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Tab-N-Action, Inc. v. Monroe City School Board

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

August 10, 2017

TAB-N-ACTION, INC. D/B/A EXCELLENCE ACADEMY
v.
MONROE CITY SCHOOL BOARD

          MAG. JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES

          ORDER

          ROBERT G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         RULING

         Pending before the Court is a Motion and Order for Attorneys' Fees and Costs (“Motion for Fees and Costs”) [Doc. No. 27] filed by Plaintiff Tab-in-Action, Inc. d/b/a Excellence Academy (“Excellence Academy”). Excellence Academy moves the Court for an award of attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and the cost of its filing fee. The Monroe City School Board (“MCSB”) opposes the motion. [Doc. No. 30].

         For the following the reasons, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I.FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On April 25, 2017, Excellence Academy filed a verified Complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the MCSB. [Doc. No. 1]. Excellence Academy moved the Court for a preliminary injunction “prohibiting [MCSB] from revoking [Excellence Academy's] charter without compliance with La. Admin. Code[, Title] 28[, Part] CXXXIX [§] 1703” and a declaratory judgment that Excellence Academy “has complied with its obligations under the charter contract with the [MCSB] and the requirements of Louisiana statutes and regulations.” [Doc. No. 1, ¶¶ 24 &amp. 28].

         On May 17, 2017, Excellence Academy filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (“Motion for TRO”) [Doc. No. 6] contending that MCSB should be prohibited “from executing its plan or taking any action to close Excellence Academy before there has been notice and an opportunity for hearing on [MCSB's] decision to discontinue funding Excellence Academy in violation of the contract . . . and the constitutional requirement of due process . . . .”

          MCSB filed a memorandum in opposition to Excellence Academy's Motion for TRO and motion for preliminary injunction. [Doc. No. 12]. Excellence Academy filed a supplemental memorandum. [Doc. No. 10].

         On May 23, 2017, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing, hearing testimony from the parties' witnesses, receiving evidence, and hearing oral argument from counsel.

         After consideration of the entire record, on May 24, 2017, the Court issued a Ruling and Order [Doc. Nos. 17 & 18] granting Excellence Academy's request for preliminary injunctive relief in part and denying the request in part. The Court found that Excellence Academy met its showing for the issuance of a preliminary injunction, granted the motion for preliminary injunction and enjoined MCSB from taking further action to close or discontinue funding Excellence Academy for a fifth year until a hearing is held. The Court ordered a hearing to be held no later than June 7, 2017, and Excellence Academy to be permitted to present evidence and witnesses to support its contention that it has complied with the requirements of the applicable statutory, administrative code, and charter agreement provisions. However, to the extent that Excellence Academy asserted in the Complaint that it was entitled to the procedures set forth in 28 La. Admin. Code, Pt. CXXXIX, § 1703, the motion was denied. The Court also denied the Motion for TRO as moot.

         Following the issuance of the Ruling, the Court granted motions by both parties on discovery and subpoena issues. [Doc. Nos. 20 & 22]. However, after a status conference with counsel, on June 2, 2017, the Court granted motions to reconsider filed by both parties and quashed all subpoenas. Given its resolution of the only federal issue, the Court also gave the parties notice of its intent to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law issues and to dismiss the case without prejudice.

         On June 7, 2017, Excellence Academy filed the instant motion, seeking to recover $28, 845.00 in attorneys' fees and the $400 filing fee. The MCSB opposed the motion, arguing that Excellence Academy is not a prevailing party and, in the alternative, that it seeks to recover fees for claims and issues that were not resolved in its favor and that any award should be paid by the State, not MCSB, because it acted in compliance with state laws and procedures. No reply memorandum was filed.

         On June 13, 2017, the Court dismissed the remaining claims without prejudice, but retained ...


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