TERRI LEWIS STEVENS AND JENNIFER FRUCHTNICHT, WIFE OF/AND CRAIG RIVERA
ST. TAMMANY PARISH GOVERNMENT
from the 22nd Judicial District Court In and for the Parish
of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Case No. 2015-10649 The
Honorable Allison H. Penzato, Judge Presiding.
R. Koerner, Jr. New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel for Plaintiffs
/Appellants Terri Lewis Stevens and Jennifer Fruchtnicht,
wife of /and Craig Rivera.
E. Blazek Lacombe, Louisiana James L. Bradford, III Kirk N.
Aurandt D. Stephen Brouillette, Jr. Covington, Louisiana
Counsel for Defendant /Appellee St. Tammany Parish
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, THERIOT, AND CHUTZ, JJ.
a companion case to Stevens v. St. Tammany Parish
Government, 16-0534 (La.App. 1 Cir. --/--/--), ___ So.3d ___,
handed down this same date. The plaintiffs-appellants, Terri
Lewis Stevens and Jennifer Fruchtnicht, wife of/and Craig
Rivera (collectively "the petitioners"), appeal a
judgment entered by the trial court in favor of the
defendant-appellee, St. Tammany Parish Government
("STPG"), denying the petitioners' request for
preliminary injunction on the construction of a certain
public works project. For the following reasons, we dismiss
this appeal as moot.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
February 18, 2015, the petitioners filed a petition for
injunctive relief, damages, and attorney fees against STPG.
The petitioners claimed they were the owners of adjoining
five-acre tracts of land located in St. Tammany Parish,
Louisiana, bordering Dove Park Road, a thoroughfare owned and
maintained by STPG, and which fronts the northern border of
Dove Park Subdivision. The petitioners claimed that in the
1950s, STPG or its predecessor in interest approved the
development of Dove Park Subdivision, which, as originally
designed, did not affect the drainage of water on the
petitioners' property. However, the petitioners claimed
that, in or around 2003, STPG conceived and executed a public
works project to pave the streets within the subdivision,
which changed the drainage of water in a manner that
substantially and unlawfully burdened the petitioners'
property. The petitioners claimed that STPG then approved
another public works project to widen Dove Park Road in order
to handle more drainage water, despite knowing that the
project would substantially increase the drainage of water
onto the petitioners' property. Based upon the foregoing,
the petitioners sought damages, permanent injunctive relief,
mandamus relief, and a temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction prohibiting STPG from beginning or
continuing work on the Dove Park Road widening project.
for purposes of this appeal, the trial court set the
petitioners' request for preliminary injunction for a
hearing on March 27, 2015. At the hearing on the preliminary
injunction, the trial court accepted testimony from the
petitioners and several other witnesses regarding both the
flooding conditions and the effects of the road widening
project. After the petitioners presented their case-in-chief,
STPG moved for involuntary dismissal. The trial court took the
matter under advisement, and, on April 1, 2015, in open
court, the trial court granted STPG's motion for
dismissal and assigned oral reasons for judgment. The trial
court explained that the petitioners failed to provide any
evidence that the road widening project would impact the
current drainage conditions and that a preliminary injunction
was therefore unnecessary to preserve the status quo.
Thereafter, on April 20, 2015, the trial court signed a
judgment granting the motion for involuntary dismissal and
denying the petitioners' request for the issuance of a
preliminary injunction on the construction of the road
widening project. The trial court reserved judgment on
"all other issues for later determination." The
petitioners now appeal.
petitioners raise the following assignments of error:
1. The trial court erred in not setting, considering, and
ruling on the motions to receive additional evidence and
alleging mandatory grounds for new trial.
2. It was error to refuse to consider Exhibits 28-31,
contended to impeach the testimonies of Jay Pittman and Jean
Thibodeaux and contended to demonstrate at least an ill
practice on the part of STPG. The trial court erred in not
reopening the preliminary injunction to consider these
3. Although the original petition contained detailed factual
allegations that STPG had trespassed on the petitioners'
property, had disturbed their possession, and had illegally
burdened their land, the trial court erroneously refused to
consider these causes of action and the testimonial proof
positive that STPG was dumping water, trash, and sewerage
that was eroding and fouling the petitioners' property.
There was additional ...