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Rand v. City of New Orleans

Supreme Court of Louisiana

June 30, 2015

LEE W. RAND, JEREMY D. BOYCE, KEISHA M. GUICHARD, AND EDMOND J. HARRIS
v.
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS

ON APPEAL FROM THE CIVIL DISTRICT COURT FOR THE PARISH OF ORLEANS.

Shawn Lindsay, Sharonda R. Williams, CITY OF NEW ORLEANS ATTORNEY'S OFFICE; Patricia Schuster LeBlanc, Deborah A. Villio, Michael Louis Fantaci, LEBLANC & BUTLER, LLC, For Appellant.

Paul R. Valteau, Jr, VALTEAU, HARRIS, KOENIG & MAYER, For Appellee.

KNOLL, J. JOHNSON, C.J., concurs in the result.

OPINION

Page 1149

[2014-2506 La. 1] KNOLL, J.

This direct appeal was lodged in this Court concerning the constitutional sufficiency of the administrative adjudication procedure which the City of New Orleans has established for its citizens who challenge tickets that were issued automatically on the basis of photographic evidence obtained from traffic cameras.

In 2007, the City of New Orleans (the " City" ) enacted a group of ordinances, codified as Sections 154-1701 through 15-1704 of its Code of Ordinances, which created the Automated Traffic Enforcement System (" ATES" ). In 2011, plaintiffs filed a " Petition for Preliminary and Permanent Injunction," alleging the administrative hearing procedure set out in these ordinances violated Louisiana State Constitution Article I, § 2 due process rights and Article I, § 22 access to courts rights. Following an adversarial hearing, the District Court granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction " enjoining, prohibiting, and restraining the City of New Orleans from conducting any administrative hearings authorized by the enabling ordinance section 154-1701 et seq." The trial court further ordered that its ruling would be stayed " pending final resolution of a writ application to the 4th Circuit Court of appeals [sic] by the City of New Orleans." In its written reasons [2014-2506 La. 2] for judgment, the District Court found:

The enforcement procedure for the City of New Orleans' ('CNO's') Automated Traffic Enforcement System gives the CNO administrative authority to adjudicate violations. (New Orleans, La. Municipal Code of 2011, Article XVII, Sec. 154-1701).
The CNO, therefore, has a financial stake in the outcome of the cases adjudicated by hearing officers in their employ and/or paid by them, raising due process considerations.

Thereafter, the City filed a supervisory writ application with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, agreeing with the trial court's assessment of the due process problems inherent in the ATES administrative adjudication procedure and finding that " the trial court did not abuse its discretion because the Plaintiffs presented prima facie evidence that they are entitled to the preliminary injunction and may prevail on the merits." [1] The City filed a supervisory writ application with this Court seeking review of the District Court's judgment granting the plaintiffs the preliminary injunction. This Court unanimously denied the City's writ.[2]

Plaintiffs then filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing there is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute and they are entitled to summary judgment granting a permanent injunction as a matter of law based solely " on the affidavits attached and the opinion of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals [sic] and the concurring opinion of Judge Belsom [sic]." Attached to the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment were (1) the affidavits of plaintiffs, Keisha M. Guichard, Edmond J. Harris, Lee W. Rand, and Jeremy Boyce, (2) the District Court's judgment granting plaintiffs the preliminary injunction, along with the court's written reasons for judgment, (3) the Fourth Circuit's opinion affirming the judgment granting the preliminary injunction, and (4) this Court's action sheet, denying the City's application for supervisory review of the preliminary injunction. The City opposed the plaintiffs' motion, arguing that a motion for

Page 1150

[2014-2506 La. 3] summary judgment is not the appropriate procedural vehicle for consideration of a permanent injunction.[3] Following a hearing, the District Court issued a judgment granting plaintiffs' motion for ...


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