FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF IBERIA,
NO. 125816 HONORABLE LEWIS H. PITMAN, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE.
P. Hamilton, Jr. Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT: The New Iberia Buddhist Temple
L. Messer Earl & Messer COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT:
The New Iberia Buddhist Temple
Veron Neumann Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE:
Marn Sikang, Bountheung Chnakonsy, Bounlrau Thanyavong
Y. Lamm Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Marn
Sikang, Bountheung Chnakonsy, Bounlrau Thanyavong
Hoggatt, Hoggatt Law Group, APLC COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE:, Marn Sikang, Bountheung Chnakonsy,
composed of John D. Saunders, Marc T. Amy, and Elizabeth A.
ELIZABETH A. PICKETT JUDGE.
appellant, The New Iberia Buddhist Temple (the Temple),
appeals a judgment of the trial court appointing a receiver
to liquidate the assets of the Temple and dissolving the
February 26, 2015, the Temple initiated this litigation by
filing a Petition for a Temporary Restraining Order against
former members of the board of directors of the Temple, Marn
Sikang, Bountheng Chankensy, and Bounlrau Thanyavong. The
petition alleged that a new board of directors had been
elected, and these former directors had attempted to evict
the current attendees of the Temple by placing a notice of
eviction on the door of the Temple. The petition asked that
the former directors be prohibited from being on the property
of the Temple. The trial court granted the temporary
restraining order and set a hearing for a preliminary
injunction on March 31, 2015.
March 31, 2015 hearing, the parties stipulated that the
defendants would be permitted to worship at the Temple
provided they do not disrupt the services. Further, the
parties agreed by the terms of the consent judgment to submit
the issues in this dispute to "binding mediation."
Finally, the parties agreed that neither the monk nor any
other party would alienate any of the assets of the Temple
pending the outcome of the mediation. A consent judgment with
these terms was signed by the trial court on May 18, 2015.
mediation was pending, the Temple filed a Rule for Contempt
and/or Motion to Authorize the Board of Directors to Access
the Bank Account and Other Legal Documents on July 8, 2016.
The Temple alleges that the defendants changed the board of
directors information with the Secretary of State and changed
the access of the Temple's bank account so only the
defendants had access. In response to the Rule for Contempt,
the defendants filed a Memorandum in Opposition to
Plaintiffs' Contempt Rule, Petition for Declaratory
Relief, and for Hearing on Injunctive & Other Relief,
wherein they asserted that the election by which the officers
purporting to represent the Temple were chosen was not held
in compliance with the Temple's articles of
incorporation. Thus, they argue that they remain the duly
elected officers of the Temple pending a valid election, and
their actions in securing the bank account and reporting the
members of the board of directors to the Secretary of State
were valid exercises of their authority. They also claim that
the monk hired by the Temple sowed division among the members
before he fled to his home in Laos.
March 14, 2017, the trial court, in response to the
complaints by the defendants that they could not freely enter
the Temple, ordered all members of the Temple, including the
defendants, to be allowed free access to the Temple for
worship. The transcript of that hearing reflects that the
mediation was unsuccessful, and that the previous consent
judgment was no longer in ...