RICHARD PERNICIARO AND ROBERT CLEVELAND, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF PARATECH, L.L.C.
GUY MCINNIS, RAY LAUGA, JR., CASEY W. HUNNICUTT, RICHARD LEWIS, ST. BERNARD PARISH GOVERNMENT, THE TIMES PICAYUNE, L.L.C., BENJAMIN ALEXANDER-BLOCH AND RSUI INDEMNITY COMPANY
APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 754-887, DIVISION
"N" HONORABLE STEPHEN D. ENRIGHT, JR., JUDGE
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, RICHARD PERNICIARO AND
ROBERT CLEVELAND INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF PARATECH,
L.L.C. William J. Larzelere, III.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, RSUI INDEMNITY COMPANY George
P. Hebbler, Jr. Frances I. McGinnis.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, ST. BERNARD PARISH, GUY
MCINNIS, RAY LAUGA, JR., CASEY W. HUNNICUTT, AND RICHARD
LEWIS David C. Jarrell.
composed of Jude G. Gravois, Robert A. Chaisson, and Robert
G. GRAVOIS JUDGE.
appeal the trial court's July 27, 2016 judgment that
granted defendants' declinatory exceptions of improper
venue and dismissed all claims against defendants without
prejudice. On appeal, plaintiffs argue that, in the interest
of justice, the claims should have been transferred to St.
Bernard Parish instead of being dismissed. For the following
reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
October 27, 2015, ParaTech, LLC ("ParaTech") and
its members/owners, Richard Perniciaro and Robert Cleveland,
filed a petition for damages in Jefferson Parish against the
following defendants: the St. Bernard Parish Government; RSUI
Indemnity Company ("RSUI"); four St. Bernard Parish
Councilmen: Guy McInnis, Ray Lauga, Casey W. Hunnicutt, and
Richard Lewis ("the Councilmen"); The Times
Picayune, LLC ("the Times Picayune"); and Benjamin
Alexander-Bloch, a reporter for the Times Picayune.
claims against defendants arose out of an IT professional
services contract between ParaTech and the St. Bernard Parish
Government that was terminated by an ordinance passed by the
St. Bernard Parish Council. The suit alleged specific causes
of action against each defendant regarding events surrounding
the contract and its eventual termination. First, plaintiffs
alleged that the Councilmen were liable for various acts of
defamation and conspiracy perpetrated against plaintiffs by
the Councilmen as members of the St. Bernard Parish
Government and in their own personal and individual
capacities. These actions included providing defamatory
statements to the press about plaintiffs; conspiring with
other parish officials to sign an "illegal
contract" with another IT company, Todd's
Technology; stating false and misleading "facts"
about Mr. Perniciaro to Mr. Cleveland and attempting to
persuade Mr. Cleveland to leave ParaTech; and for initiating
and/or voting for four "illegal" ordinances
terminating ParaTech's contract with St. Bernard Parish,
preventing plaintiffs from entering any parish building, and
refusing to pay money owed to plaintiffs. As to the St.
Bernard Parish Government, plaintiffs alleged that, through
its parish councilmembers, employees, ...