4112.051 Filing civil action.

(A)

(1) Aggrieved persons may enforce the rights granted by division (H) of section 4112.02 of the Revised Code by filing a civil action in the court of common pleas of the county in which the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice occurred within one year after it allegedly occurred. Upon application by an aggrieved person, upon a proper showing, and under circumstances that it considers just, a court of common pleas may appoint an attorney for the aggrieved person and authorize the commencement of a civil action under this division without the payment of costs.

Each party to a civil action under this division has the right to a jury trial of the action. To assert the right, a party shall demand a jury trial in the manner prescribed in the Rules of Civil Procedure. If a party demands a jury trial in that manner, the civil action shall be tried to a jury.

(2)

(a) If a complaint is issued by the commission under division (B)(5) of section 4112.05 of the Revised Code for one or more alleged unlawful discriminatory practices described in division (H) of section 4112.02 of the Revised Code, the complainant, any aggrieved person on whose behalf the complaint is issued, or the respondent may elect, following receipt of the relevant notice described in division (B)(5) of section 4112.05 of the Revised Code, to proceed with the administrative hearing process under that section or to have the alleged unlawful discriminatory practices covered by the complaint addressed in a civil action commenced in accordance with divisions (A)(1) and (2)(b) of this section. An election to have the alleged unlawful discriminatory practices so addressed shall be made in a writing that is sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the commission, to the civil rights section of the office of the attorney general, and to the other parties to the pending administrative process within thirty days after the electing complainant, aggrieved person, or respondent received the relevant notice described in division (B)(5) of section 4112.05 of the Revised Code.

(b) Upon receipt of a timely mailed election to have the alleged unlawful discriminatory practices addressed in a civil action, the commission shall authorize the office of the attorney general to commence and maintain the civil action in the court of common pleas of the county in which the alleged unlawful discriminatory practices occurred. Notwithstanding the period of limitations specified in division (A)(1) of this section, the office of the attorney general shall commence the civil action within thirty days after the receipt of the commission's authorization to commence the civil action.

(c) Upon commencement of the civil action in accordance with division (A)(2)(b) of this section, the commission shall prepare an order dismissing the complaint in the pending administrative matter and serve a copy of the order upon the complainant, each aggrieved person on whose behalf the complaint was issued, and the respondent.

(d) If an election to have the alleged unlawful discriminatory practices addressed in a civil action is not filed in accordance with division (A)(2)(a) of this section, the commission shall continue with the administrative hearing process described in section 4112.05 of the Revised Code.

(e) With respect to the issues to be determined in a civil action commenced in accordance with division (A)(2)(b) of this section, any aggrieved person may intervene as a matter of right in that civil action.

(B) If the court or the jury in a civil action under this section finds that a violation of division (H) of section 4112.02 of the Revised Code is about to occur, the court may order any affirmative action it considers appropriate, including a permanent or temporary injunction or temporary restraining order.

(C) Any sale, encumbrance, or rental consummated prior to the issuance of any court order under the authority of this section and involving a bona fide purchaser, encumbrancer, or tenant without actual notice of the existence of a charge under division (H) of section 4112.02 of the Revised Code or a civil action under this section is not affected by the court order.

(D) If the court or the jury in a civil action under this section finds that a violation of division (H) of section 4112.02 of the Revised Code has occurred, the court shall award to the plaintiff or to the complainant or aggrieved person on whose behalf the office of the attorney general commenced or maintained the civil action, whichever is applicable, actual damages, reasonable attorney's fees, court costs incurred in the prosecution of the action, expert witness fees, and other litigation expenses, and may grant other relief that it considers appropriate, including a permanent or temporary injunction, a temporary restraining order, or other order and punitive damages.

(E) Any civil action brought under this section shall be heard and determined as expeditiously as possible.

(F) The court in a civil action under this section shall notify the commission of any finding pertaining to discriminatory housing practices within fifteen days after the entry of the finding.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 12-22-1992