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Complaint

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The information below will assist you in filing a complaint with the Enforcement Division of the FPPC if you suspect a violation of the Political Reform Act (the Act). A sworn complaint entitles you to certain rights and processes, including notification of whether the matter will be investigated and the ultimate resolution.

The FPPC may only enforce violations of the Act. Violations that do not fall under the Act may be pursued by a local district attorney, the state attorney general or other enforcement agencies. 

Violations of the Act include: Financial conflicts of interest Campaign money laundering Over-the-limit gifts and contributions Improper use of campaign funds, including personal use Campaign mass mailings at public expense False, inadequate, or inaccurate reporting on statements of economic interests, campaign statements and reports Non-filing or late filing of such statements and reports Anonymous or cash contributions of $100 or more Violations do not include: False or misleading campaign materials Election fraud Misuse of public funds unrelated to campaign mass mailings Violations of the Elections Code, Penal Code or any laws other than the Political Reform Act Issues related to federal campaigns Open meeting law issues (Brown Act, Bagley-Keene) Local ordinances Vandalism of campaign signs Residency requirements for running for or holding office Electronic Complaint System

Click here to enter your complaint or referral information into the FPPC Enforcement System. Click here to see a short demonstration of the System.

Once you have submitted your complaint (or referral), you can check the status by sending an email to complaint@fppc. and including your Confirmation Number.

Sworn Complaint Requirements

A sworn complaint must comply with certain requirements. All of the pertinent information must be included. At a minimum, you must do all of the following: 

1. Submit your complaint in writing.

2. Identify the person(s) who allegedly violated the Act, list the specific provisions you believe the person(s) violated, and the dates on which the violation occurred.

3. Describe with particularity the facts constituting the alleged violation and provide any evidence to support the complaint.

4. State how you have personal knowledge of the violation.

5. Include names and addresses of witnesses, if known.

6. Check the box indicating that you are filing.

If you have any questions regarding the information required on the Complaint Form, please submit your questions electronically to complaint@fppc. . A political reform consultant will respond as quickly as possible. 

Potential Anonymity of Complainant

A complaint sent to the FPPC is subject to the Public Records Act and public disclosure, except under very limited circumstances. If you wish to keep your identity as the complainant confidential, you have two options:

1. You may make the complaint anonymously. Check "Anonymous Complaint." The Enforcement Division will evaluate your claim and has the authority to pursue a complaint on its own initiative. Please note: An anonymous complainant is not entitled to any notification of whether the matter will be investigated or the ultimate resolution.

2. If you wish to file a sworn complaint and believe you have legitimate reasons for us to keep your identity as the complainant confidential, please submit an electronic request to discuss the matter with an attorney in the Enforcement Division at complaint@fppc.. An attorney will contact you to assess your status and advise you of the possibility of withholding disclosure of your identity. However, if the confidentiality is challenged, a court ultimately could determine that the complaint must be made public. 

Complaint Process

Within 14 days of receiving your sworn complaint , the Enforcement Division will inform you how it intends to proceed. Please be advised that unless the Chief of Enforcement deems otherwise, within three business days of receiving your sworn complaint, we will send a copy of it to the person(s) you allege violated the law.

A sworn complaint found to have merit will be assigned to staff in the Enforcement Division for a full investigation. The division may obtain additional documents, issue subpoenas, and interview witnesses, including the person alleged to have violated the Act.

Commission Action

Once the Enforcement Division has fully investigated a complaint, the case may be resolved in several ways. If there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, the division may close the case with a letter finding no action or an advisory letter. If the seriousness of the offense and public harm are low, a warning letter may be issued identifying a violation of the Act but concluding a monetary fine is not warranted.

If the case merits an administrative penalty, the Enforcement Division may ask the Commissioners to approve a settlement agreement in which the subject of the investigation agrees to pay a fine or to take other remedial action. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will be subject to a more formal administrative proceeding, including a probable cause conference and a hearing before an administrative law judge. In some cases, the FPPC may decide to prosecute a case by a filing a civil lawsuit in court.

Administrative Enforcement Case Resolutions

To find a resolution for a prior case:

Complaint Closure Letters - No action, advisory and warning letters Enforcement Case Results  - Stipulations, default judgements, and decisions from Administrative Law Judges Enforcement Case Summaries - Summaries of case resolutions 1980 - 2013

