)   An answer must be:
         (a)   In writing;
         (b)   Under oath; and
         (c)   In the form prescribed by the Commission.
      (3)   An answer may be amended at any time.
      (4)   An answer does not inhibit the investigation of a complaint.
   (C)   Investigation.
      (1)   If the federal government has referred a complaint to the Commission or has deferred jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint to the Commission, the Commission shall promptly investigate the allegations set forth in the complaint.
      (2)   The Commission shall investigate all complaints filed under this chapter except as provided by division (C)(3) below shall complete an investigation not later than 100 days after the date the complaint is filed, or if the Commission is unable to complete the investigation within the 100-day period, shall dispose of all administrative proceedings related to the investigation not late than 1 year after the date the complaint is filed.
      (3)   If the Commission is unable to complete an investigation within the time periods prescribed by division (C)(2) above, the Commission shall notify the complainant and the respondent in writing of the reasons for the delay.
   (D)   Additional or substitute respondent.
      (1)   The Commission may join a person not named in the complaint as an additional or substitute respondent if in the course of the investigation the Commission determines that the person should be accused of a discriminatory housing practice.
      (2)   In addition to the information required in the notice under division (A)(6) of this section, the Commission shall include in a notice to the respondent joined under this division (D) an explanation of the basis for the determination that the person is properly joined as a respondent.
   (E)   Conciliation.
      (1)   The Commission shall during the period beginning with the filing of a complaint and ending with the filing or a charge or a dismissal by the Commission, to the extent feasible, engage in conciliation with respect to the complaint.
      (2)   A conciliation agreement is an agreement between a respondent and the complainant and is subject to Commission approval.
      (3)   A conciliation agreement may provide for binding arbitration or other methods of dispute resolution.  Dispute resolution that results from a conciliation agreement may authorize appropriate relief, including monetary relief.
      (4)   A conciliation agreement shall be made public unless the complainant and respondent agree otherwise and the Commission determines that disclosure is not necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.
      (5)   Nothing said or done in the course of conciliation may be made public or used as evidence in a subsequent proceeding under this chapter without the written consent of the persons concerned.
      (6)   After completion of the Commission’s investigation, the Commission shall make available to the aggrieved person, and the respondent, at any time, information derived from the investigation and the final investigative report relating to that investigation.
   (F)   Temporary or preliminary relief.
      (1)   If the Commission concludes at any time following the filing of a complaint that prompt judicial action is necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the Commission may file a civil action for appropriate temporary or preliminary relief pending final disposition of the complaint in a circuit or superior court that is located in Lake County.
      (2)   A temporary restraining order or other order granting preliminary or temporary relief under this division is governed by the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure.
      (3)   The filing of a civil action under this division does not affect the initiation or continuation of administrative proceedings under division (N) below.
   (G)   Investigative report.
      (1)   The Commission shall prepare a final investigative report showing the following:
         (a)   The names and dates of contacts with witnesses;
         (b)   A summary of correspondence and other contracts with the aggrieved person and the respondent showing the dates of the correspondence and contacts;
         (c)   A summary description of other pertinent records;
         (d)   A summary of witness statements; and
         (e)   Answers to interrogatories.
      (2)   A final report under this division may be amended if additional evidence is discovered.
   (H)   Reasonable cause determination.
      (1)   The Commission shall determine based on the facts whether a reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur.
      (2)   The Commission shall make the determination under division (H)(1) above not later than 100 days after the date a complaint is filed unless:
         (a)   It is impracticable to make the determination; or
         (b)   The Commission has approved a conciliation agreement relating to the complaint.
      (3)   If it is impracticable to make the determination within the time period provided by division (H)(2) above, the Commission shall notify the complainant and respondent in writing of the reasons for the delay.
      (4)   If the Commission determines that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the Commission shall immediately issue a finding of reasonable cause on behalf of the aggrieved person.
   (I)   Finding of reasonable cause - charge.
      (1)   A charge issued under division (H) above:
         (a)   Must consist of a short and plain statement of the facts on which the Commission has found reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur;
         (b)   Must be based on the final investigative report; and
         (c)   Need not be limited to the facts or grounds alleged in the complaint.
      (2)   Not later than 20 days after the Commission issues a finding of reasonable cause, the Commission shall send a copy of the finding of reasonable cause with information concerning the election under division (1) below to the following:
         (a)   Each respondent, together with a notice of the opportunity for a hearing provided by division (N).
         (b)   Each aggrieved person on whose behalf the complaint was filed.
