The mission of the Litigation Program is to provide legal representation to the state, its officers, agents, employees, boards and commissions in all tort claims seeking damages, whether or not covered by the State’s Self-Insurance Fund.
The state’s exposure in tort liability is far greater than in the private sector, both in dollar amount and in variety of claims asserted. The Litigation Program saves Louisiana millions of dollars annually in legal fees by defending the majority of the claims in-house.
Organizationally, the Litigation Program is subdivided into six sections: Administration, Civil Rights, General Liability, Medical Malpractice, Road Hazards and Workers’ Compensation. The five substantive law sections specialize in litigation matters filed against the State. The program has six regional offices that support the sections geographically in various matters of litigation filed. The regional offices are located in Alexandria, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Monroe, Shreveport and New Orleans. Additionally, there are substantive matters that are deemed to require special litigation and are assigned to the Special Litigation Counsel.
Director: Sonia Mallett
Sonia Mallett has spent the majority of the last 25 years serving with the Louisiana Department of Justice. She also served as Executive Counsel to Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System and practiced law with a Baton Rouge firm. Mallett earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and her law degree from Loyola University College of Law.
The Administrative Section oversees and manages all personnel in the Litigation Division. The Section receives, processes, and monitors claims made against the State of Louisiana, its agencies and employees for tort damages, makes determinations on coverage issues and section assignments. The Section also operates the Law Library for the Attorney General’s Office.
Civil Rights Section
The Civil Rights Section generally represents state officials, employees, state agencies, and the “state” in litigation seeking monetary damages brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983, as well as virtually all other federal statutory schemes relating to employment, state statutes dealing with employment discrimination (such as La. R.S. 23:321, et seq.) and prisoner suits brought pursuant to La. R.S. 15:1171 et seq., both under judicial review and for tort damages under the Pope decision.
General Liability Section
The General Liability Section provides legal defense to the State, state agencies and employees, etc. against tort litigation in regard to claims of personal injuries and/or property damage which allegedly occurred on state property or were caused by a state employee or officer.
Medical Malpractice Section
The Medical Malpractice Section handles the defense of claims filed against state health care providers pursuant to R.S. 40:1237.1.
Road Hazards Section
The Road Hazards Section defends the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in all tort suits filed against the agency involving personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage.
Workers' Compensation Section
The Workers’ Compensation Section is responsible for representation in workers’ compensation suits filed by state employees against their respective agencies and departments, as well as subrogation matters and Jones Act/maritime suits from Risk Management.