Complaint From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation , search This article is about the legal usage. For complaints in other contexts, see complaint (disambiguation) . The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article , discuss the issue on the talk page . (May 2017) ( Learn how and when to remove this template message ) Civil procedure in the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Doctrines of civil procedure Jurisdiction Subject-matter ( Federal-question Diversity Supplemental Removal ) Personal ( In personam In rem Quasi in rem ) Venue Change of venue Forum non conveniens Pleadings Complaint ( Cause of action Case Information Statement Class action  ( 2005 Act ) ) Demurrer Answer  ( affirmative defense ) Reply Counterclaim Crossclaim Joinder Indispensable party Impleader Interpleader Intervention Other motions Pre-trial procedure Discovery Initial conference Interrogatories Depositions Request for admissions Request for production Resolution without trial Default judgment Summary judgment Voluntary dismissal Involuntary dismissal Settlement Trial Parties plaintiff defendant Pro se Jury  ( voir dire ) Burden of proof Judgment ( As a matter of law (JMOL) Renewed JMOL Notwithstanding verdict (JNOV) Motion to set aside De novo (new trial)  ) Remedy ( Injunction Damages Attorney's fee ( American rule English rule ) Declaratory judgment ) Appeal Mandamus Certiorari v t e

In legal terminology, a complaint is any formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons (see: cause of action ) that the filing party or parties (the plaintiff (s)) believes are sufficient to support a claim against the party or parties against whom the claim is brought (the defendant (s)) that entitles the plaintiff(s) to a remedy (either money damages or injunctive relief ). For example, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that govern civil litigation in United States courts provide that a civil action is commenced with the filing or service of a pleading called a complaint. Civil court rules in states that have incorporated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure use the same term for the same pleading.

In some jurisdictions, specific types of criminal cases may also be commenced by the filing of a complaint, also sometimes called a criminal complaint or felony complaint. All criminal cases are prosecuted in the name of the governmental authority that promulgates criminal statutes and enforces the police power of the state with the goal of seeking criminal sanctions , such as the State (also sometimes called the People) or Crown (in Commonwealth realms ). In the United States, the complaint is often associated with misdemeanor criminal charges presented by the prosecutor without the grand jury process. In most U.S. jurisdictions, the charging instrument presented to and authorized by a grand jury is referred to as an indictment .

Contents 1 United States 1.1 Filing and privacy 1.2 Attorney fees 2 See also 3 References 4 External links

United States [ edit ]

Virtually every U.S. state has some forms available on the web for most common complaints for lawyers and self-representing litigants; if a petitioner cannot find an appropriate form in their state, they often can modify a form from another state to fit his or her request. Several United States federal courts publish general guidelines for the petitioners and Civil Rights complaint forms. [1] [2] [3] [4]

A complaint generally has the following structural elements: [2]

Caption and Heading - lists name, address and telephone number of the filing attorney or self-representing litigant at the top of the complaint. The case caption usually also indicates the court in which the case originates, names of the parties and a brief description of the document. Jurisdiction and venue - this section describes why the case should be heard in the selected court rather than some other court or forum. Parties - identifies plaintiffs and defendants . Definitions - optional section which defines some terms used throughout the document. The main purpose of a definition is to achieve clarity without needless repetition. [5] Statement of facts - lists facts that brought the case to the court. Cause of Action - a numbered list of legal allegations (called " counts "), with specific details about application of the governing law to each count. In this section the plaintiff usually cites existing Law, previous decisions of the court where the case is being processed, decisions of the higher appellate courts , and cases from other courts, - as an analogy to resolve similar questions of law. Injury - plaintiff explains to the judge how the actions of the defendant(s) harmed his rights. Demand for relief - describes the relief that plaintiff is seeking as a result of the lawsuit. The relief can include a request for declaratory judgment , a request for injunctive relief (non-monetary relief), compensatory and actual damages (such as monetary relief), punitive damages (non-compensatory), and other relief.

After the complaint has been filed with the court, it has to be properly served to the opposite parties, but usually petitioners are not allowed to serve the complaint personally. [6] The court also can issue a summons - an official summary document which the plaintiff needs to have served together with the complaint. The defendants have limited time to respond, depending on the State or Federal rules. A defendant's failure to answer a complaint can result in a default judgment in favor of the petitioner.

For example, in United States federal courts , any person who is at least 18 years old and not a party may serve a summons and complaint in a civil case. [6] The defendant must submit an answer within 21 days after being served with the summons and complaint, or request a waiver , according to FRCP Rule 12. [7] After the civil complaint has been served to the defendants, the plaintiff must, as soon as practicable initiate a conference between the parties to plan for the rest of the discovery process and then the parties should submit a proposed discovery plan to the judge within 14 days after the conference. [8]

In many U.S. jurisdictions, a complaint submitted to a court must be accompanied by a Case Information Statement , which sets forth specific key information about the case and the lawyers representing the parties . This allows the judge to make determinations about which deadlines to set for different phases of the case, as it moves through the court system.