   (J)   Dismissal.
      (1)   If the Commission determines that no reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the Commission shall promptly dismiss the complaint.
      (2)   The Commission shall make public disclosure of each dismissal under this division (J).
   (K)   Pending civil trial.  The Commission may not issue a finding of reasonable cause under this chapter regarding an alleged discriminatory housing practice after the beginning of the trial of a civil action commenced by the aggrieved party under federal or state law seeking relief with respect to that discriminatory housing practice.
   (L)   Election of judicial determination.
      (1)   A complainant, a respondent or an aggrieved person on whose behalf the complaint was filed may elect to have the claims asserted in a finding of reasonable cause decided in a civil action as provided by division (M) below.
      (2)   The election must be made not later than 20 days after the date of receipt by the electing person of service under division (I)(2) above or, in the case of the Commission, not later than 20 days after the date the finding of reasonable cause was issued.
      (3)   The person making the election shall give notice to the Commission and to all other complainants and respondents to whom the finding of reasonable cause relates.
   (M)   Timely election for civil action.
      (1)   If a timely election is made pursuant to division (1) above, the Commission shall, not later than 30 days after the election is made, file a civil action on behalf of the aggrieved person seeking relief under this chapter in a circuit or superior court located in Lake County.
      (2)   An aggrieved person may intervene in the action.
      (3)   If the court finds that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the court may grant as relief any relief that a court may grant in a civil action under § 104.42(B).
      (4)   If monetary relief is sought for the benefit of an aggrieved person who does not intervene in the civil action, the court may not award the monetary relief if that aggrieved person had not complied with discovery orders entered by the court.
   (N)   Administrative hearing.
      (1)   If a timely election is not made under division (1) above, the Commission shall provide for a hearing on the finding of reasonable cause.
      (2)   Except as provided by division (C), I.C. 4-21.5 governs a hearing and an appeal of hearing under this division.
      (3)   A hearing under this division may not continue regarding any alleged discriminatory housing practice after the beginning of the trial of a civil action commenced by the aggrieved person under federal or state law seeking relief with respect to that discriminatory housing practice.
   (O)   Administrative penalties.
      (1)   If the Commission determines at a hearing under division (N) above that a respondent has engaged in or is about to engage in a discriminatory housing practice, the Commission may order the appropriate relief, including actual damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs and other injunctive or equitable relief.
      (2)   To vindicate the public interest, the Commission may assess a civil penalty against the respondent in an amount that does not exceed the following:
         (a)   Ten thousand dollars if the respondent has not been adjudged by order of the Commission or a court to have committed a prior discriminatory housing practice.
         (b)   Except as provided by division (O)(3) below, $25,000 if the respondent has been adjudged by order of the Commission or a court to have committed one other discriminatory housing practice during the 5-year period ending on the date of the filing of the finding of reasonable cause.
         (c)   Except as provided by division (O)(3) of this section, $50,000 if the respondent has been adjudged by order of the Commission or a court to have committed 2 or more discriminatory housing practices during the 7-year period ending on the date of the filing of the finding of reasonable cause.
      (3)   If the acts constituting the discriminatory housing practice that is the object of the finding of reasonable cause are committed by the same individual who has been previously adjudged to have committed acts constituting a discriminatory housing practice, the civil penalties in division (O)(2)(b) and (O)(2)(c) may be imposed without regard to the period of time within which any other discriminatory housing practice occurred.
      (4)   The Commission may sue to recover civil penalty due under this division.
   (P)   Effect of Commission order.  A Commission order under this division does not affect a contract, a sale, an encumbrance or at least that:
      (1)   Was consummated before the Commission issued the order; and
      (2)   Involved a bona fide purchaser, an encumbrancer or a tenant who did not have actual notice of the finding of reasonable cause filed under this chapter.
   (Q)   License or regulated business.  If the Commission issues an order with respect to a discriminatory housing practice that occurred in the course of a business subject to licensing or regulation by a governmental agency, the Commission shall, not later than 30 days after the date of the issuance of the order:
      (1)   Send copies of the findings and the order to the governmental agency; and
      (2)   Recommend to the governmental agency appropriate disciplinary action.
   (R)   Order in preceding 5 years.  If the Commission issues an order against a respondent against whom another order was issued, within the preceding 5 years under division (O) above, the Commission shall send a copy of each order issued under that section to the attorney general.
(Prior Code, § 104.31)  (Ord. 7483, passed 5-12-1992; Am. Ord. 7606, passed 7-26-1993)