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A little background on Louisiana law. Home improvement contractors need a license for any services between $7,500 and $75,000. These licenses are typically valid for 1-year. There is also not requirement that you can only sue a licensed contractor. It is much easier to sue and collect against a licensed contractor, but you still have the legal right to commence an action for breach of contract.
In Louisiana, there are generally 3 types of consequences for a person or company who works without a license, first there are potential criminal penalties, it is a misdemeanor crime to contract without a license in Louisiana. Second, a contract with an unlicensed contractor is null & void - which means that he cannot raise defenses or counterclaim against you if you do sue in a court, and third, civil penalties which can be imposed by the Louisiana Board of Contractors. The Board is given very broad power to enforce the licensing regulations. They can assess civil penalties against your unlicensed contractor for as much as 3% of the contract price.
That said, You can call the local district attorney in your parish and file a complaint against the contractor. You would first need to make a report with the local police department before they can start the process. You stated that you filed a complaint. Did you file it with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors. They would be the one to investigate and help with the prosecution and court case. Their contact information is(###) ###-#### www.lslbc.louisiana.gov.
Since it appears that you already filed a complaint, the Board will set the matter down for a hearing on the complaint. Even though it is not a court, since it is an agency of the state, it has been granted all of the powers to regulate aspects of the construction industry in Louisiana, and can set fines and help you recover the money paid to the fraudulent contractor.
You can also file a complaint with the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General. They are a state agency who helps consumers recover monies stolen by contractor’s like yours.
To file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General you can call their Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-***-***-****.
The best first steps are the file the complaint with the Board, which it sound like you have done already, and wait to see the outcome and then use that evidence in any court action you may have to start in district court to recover the $30,000.00, plus costs and attorney fees. You would need to hire a local attorney to file any action against the contractor. Set up a consultation with a local attorney to discuss the case and is potential outcome.
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