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Attorney General
Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

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Civil Enforcement Section

The Civil Enforcement Section has responsibility for affirmative litigation and prosecutions which span a wide range of matters before the District of Columbia Superior Court and administrative tribunals seeking enforcement of the District’s laws and regulations and to protect the public welfare. In addition, the Section handles a limited number of defensive litigation matters, specifically; administrative appeals of final agency actions to the D.C. Superior Court and to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Finally, the Section also criminally prosecutes misdemeanor cases of violations of the Health Occupations Revision Act in D.C. Superior Court.

Matters that involve the Civil Enforcement Section include:

Alcoholic Beverage Control

The Section prosecutes violations of the District’s alcoholic beverage control laws before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.  The Board may fine, and suspend or revoke the alcoholic beverage licenses of licensees that are the subject of the Section’s prosecutions.

  • Complaints about alcoholic beverage licensed establishments may be made to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration at the hotline at 202-329-6347.

Civil Forfeiture

The Section institutes forfeiture actions in D.C. Superior Court against property seized by the Metropolitan Police Department that is involved in certain offenses.  Seized property, such as vehicles and U.S. currency, may be subject to civil forfeiture if property was involved in the offenses of illegal firearms possession, illegal drug transactions, prostitution, gambling, illegal dumping, counterfeiting, and driving with a false temporary vehicle tag.

  • Persons with an interest in property that is subject to civil forfeiture may contact the District’s Metropolitan Police Department’s Evidence Control Bramch at (202) 727-2138.

Education Licensure Enforcement

The Section defends the decision of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to reject applications for new educational institutions before the District’s Education Licensure Commission.  The Section also prosecutes license holders before the Commission to suspend or revoke education licenses for regulatory violations.

Financial Regulation

On behalf of the Commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (“DISB”), the Sections institutes liquidation or rehabilitation proceedings in D.C. Superior Court seeking to liquidate or rehabilitate insurance companies who are undercapitalized and thus unable to conduct business in the District.  The Section also represents DISB in other financial actions, such as actions to enforce the Commissioner’s orders in securities matters.

Health Professional Discipline

The Section prosecutes licensed health professionals for violations of the Health Occupations Revision Act (“HORA”).  Enforcement actions to fine health professionals or suspend or revoke their licenses are held before their respective licensing boards.  The Section also criminally prosecutes misdemeanor cases of violations of the HORA in D.C. Superior Court.

  • Complaints about health professionals licensed to practice in the District of Columbia may be made to the Department of Health at (202) 442-5955.

Human Rights Violations

On behalf of the District, the Section institutes legal action based on claims for unlawful discrimination filed at the Office of Human Rights (“OHR”) alleging Human Rights Act housing violations.  Claimants who obtain a probable cause finding from OHR may elect to have their cases heard before the Commission on Human Rights or in D.C. Superior Court.  The Section brings enforcement actions in D.C. Superior Court when claimants select that forum.

Landlord and Tenant Litigation

Where the District seeks to enforce its rights as landlord, the Section represents the District in the Landlord and Tennant Branch of the D.C. Superior Court.

Local Business Certification

Small and local businesses obtain certification from the Department of Small and Local Business Development (“DSLDB”) to help them compete in District government procurement contracting.  The Section represents the District in enforcement actions to suspend or revoke a business certification for violation of the laws regulating certification.  The Section also defends the decision of the DSLDB Director to deny certification.

Medical Recovery

Where the District pays the healthcare costs of indigent persons who later obtain a financial recovery due to the injuries sustained, the District may be entitled to recover its Medicaid funds.  The Section takes action on behalf of the District in D.C. Superior Court, in probate proceedings or against third parties if necessary, to recover Medicaid costs.  The Section also seeks to recover healthcare funds expended on behalf of the District’s injured employees, including police officers, by taking legal action against third party tortfeasors where appropriate.

Unemployment Insurance Compensation Fraud

The Section prosecutes individuals who receive unemployment insurance as a result of fraudulent claims submitted to the Department of Employment Services. The Section seeks to recover the District’s unemployment insurance funds through enforcement actions filed in D.C. Superior Court.

Wage Enforcement

Employees who file wage claims against their employers may assign their rights to the Department of Employment Services (“DOES”), which refers such cases to the Section. On behalf of the District, the Section institutes enforcement actions in D.C. Superior Court against employers who violate the District’s Wage Hour Act in order to recover wages owed to employees. 

  • Complaints about the failure of employers to pay wages can be made to DOES at (202) 671-1880.

Workers Compensation Recovery

The Section seeks to recover lost wages suffered by District employees due to injuries caused by third parties. The Section does this by instituting enforcement actions in D.C. Superior Court if necessary.

Zoning Enforcement

The Section brings enforcement actions to address violations of the zoning regulations in Superior Court, seeking injunctive relief on behalf of the Zoning Administrator to cure the zoning violations. Violations also include enforcement of building permits.

  • Complaints regarding violations of zoning regulations may be made to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs at (202) 442-4400.