2018 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 15 - Criminal Procedure
RS 15:1184 - Suits by prisoners
§1184. Suits by prisoners
A.(1) For purposes of this Section, the following words have the following meanings:
(a) "Administrative remedies" means written policies adopted by governmental entities responsible for the operation of prisons which establish an internal procedure for receiving, addressing, and resolving claims by prisoners with respect to the conditions of confinement or the effects of actions by government officials on the lives of persons confined in prison. Such "administrative remedies" need not be adopted or published in compliance with R.S. 15:1171.
(b) "Available" means all administrative remedies adopted by governmental entities, which address claims of the kind asserted by the prisoner even if the administrative remedies do not allow the prisoner the particular kind of relief sought.
(2) No prisoner suit shall assert a claim under state law until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted. If a prisoner suit is filed in contravention of this Paragraph, the court shall dismiss the suit without prejudice.
(3) A court shall take judicial notice of administrative remedies adopted by a governmental entity that have been filed with the clerk of the district court in the parish where the governmental entity is domiciled.
B. The court, on its own motion or on the motion of a party, shall dismiss any prisoner suit if the court is satisfied that the action is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a cause of action, seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. If the court makes a determination to dismiss the suit based on the content, or lack thereof, of the petition, the court may dismiss the underlying claim without first requiring the exhaustion of administrative remedies. The court, on its own motion, may raise an exception of improper venue and transfer the suit to a court of proper venue or dismiss the suit.
C. Any defendant may waive the right to reply to any civil action brought by a person confined in any prison or to any prisoner suit. Notwithstanding any other law or rule of procedure, such waiver shall not constitute an admission of the allegations contained in the petition or waive any affirmative defenses available to the defendant. No relief shall be granted to the plaintiff unless an answer has been filed. The court may require any defendant to answer a petition brought under this Section if it finds that the plaintiff has a reasonable opportunity to prevail on the merits.
D. To the extent practicable, in any action brought with respect to prison conditions pursuant to the provisions of this Section, or any other law, by a prisoner confined in any prison, pretrial proceedings in which the prisoner's participation is required or permitted shall be conducted by telephone, video conference, or other communications technology without removing the prisoner from the facility in which he is confined. The courts may rule on exceptions and motions, without holding a contradictory hearing, after providing the parties an opportunity to file supporting and opposing memoranda. Subject to agreement by the state or local entity of government with custody over the prisoner, hearings may be conducted at the facility in which the prisoner is confined. To the extent practicable, the court shall allow counsel to participate by telephone, video conference, or other telecommunications technology in any hearing held at the facility.
E. No prisoner suit may assert a claim under state law for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury.
F. The exclusive venue for delictual actions for injury or damages shall be the parish where the prison is situated to which the prisoner was assigned when the cause of action arose. Upon consent of all parties, the court may transfer the suit to a parish in which venue would otherwise be proper.
G. The actions of more than one prisoner may not be cumulated and a prisoner suit filed or prosecuted pro se may not assert a class action. If a suit names more than one plaintiff or asserts a pro se class action, the actions of any plaintiff, other than the first named plaintiff, shall be dismissed without prejudice. As to the claims dismissed pursuant to this Subsection, the filing of the suit shall not be considered an interruption of prescription for purposes of Civil Code Article 3463.
Acts 1997, No. 731, §1, eff. July 9, 1997; Acts 1998, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 110, §1, eff. May 5, 1998; Acts 2001, No. 801, §1, eff. June 26, 2001; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 89, §2, eff. April 18, 2002.