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Petivan v. City of New Orleans

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

November 12, 2014

ARTHUR F. PETIVAN
v.
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS

APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 2011-09854, DIVISION " C" . Honorable Sidney H. Cates, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

John A. E. Davidson, Christopher J. Davidson, DAVIDSON & DAVIDSON, APLC, Metairie, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

Melissa S. Quigley, Assistant City Attorney, Joyce G. Joseph, Deputy City Attorney, Cherrell R. Simms, Senior Chief Deputy City Attorney, Sharonda R. Williams, City Attorney, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

(Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins).

OPINION

Daniel L. Dysart, J.

Page 632

[2014-0504 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Arthur Petivan appeals a judgment rendered on a motion for new trial, in which the trial court reversed its previous ruling denying exceptions filed by the City of New Orleans, and maintaining the City's Exception of Prescription. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Arthur Petivan owns property at 4131-33 N. Rampart in New Orleans. The property was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Petivan claims to have made substantial repairs to the property, but despite his best efforts, the City of New Orleans (" City" ) levied fines and penalties against him, preventing him from paying his ad valorem taxes because the alleged exorbitant fines and penalties must be paid before he can pay his tax bill.

On June 10, 2009, the City sent Petivan a " notification of violation and hearing notice." The notice informed Petivan of the hearing date, and listed the violations relative to the blighted condition of the property.

[2014-0504 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] The record indicates that Petivan appeared at the initial hearing on June 10, 2009, and asked for more time to complete repairs. The hearing was continued five more times at Petivan's request. When Petivan did not appear at the last setting on May 5, 2010, the hearing officer received evidence that the property had not been brought in compliance, and adjudicated Petivan guilty. As a result, a Notice of Judgment was sent to Petivan indicating that he was found in violation of ordinance 28-37 allowing a public nuisance, and was assessed $575 in fines and costs. Additionally, he was notified that a fine of $100 per day could be assessed after thirty days if the property was not repaired. The notice further informed him that failure to pay the fines within 30 days could result in a lien being placed on the property, and if he failed to pay the lien with his next tax bill, the property could be sold. It also informed him that the property could be eligible for demolition as it was declared a public nuisance. Lastly, the notice informed Petivan that he had thirty days from the date of the judgment to appeal to the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans.

Petivan did not appeal and on July 7, 2010, another Notice of Judgment was rendered declaring the property blighted and a public nuisance. Fines were assessed and Petivan was informed that a daily fine of $300 could be assessed if the property was not brought into compliance. Again, Petivan was informed that he had thirty days to appeal.

On July 15, 2010, a third Notice of Judgment was issued, finding Petivan guilty of " demolition by neglect." The notice informed him that the City could [2014-0504 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] hire a contractor to repair the property at Petivan's expense, and that failure to pay the fines and costs within thirty days would result in the Notice of Judgment being ...


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