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Jefferson Parish Hospital Service District No. 2 v. Hospital Service District No. 1 of Parish of St. Charles

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

April 12, 2017

JEFFERSON PARISH HOSPITAL SERVICE DISTRICT NO. 2, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA, D/B/A EAST JEFFERSON GENERAL HOSPITAL
v.
HOSPITAL SERVICE DISTRICT NO. 1 OF THE PARISH OF ST. CHARLES D/B/A ST. CHARLES PARISH HOSPITAL

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 81, 251, DIVISION "E" HONORABLE TIMOTHY S. MARCEL, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, JEFFERSON PARISH HOSPITAL SERVICE DISTRICT NO. 2, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA, D/B/A EAST JEFFERSON GENERAL HOSPITAL P. J. Stakelum, III David R. Sherman

          Glenn S. Newbauer COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, HOSPITAL SERVICE DISTRICT NO. 1 OF THE PARISH OF ST. CHARLES PARISH D/B/A ST. CHARLES PARISH HOSPITAL Matthew K. Brown Jack M. Stolier

          Panel composed of Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Marc E. Johnson, and Robert A. Chaisson

         FHW

         MEJ

         RAC

          FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER JUDGE

         This appeal arises out of a judgment of the district court granting a declinatory exception of lack of subject matter jurisdiction in favor of defendant, Hospital Service District No. 1 of the Parish of St. Charles (the "SCPH District"), and dismissing without prejudice the declaratory action that plaintiff, Jefferson Parish Hospital Service District No. 2 ("EJGH"), filed against the SCPH District. Although the SCPH District initially objected to EJGH's attempt to open the designated healthcare facility within the bounds of St. Charles Parish's hospital service district, the SCPH District has since withdrawn its objection to this facility, and the record contains no evidence that EJGH is considering further expansion within the boundaries of the SCPH District. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court and find that the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction because there is presently no justiciable controversy between the SCPH District and EJGH.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In order to understand the alleged dispute between the parties, it is necessary to understand the legal framework under which both hospital districts operate.

         In 1950, the state legislature passed La. R.S. 46:1051, which empowered the police juries of the parishes to create hospital service districts tasked with the duties and functions of owning and operating hospitals. Washington Parish Police Jury v. Washington Parish Hosp. Serv. Dist. No.1, 152 So.2d 362, 366 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1963), writ denied, 153 So.2d 883. Specifically, under this statute,

[t]he police juries of parishes are authorized and empowered, upon their own initiative, to form and create one or more hospital service districts within the respective parishes, or with agreement among police juries concerned, to combine two or more parishes into a single hospital service district with such names as the police juries may designate, and, in so doing, police juries may create hospital service districts whose boundaries overlap those of other hospital service districts.

La. R.S. 46:1051(A).

         Pursuant to the authority granted by La. R.S. 46:1051, St. Charles Parish enacted Code of Ordinances, Chapter 11, Article I, Section 11-11, creating the SCPH District,

a hospital service district to be known as "Hospital Service District No. 1 of the Parish of St. Charles, State of Louisiana, " and containing within its boundaries and corporate limits all of the territory within the boundaries and corporate limits of the parish as constituted on the adoption date of this Code.

         Likewise, Jefferson Parish enacted Code of Ordinances, Chapter 17, Article II, Section 17-17, creating EJGH,

a hospital service district within the parish comprising and embracing all that territory within the following described boundaries:
All that portion of the Parish of Jefferson lying on the east side or the left descending bank of the Mississippi River, which portion comprises all of the wards numbered 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Parish of Jefferson and is bounded on the east by the Parish of Orleans, on the west by the Parish of St. Charles, on the north by ...

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