4115.16 Filing complaint.

(A) An interested party may file a complaint with the director of commerce alleging a specific violation of sections 4115.03 to 4115.16 of the Revised Code by a specific contractor or subcontractor. The complaint shall be in writing on a form furnished by the director and shall include sufficient evidence to justify the complaint. The director, upon receipt of a properly completed complaint, shall investigate pursuant to section 4115.13 of the Revised Code. The director shall not investigate any complaint filed under this section that fails to allege a specific violation or that lacks sufficient evidence to justify the complaint. If the director determines that no violation has occurred or that the violation was not intentional, the interested party may appeal the decision to the court of common pleas of the county where the violation is alleged to have occurred.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the director or the designated representative shall conclude the investigation conducted under section 4115.13 of the Revised Code and make a determination not later than one hundred twenty days after the complaint is filed. The director or the designated representative may take additional time, of up to ninety days, to conclude the investigation and make a determination if the parties to the complaint are given notice of the extension before the initial one-hundred-twenty-day period expires. The director or the designated representative may take more time than that which is provided in this section to conclude the investigation and make a determination if the director, or the designated representative, and all parties to the complaint agree to a different time frame.

If the director has not ruled on the merits of the complaint within the time provided under this section the interested party may file a complaint in the court of common pleas of the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred. The complaint may make the contracting public authority a party to the action, but not the director. Contemporaneous with service of the complaint, the interested party shall deliver a copy of the complaint to the director. Upon receipt thereof, the director shall cease investigating or otherwise acting upon the complaint filed pursuant to division (A) of this section. The court in which the complaint is filed pursuant to this division shall hear and decide the case, and upon finding that a violation has occurred, shall make such orders as will prevent further violation and afford to injured persons the relief specified under sections 4115.03 to 4115.16 of the Revised Code. The court's finding that a violation has occurred shall have the same consequences as a like determination by the director. The court may order the director to take such action as will prevent further violation and afford to injured persons the remedies specified under sections 4115.03 to 4115.16 of the Revised Code. Upon receipt of any order of the court pursuant to this section, the director shall undertake enforcement action without further investigation or hearings.

(C) The director shall make available to the parties to any appeal or action pursuant to this section all files, documents, affidavits, or other information in the director's possession that pertain to the matter. The rules generally applicable to civil actions in the courts of this state shall govern all appeals or actions under this section. Any determination of a court under this section is subject to appellate review.

(D) Where, pursuant to this section, a court finds a violation of sections 4115.03 to 4115.16 of the Revised Code, the court shall award attorney fees and court costs to the prevailing party. In the event the court finds that no violation has occurred, the court may award court costs and fees to the prevailing party, other than to the director or the public authority, where the court finds the action brought was unreasonable or without foundation, even though not brought in subjective bad faith.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Effective Date: 07-01-2000