38 CFR 18.550 - Exhaustion of administrative remedies.

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§ 18.550 Exhaustion of administrative remedies.

(a) A complainant may file a civil action following the exhaustion of administrative remedies under the Act. Administrative remedies are exhausted if:

(1) 180 days have elapsed since the complainant filed the complaint and VA has made no finding with regard to the complaint; or

(2) VA issues any finding in favor of the recipient.

(b) If VA fails to make a finding within 180 days or issues a finding in favor of the recipient, VA will:

(1) Promptly advise the complainant of this fact; and

(2) Advise the complainant of his or her right to bring a civil action for injunctive relief; and

(3) Inform the complainant that:

(i) The complainant may bring a civil action only in a United States district court for the district in which the recipient is found or transacts business;

(ii) A complainant prevailing in a civil action has the right to be awarded the costs of the action, including reasonable attorney's fees, but the complainant must demand these costs in the complaint;

(iii) Before commencing the action, the complainant shall give 30 days notice by registered mail to the Secretary, the Attorney General of the United States, and the recipient;

(iv) The notice must state: The alleged violation of the Act; the relief requested; the court in which the complainant is bringing the action; and, whether or not attorney's fees are demanded in the event the complainant prevails; and

(v) The complainant may not bring action if the same alleged violations of the Act by the same recipient is the subject of a pending action in any court of the United States.

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101- 6107)