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.

Gunasekara v. City of New Orleans

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

March 28, 2018

NIRAN GUNASEKARA AND SUZANNE ONEILL
v.
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, THROUGH ITS DIRECTOR OF SAFETY AND PERMITS DR. JARED E. MUNSTER

          APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2017-07724, DIVISION "F-7" Honorable Christopher J. Bruno, Judge.

          Madro Bandaries MADRO BANDARIES, P.L.C. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

          Rebecca H. Dietz CITY ATTORNEY Mark Daniel Macnamara DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY CITY OF NEW ORLEANS COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

          Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods.

          Regina Bartholomew-Woods Judge.

          Plaintiffs, Niran Gunasekara and Suzanne O'Neill ("Appellants"), seek review of the district court's September 15, 2017 judgment sustaining the exception of no right of action filed by the City of New Orleans ("the City"). For the reasons that follow, we convert the appeal to a writ, grant the writ, deny relief, and remand for further proceedings.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Appellants filed a petition for writ of mandamus August 9, 2017, stating they were CPNC taxi cab drivers whose vehicles were regulated by the City of New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits ("the Department"), through its director, Jared Munster. Appellants noted that the Department requires taxi cab drivers and owners to submit their vehicles for inspection pursuant to the City of New Orleans Code of Ordinances, and that such inspection requires an application and payment of a fee. However, Appellants alleged that the Department does not enforce these requirements for "transportation network company" ("TNC") vehicles, which they describe as vehicles driving for "app-based services such as Uber and Lyft[.]"Appellants argued that the Department's failure in this regard "puts the public at risk, causes extra time constraints and expense to taxicab drivers and creates an unlevel playing field as to competition, as well as denying taxi drivers equal protection under the law." Accordingly, Appellants sought the issuance of a writ of mandamus ordering the Department to comply with the ordinances as they applied to TNCs.

         On August 21, 2017, the City filed an exception of no right of action in opposition to Appellant's petition, arguing, in part, that Appellants lacked standing to seek mandamus directed at a public official absent a showing of a special interest, separate and distinct from that of the public at large. The City argued that "mere competitive disadvantage" failed to meet such requirement.

         The district court heard arguments on August 25, 2017, ultimately sustaining the exception filed by the City. In its reasons for judgment, [1] the district court found Appellants to have alleged a "special interest" in the form of "competitive disadvantage, " which the district court found "insufficient . . . to maintain a cause of action." Accordingly, the district court did not address the writ of mandamus further.

         We note that the judgment in question lacks the necessary decretal language to invoke this Court's appellate jurisdiction. Specifically, the judgment merely states, "the Defendant's exception of no right of action is hereby sustained." However, as our jurisprudence has made clear:

A final judgment shall be identified as such by appropriate language. La.Code Civ. P. art. 1918. "A final appealable judgment must contain decretal language that names the party in favor of whom the ruling is ordered, the party against whom the ruling is ordered, and the relief that is granted or denied. Bd. Of Supervisors, 14-0506, pp. 2-3; 151 So.3d at 910. The specific relief granted should be determinable from the judgment without reference to an extrinsic sourced such as pleadings or reasons for judgment." Id.

Tomlinson v. Landmark Am. Ins. Co., 2015-0276 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/23/16), 192 So.3d 153, 156. Nonetheless, this Court may invoke our supervisory jurisdiction and convert the appeal to a writ. Accordingly, we do so in this case, grant the writ, and now consider its merits.

         STANDARD ...


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.