There are also freely accessible web search engines to assist parties in finding court decisions that can be cited in the complaint as an example or analogy to resolve similar questions of law. [9] Google Scholar is the biggest database of full text state and federal courts decisions that can be accessed without charge. [9] [10] These web search engines often allow one to select specific state courts to search. [9]

Federal courts created the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system to obtain case and docket information from the United States district courts , United States courts of appeals , and United States bankruptcy courts . [11] The system is managed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts ; it allows lawyers and self-represented clients to obtain documents entered in the case much faster than regular mail. [11]

Filing and privacy [ edit ] Example page from Complaint in Anderson v. Cryovac landmark case. [12]

In addition to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure , many of the U.S. district courts have developed their own requirements included in Local Rules for filing with the Court. [13] Local Rules can set up a limit on the number of pages, establish deadlines for motions and responses, explain whether it is acceptable to combine a motion petition with a response, specify if a judge needs an additional copy of the documents (called "judge’s copy"), etc. [14] [15] Local Rules can define page layout elements like: margins , text font/size , distance between lines, mandatory footer text, page numbering , and provide directions on how the pages need to be bound together – i.e. acceptable fasteners , number and location of fastening holes , etc. [14] [15] [16] If the filed motion does not comply with the Local Rules then the judge can choose to strike the motion completely, or order the party to re-file its motion, or grant a special exception to the Local Rules.

According to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 5.2 , sensitive text like Social Security number , Taxpayer Identification Number , birthday , bank accounts and children ’s names, should be redacted from the filings made with the court and accompanying exhibits, [17] (however, exhibits normally do not need to be attached to the original complaint, but should be presented to Court after the discovery ). The redacted text can be erased with black-out or white-out, and the page should have an indication that it was redacted - most often by stamping word "redacted" on the bottom. Alternately, the filing party may ask the court’s permission to file some exhibits completely under seal . A minor 's name of the petitions should be replaced with initials . [17]

A person making a redacted filing can file an unredacted copy under seal, or the Court can choose to order later that an additional filing be made under seal without redaction. [17] Copies of both redacted and unredacted documents filed with court should be provided to the other parties in the case . Some courts also require that an additional electronic courtesy copy be emailed to the other parties. [16]

Attorney fees [ edit ]

Before filing the complaint, it is important for plaintiffs to remember that Federal courts can impose liability for the prevailing party's attorney fees to the losing party, if the judge considers the case frivolous or for purposes of harassment, even when the case was voluntarily dismissed. [18] [19] In the case of Fox v. Vice, the U.S. Supreme Court held that reasonable attorneys' fees could be awarded to the defendant under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1988, but only for costs that the defendant would not have incurred "but for the frivolous claims." [20] [21] Even when there is no actual trial or judgment, if there is only pre-trial motion practice such as motions to dismiss, attorney fee shifting still can be awarded under FRCP Rule 11 when the opposing party files a Motion for Sanctions and the court issue an order identifying the sanctioned conduct and the basis for the sanction. [22] The losing party has a right to appeal any order for sanctions in the higher court. [23] In the state courts, however, each party is generally responsible only for its own attorney fees, with certain exceptions. [19]

See also [ edit ] Cause of action Online Complaint Management System Petition Pleading Service of process References [ edit ] Wikiquote has quotations related to: Complaints ^ "Pro Se Litigant Guide - Utah" (PDF) .   ^ a b "Civil Rights Complaint Guide - Utah" (PDF) .   ^ "Pro Se Guide - SC" (PDF) .   ^ "US District Court of Idaho - PRO SE HANDBOOK" . Archived from the original on 2000-08-15.   ^ "Drafting Legal Documents" .   ^ a b "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - Rule 4" .   ^ "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure" .   ^ "FRCP Rule 26" .   ^ a b c "Google Scholar" . Archived from the original on 2004-12-29.   ^ "An Examination of Citation Counts in a New Scholarly Communication Environment" .   ^ a b "PACER" .   ^ "Complaint in Anderson v. Cryovac landmark case." .   ^ "LOCAL COURT RULES" . Archived from the original on 2010-05-22.   ^ a b "Local Rules of U.S. District Court, District of Indiana" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-23.   ^ a b "Local Rules of U.S. District Court, District of Oklahoma" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-29.   ^ a b "Local Rules of U.S. District Court, District of Oregon" . Archived from the original on 2010-05-27.   ^ a b c "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure" .   ^ "FRCP Rule 54. Judgment; Costs" .   ^ a b CRS. "Awards of Attorneys’ Fees by Federal Courts and Federal Agencies" (PDF) .   ^ "Fox v. Vice, #10-144, 2011 U.S. Lexis 4182" .   ^ "Attorneys’ Fees in Federal Civil Rights Lawsuits" (PDF) .   ^ "FRCP Rule 11" .   ^ "Pro Se Guide - South Carolina" (PDF) .   External links [ edit ] Look up complaint in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Example of a Complaint Second Amended Complaint in Anderson v. Cryovac landmark case Retrieved from " https://en./w/index.php?title=Complaint&oldid=778204591 " Categories : Legal terminology Legal documents Hidden categories: Articles with limited geographic scope from May 2017 USA-centric