IN RE THE ROUGE HOUSE, LLC APPEAL FROM DECISION OF STATE OF LOUISIANA DEPT. OF REVENUE, OFFICE OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO CONTROL DENYING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE PERMIT
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2016-00692,
DIVISION "C" Honorable Sidney H. Cates, Judge.
Riley APPELLANT/ IN PROPER PERSON
Michael G. Bagneris COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Joy Cossich
Lobrano, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins
Cossich Lobrano, Judge.
The Rouge House, LLC ("Rouge House"), appeals the
June 13, 2016 judgment of the district court, which granted
the motion for summary judgment by the State of Louisiana,
Department of Revenue, Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
("ATC") and dismissed Rouge House's petition
seeking review of ATC's denial of Rouge House's
application for a Class A Restaurant Beer and Liquor Permit.
For the following reasons, we dismiss the appeal.
particular issue before this Court stems from a series of
filings by Tracy Riley ("Riley"). Riley is the
member-manager of Rouge House and is not an attorney.
the district court's denial of a new trial on the motion
for summary judgment, Rouge House filed a motion for
devolutive appeal on August 22, 2016, through its counsel of
record, Ernest L. Jones ("Jones"). The district
court record contains no formal motion by Jones to withdraw
as counsel of record. The record also contains no motion for
appeal filed by Riley.
21, 2017, this Court issued a notice of lodging to the
parties advising that the appellant brief was due on August
15, 2017. On September 8, 2017, Riley filed a "motion to
enroll as pro se appellant" on behalf of
herself and on behalf of Rouge House. In this motion, Riley
represented to this Court that she is the appellant in these
proceedings, that Jones' "health prevents him from
being able to handle this appeal, " and that she wished
to "represent herself." On the same date, Riley
filed motions for extension of time to file a brief and to
reinstate oral argument. Riley attached to these motions a
statement signed by Jones asserting that: (1) Jones advised
Riley that he "could not handle an appeal and showed her
on what to do to protect her rights"; (2) Jones does not
recall filing a motion for appeal but he has since seen one
bearing his signature; and (3) Jones does not recall
receiving this Court's notice of lodging and did not
inform Riley of any appellate briefing deadlines.
on Riley's representation that she is an appellant in
these proceedings, on September 11, 2017, this Court issued
orders enrolling Riley in this matter pro se and
allowing an extension of time to file a brief. Riley filed a
brief with this Court on October 23, 2017. On further review
of the record, however, on February 20, 2018, this Court
vacated the aforementioned orders dated September 11, 2017.
On February 21, 2018, this Court ordered Riley to show cause
why she should be permitted to file a brief, as she was not a
party to the underlying litigation before the district court
and did not file a motion for appeal.
March 5, 2018, Rouge House and Riley filed motions to file
amended brief and amend case caption, which were signed by
Jones as "attorney in trial court." The motions
requested various forms of relief, including: (1) leave to
file an amended brief; (2) to add Riley as a plaintiff; (3)
for Riley to appear on behalf of Rouge House; (4) to amend
the case caption to add Riley as a party; and/or (5) for
thirty (30) days for Rouge House to retain an attorney and
file an appellant brief.
March 7, 2018, this Court ordered Jones to advise this Court
whether he remained counsel for Rouge House and/or to
withdraw as counsel of record. In the event of Jones'
withdrawal as counsel, we permitted Rouge House thirty (30)
days within which to retain new counsel and file a brief
through counsel. In our March 7, 2018 order, we
cautioned Rouge House that if no such brief was filed within
this Court's thirty-day deadline, this appeal would be
dismissed as abandoned.
April 2, 2018, Jones filed a statement with this Court that
he does not represent Riley or Rouge House in this appeal,
that he advised his clients that he would not represent them
on appeal, and that he signed the March 5, 2018 motions at
Riley's request but did not intend his signature to be an
appearance of record.
Court's deadline for Rouge House to file an appellant
brief through counsel expired on April 6, 2018. On April 6,
2018, Riley filed a motion for extension of time, requesting