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Title XII PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

Chapter 198

Effective - 28 Aug 1979 bottom

  198.093.  Violations of resident's rights — complaints — legal action — damages. — 1.  Any resident or former resident who is deprived of any right created by sections 198.088 and 198.090, or the estate of a former resident so deprived, may file a written complaint within one hundred eighty days of the alleged deprivation or injury with the office of the attorney general describing the facts surrounding the alleged deprivation.  A copy of the complaint shall be sent to the department by the attorney general.

  2.  The attorney general shall review each complaint and may initiate legal action as provided under sections 198.003 to 198.186.

  3.  If the attorney general fails to initiate a legal action within sixty days of receipt of the complaint, the complainant may, within two hundred forty days of filing the complaint with the attorney general, bring a civil action in an appropriate court against any owner, operator or the agent of any owner or operator to recover actual damages.  The court may, in its discretion, award punitive damages which shall be limited to the larger of five hundred dollars or five times the amount of special damages, unless the deprivation complained of is the result of an intentional act or omission causing physical or emotional injury to the resident, and may award to the prevailing party attorney's fees based on the amount of time reasonably expended, and may provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary and proper; except that, an attorney who is paid in whole or part from public funds for his representation in any cause arising under this section shall not be awarded any attorney fees.

  4.  No owner or operator who pleads and proves as an affirmative defense that he exercised all care reasonably necessary to prevent the deprivation and injury for which liability is asserted shall be liable under this section.

  5.  Persons bringing suit to recover against a bond for personal funds pursuant to section 198.096 shall not be required to first file a complaint with the attorney general pursuant to subsection 1 of this section, nor shall subsection 1 be construed to limit in any way the right to recover on such bond.

  6.  Nothing contained in sections 198.003 to 198.186 shall be construed as abrogating, abridging or otherwise limiting the right of any person to bring appropriate legal actions in any court of competent jurisdiction to insure or enforce any legal right or to seek damages, nor shall any provision of the above-named sections be construed as preventing or discouraging any person from filing a complaint with the department or notifying the department of any alleged deficiency or noncompliance on the part of any facility.

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(L. 1979 S.B. 328, et al. § 31)


---- end of effective   28 Aug 1979 ----

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