United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
ROWAN COURT SUBDIVISION 2013 LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, ET AL.
THE LOUISIANA HOUSING COPORATION, ET AL.
RULING AND ORDER
W. deGRAVELLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Federal Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint, (Doc. 59), filed by the
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
(“HUD”) and the United States Department of the
Treasury (“the Treasury”) (collectively, the
“Federal Defendants”). Plaintiffs Rowan Court
Subdivision 2013 Limited Partnership (“Rowan”)
and John Does 1-60 (the “John Doe Plaintiffs”)
(collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) oppose the
motion. (Doc. 67). The Federal Defendants have also filed a
reply in further support of their motion. (Doc. 73). Oral
argument is not necessary.
carefully considered the law, allegations of Plaintiffs'
Amended Complaint, and arguments of the parties, the Federal
Defendants' motion is granted, and Plaintiffs' claims
against the Federal Defendants are dismissed.
Relevant Factual Background
Overview and Procedural History
bring this suit for relief related to the award of low-income
housing tax credits and other federal funding available under
26 U.S.C. § 42. Plaintiffs assert claims under (1) the
Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth
Amendment; (2) the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment;
(3) Article 2, Section 1 of the Louisiana Constitution; and
(4) Louisiana Civil Code articles 1967, 2315, and 2316. (Doc.
55 at 1). Plaintiffs claim that various defendants improperly
evaluated Rowan's application for tax credits and federal
funding related to the development of a housing subdivision
and improperly awarded tax credits and funds to two other
projects. The John Doe Plaintiffs are alleged to be
individuals in Ouachita Parish who were adversely affected by
these actions, specifically:
- John Does 1-34 are “the Ouachita Parish people who
would have benefitted from affordable housing being
provided” (Id. at 2);
- John Does 35-40 are “the Ouachita Parish contractors
who would have worked on the construction jobs”
(Id. at 3);
- John Does 41-50 are “the Ouachita Parish local
businesses and their owners that did not receive the increase
in business from the construction of the affordable
housing” (Id.); and
- John Does 51-60 are “the Ouachita Parish citizens who
lost the benefit of the increase in sales and property tax
revenue the construction of affordable housing would have
allege that the Federal Defendants oversee and provide funds
for the program at issue in this action.
claims were first raised in a Complaint filed in December
2015. (Doc. 1). The Federal Defendants moved to dismiss the
Complaint, arguing that Plaintiffs lacked Article III
standing, Plaintiffs had not established a valid waiver of
sovereign immunity, and Plaintiffs' allegations were
conclusory and failed to state a claim on which relief could
be granted. (Doc. 21).
August 11, 2016, the Court granted the Federal
Defendants' motion to dismiss, ruling that Plaintiffs had
failed to demonstrate that the Federal Defendants waived
sovereign immunity and had failed to state a claim on which
relief could be granted. (Doc. 48 at 9). The Court did not
reach the Federal Defendants' arguments concerning
standing. (Id.) The Court granted Plaintiffs leave
to amend but “strongly caution[ed]” Plaintiffs
regarding their obligations under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure (“Rule”) 11. (Id.).
Specifically, the Court opined that original Complaint's
allegations “came close to” being impermissible
under Rule 11, which states that an attorney filing a
complaint certifies that the complaint's claims are
warranted by existing law or a nonfrivolous argument to
extend, modify, or reverse existing law or create new law.
(See Id. at 9, 22).
operative Amended Complaint was filed in September
2016. (Doc. 55).
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
Rowan Court Subdivision 2013 Limited Partnership v.
Louisiana Housing Agency, 2015-1212 (La.App. 1 Cir.
2/24/16); 2016 WL 759121, writ denied, 2016-0591
(La. 5/20/16), 191 So.3d 1067, the Louisiana First Circuit
Court of Appeal provided an overview of the low income