Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Louisiana Chemical Association v. State

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

April 7, 2017

LOUISIANA CHEMICAL ASSOCIATION
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, THROUGH THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE; HON. TIM BARFIELD, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE; THE LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE, THROUGH HON. JOHN A. ALARIO, PRESIDENT OF THE LOUISIANA SENATE AND HON. CHARLES E. "CHUCK" KLECKLEY, SPEAKER OF THE LOUISIANA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; THE LOUISIANA TOURISM PROMOTION DISTRICT, THROUGH THE CHAIRMAN OF ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS, HON. HARRISON SMITH; AND HON. BOBBY JINDAL, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA

          APPEALED FROM THE NINETEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT IN AND FOR THE PARISH EAST BATON ROUGE STATE OF LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER 640, 501 HONORABLE R. MICHAEL CALDWELL, JUDGE

          Linda S. Akchin Christopher J. Dicharry Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Plaintiffs/ Appellants Louisiana Chemical Association, Alma Plantation, L.L.C., Louisiana Pigment Company, L.P., Phillips 66 Company, Phillips 66 Pipeline, L.L.C., and Phillips 66 Partners Holdings, L.L.C.

          Henry T. Graham, Jr. Robert D. Schromm Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Plaintiff/ Appellant Louisiana Chemical Association

          Alfred W. Speer Glenn A. Koepp Jerry J. Guillot Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Defendant/ Appellee Louisiana Legislature

          Patricia H. Wilton Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/ Appellee State of Louisiana

          Antonio Charles Ferachi Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/ Appellee Louisiana Department of Revenue

          Linda S. Akchin Attorneys for Plaintiffs/Appellants Christopher J. Dicharry Louisiana Chemical Association, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Alma Plantation, L.L.C., Louisiana

          BEFORE: PETTIGREW, McDONALD, AND CALLOWAY [*] JJ.

          McDONALD, J.

         This is an appeal from a summary judgment dismissing the plaintiffs' claims with prejudice. After a de novo review, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Louisiana Chemical Association, Alma Plantation, L.L.C., Louisiana Pigment Company, L.P., Phillips 66 Company, Phillips 66 Pipeline, L.L.C., and Phillips 66 Partners Holdings, L.L.C., (collectively the plaintiffs)[1] filed a petition for declaratory judgment on July 1, 2015, naming as defendants the State of Louisiana, through the Louisiana Department of Revenue; Tim Barfield, in his official capacity as the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue; the Louisiana Legislature, through John Alario, President of the Louisiana Senate; Charles E. "Chuck" Kleckley, Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives; the Louisiana Tourism Promotion District, through the Chairman of its Board of Directors, Harrison Smith; and Bobby Jindal, in his official capacity as Governor of Louisiana.[2] The plaintiffs asserted that the defendants were collectively responsible for the adoption, administration, and enforcement of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 8, passed during the 2015 legislative session, which suspended certain exemptions for State sales tax laws from July 1, 2015 until 60 days after the 2016 Regular Session of the Legislature. The plaintiffs asserted that HCR 8 was unconstitutional because it purported to suspend a law without the required two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature; that it did not satisfy the requirements of the Louisiana Constitution; that it was in direct conflict with existing law, and thus could not be given effect; and alternatively, that it was impermissibly vague and ambiguous, such that it violated due process. The plaintiffs prayed that HCR 8 be declared unconstitutional, and for all other reasonable relief.

         The defendants filed a joint motion for summary judgment on November 20, 2015. The defendants asserted that: the financial condition of the State was such that the monies lost to the exemption listed in HCR 8 were critically needed to avoid cessation of vital services; and that legislative instruments were presumed to be constitutional. Further, defendants asserted that there were no genuine issues of material fact that: the plaintiffs had failed to establish that HCR 8 violated the constitution; the plaintiffs had failed to establish that HCR 8 was adopted in violation of the Louisiana Constitution; the plaintiffs had failed to establish that HCR 8 was an unconstitutional amendment of existing laws; the plaintiffs had failed to establish that HCR 8 conflicted with the provisions of Section 3 of Act No. 4 of the 2004 First Extraordinary Legislature; and that the plaintiffs had failed to establish HCR 8 was impermissibly vague and ambiguous. The defendants asked that summary judgment be granted in their favor, that the case be dismissed with prejudice, and that the plaintiffs be cast with costs.

         The plaintiffs filed a cross motion for summary judgment on November 20, 2015. The plaintiffs asserted that there was no genuine issue of material fact and that as a matter of law they were entitled to judgment declaring that HCR 8 was ineffective, null and void, or unconstitutional on any or all of the multiple grounds set forth in their petition, for any and all other reasonable relief, and that the defendants be cast with all costs.

         A hearing on the cross motions for summary judgment was held on December 14, 2015. Thereafter, by judgment dated January 6, 2016, [3] the district court denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, granted the defendants' joint motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the plaintiffs' claims with prejudice. The plaintiffs have appealed the judgment and make the following assignments of error.

1. The District Court erred by denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment on grounds that HCR 8 is inconsistent with, and superseded by, Act. No. 4 (1st Ex. Sess. 2004), § 3.
2. The District Court erred by denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment on grounds of the unconstitutionality of HCR 8 under any or all of the following: La. Const, art. Ill. §§ 14, 15, 16, 18 and 20, and La. Const, art. VII, § 2.
3. The District Court erred by denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment on grounds of the unconstitutional vagueness and ambiguity of HCR 8.

         THE STANDARD OF REVIEW

         After a thorough review of the record before us, we note that the material facts of this case are not in dispute. The real issue before us is whether the district court correctly interpreted and applied the law. Appellate review of questions of law is simply a review of whether the trial court was legally correct or legally incorrect. On legal issues the appellate court gives no weight to the findings of the trial court, but exercises its constitutional duty to review questions of law and renders judgment on the record. Louisiana Hosp. Ass'n v. State, 2013-0579 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/30/14), 168 So.3d 676, 685, writ denied. 2015-0215 (La. 5/1/15), 169So.3d372.

         ANALYSIS

         House Concurrent Resolution 8 provides:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of Louisiana hereby suspends all of the exemptions from the tax levied pursuant to R.S. 47:331 for sales of steam, water, electric power or energy, and natural gas, including but not limited to the exemption in R.S. 47:3 05(D)(1)(b), (c), (d), and (g), and any other exemptions provided in those portions of Chapter 2 of Subtitle II of Title 47 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950 that provide for exemptions for business utilities from the taxes imposed therein.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that that this suspension shall become effective on July 1, 2015 and shall extend through the sixtieth day after final adjournment of the 2016 Regular Session of the Legislature of Louisiana.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.