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Hall v. State

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

March 23, 2015

KENNETH HALL
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, ET AL

RULING AND ORDER

BRIAN A. JACKSON, Chief District Judge.

Before the Court are the following motions filed by Plaintiff Kenneth Hall and Intervenor-Plaintiff Byron Sharper (together, "Plaintiffs"), requesting the Court take judicial notice of various facts:

• Plaintiff and Intervenor's Request for Judicial Notice as to Judicial and Legislative Findings of Ongoing Racial Discrimination in Voting in Louisiana (Doc. 287);
• Plaintiff and Intervenor's Request for Judicial Notice as to United States Census Bureau Data, Scholarly Publications, News Publications, Louisiana Attorney General Opinions and the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 (Doc. 337); and
• Plaintiff and Intervenor's Request for Judicial Notice (Doc. 341).

Defendants James D. "Buddy" Caldwell, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, and the State of Louisiana have filed opposition to Plaintiffs' requests for judicial notice. ( See Docs. 312, 439). Plaintiffs filed a reply to one of Defendants' opposition memoranda. ( See Doc. 430).

I. The Court's Ability to Take Judicial Notice

Federal Rule of Evidence ("Rule") 201 provides that a court may take judicial notice of an adjudicative fact "that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it: (1) is generally known within the trial court's territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held:

Judicial notice may be taken of facts known at once with certainty by all the reasonably intelligent people in the community without the need of resorting to any evidential data at all.... Specific facts and propositions of generalized knowledge which are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to easily accessible sources of indisputable accuracy may be judicially noticed.

Weaver v. United States, 298 F.2d 496, 498-99 (5th Cir. 1962) (McCormick on Evidence, Judicial Notice, § 323 at p. 688 and footnote citing Uniform Rules of Evidence, Rule 9). "[E]ven though a court may take judicial notice of a document filed in another court to establish the fact of such litigation and related filings, a court cannot take judicial notice of the factual findings of another court." Taylor v. Charter Med. Corp., 162 F.3d 827, 830 (5th Cir. 1998) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). Under Rule 201, a court may not take notice of legal determinations. See id. at 831.

II. Judicial Notice in the Instant Case

Among their three motions, Plaintiffs request that the Court take judicial notice of facts falling into various categories. The Court proceeds to analyze each of these categories in turn.

A. Judicial and Legislative Findings of Ongoing Racial Discrimination in Voting in Louisiana

Plaintiffs request that the Court judicially notice the factual findings and holdings of various civil rights litigation cases. ( See Doc. 287 at pp. 5-9). As a general rule, a court may not simply adopt the factual findings of another court because such findings "do not constitute facts not subject to reasonable dispute' within the meaning of rule 201" and, further, "were it permissible for a court to take judicial notice of a fact merely because it had been found to be true in some other action, the doctrine ...


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