The Litigation Division of the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for providing legal representation to the State of Louisiana, State agencies, and State employees in all tort claims seeking damages. The Litigation Division defends claims managed by the Office of Risk Management and by any post-secondary education institution granted an exemption from the State’s risk management program.
The Litigation Division is divided into eight sections: Appeals, Case Administration, Civil Rights, General Liability, Medical Malpractice, Road Hazard, Transportation, and Worker’s Compensation. The Litigation Division is headquartered in Baton Rouge with five regional offices located in Alexandria, Lafayette, Monroe, New Orleans, and Shreveport. There is also a law library located within the Baton Rouge office to provide support for the Litigation Division. The Litigation Division is one of the largest defense firms across the State, with a combined full-time staff of 172 employees - consisting of attorneys, paralegals, and support personnel.
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 executive staff ensures that the daily activities, duties, and responsibilities of the Division are accomplished. The staff consists of the director, three deputy directors, operations manager, special litigation counsel, assistant special litigation counsel, executive secretary, executive management officer, property manager, property assistant, and a receptionist.
Special Litigation Counsel
The Special Litigation Counsel defends the State’s judiciary, the Disciplinary Counsel, and the Judiciary Commission. Special Litigation Counsel also defends cases deemed in need of special handling with other Divisions and contract counsel regarding specialized litigation issues.
Appeals Section The Appeals Section represents and defends the interests of the State of Louisiana, its agencies, departments, and employees in appellate matters before federal and state courts within Louisiana. This section handles appeals from final judgments, as well as supervisory writs of review for interlocutory judgments and applications for writ of certiorari.
The Case Administration Section is responsible for management of the case intake and case resolution processes, which involves the coverage and risk analysis for the determination of covered claims, claims processing into the electronic case tracking system, management of the database, and tracking the claims throughout the litigation process. The Case Administration Section has two attorneys, a case manager, assistant case manager, and three analysts.
Civil Rights The Civil Rights Section defends suits filed in both state and federal court involving the deprivation of a person’s civil rights. Such suits include, claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and parallel state statutes. The Civil Rights Section also provides legal representation to State agencies, its officials, and employees in civil rights actions brought pursuant to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
The General Liability Section defends all tort suits arising from incidents that do not come under the purview of any other section. The types of claims include injuries occurring on the premises of a State agency, including slip-and-fall incidents, broken chairs, and other defective items; lawsuits involving failure to train, supervise, or protect students, foster students, or children placed in state custody; general maritime claims; asbestos claims; defamation claims; and abuse and neglect claims.
The Medical Malpractice Section defends the State, State agencies, and State health care providers against claims of medical malpractice in both the medical review panel process and in subsequent lawsuits filed in state court. The attorneys in the Medical Malpractice section also defend, the interests of state health care providers in depositions, hearings, and trials where these healthcare providers have been subpoenaed as witnesses.
The Road Hazard Section defends the Department of Transportation and Development against claims where a condition of the roadway or its maintenance is alleged to have caused or contributed to the accident at issue. All money judgments against DOTD for road hazard claims, whether through trial or an agreement between the parties, must be satisfied by an appropriation from the Louisiana Legislature and approved by the Governor prior to payment.
The Transportation Section defends the State, State agencies, and State employees in lawsuits involving automobile accidents and other automobile-related actions that occurred while the State employee was engaged in on-the-job activities, including accidents involving inmate transport.
The Workers’ Compensation Section defends the State and all of its agencies in workers’ compensation proceedings, where a dispute arises concerning benefits payable under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Workers’ Compensation Section also files suit to recover funds from third parties that the State paid to either injured State employees or to state agencies. The Workers’ Compensation Section also represents the State in seeking reimbursement of workers’ compensation benefits paid by ORM from the Second Injury Fund by appealing decisions of the Second Injury Board wherein ORM’s claim for reimbursement from the Board is denied.
The Alexandria Regional Office serves the following parishes across central and north Louisiana - Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, and Vernon. The Alexandria Office also defends state court suits filed in Sabine Parish, federal suits filed in Winn Parish, and workers’ compensation claims filed in District 2.
The Lafayette Regional Office serves the following parishes in south and southwest Louisiana - Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion. The Lafayette Office also defends workers’ compensation claims filed in Districts 3 and 4.
The Monroe Regional Office serves the following parishes in northeast Louisiana - Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Union, Tensas, and West Carroll. The Monroe Office also defends workers’ compensation claims filed in District 1E.
The New Orleans Regional Office serves the following parishes in southeast Louisiana - Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, St. Tammany, Terrebonne, and Washington. The New Orleans Office also defends federal suits filed in Tangipahoa Parish, as well as workers’ compensation claims filed in Districts 7, 8, and 9.
The Shreveport Regional Office serves the following parishes in north and northwest Louisiana - Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, De Soto, Jackson, Red River, Webster, and Winn. The Shreveport Office also defends state suits filed in Winn Parish and federal suits filed in Sabine Parish, as well as workers’ compensation claims filed in District 1E.