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Mellor v. Jefferson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 27, 2018

WILLIAM MELLOR, ET AL
v.
THE PARISH OF JEFFERSON

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 712-496, DIVISION "A" HONORABLE RAYMOND S. STEIB, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, WILLIAM MELLOR, ET AL Anthony S. Maska, Joseph R. McMahon, III

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, JEFFERSON PARISH SCHOOL BOARD AND ONGO LIVE, INC. E. John Litchfield, Kathy L. Torregano, Michael J. Marsiglia

          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G. Gravois, and Marc E. Johnson

          JUDE G. GRAVOIS, JUDGE

         JUDGMENT GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT REVERSED; MATTER REMANDED

         JGG

         FHW

         MEJ

         Defendants/appellants, the Jefferson Parish School Board (the "School Board") and ONGO Live, Inc. ("ONGO"), appeal a trial court judgment dated April 3, 2018 which granted in part and denied in part a motion for partial summary judgment filed by plaintiffs, William Mellor, et al. For the following reasons, we find that there are genuine issues of material fact outstanding at this time regarding permission to enforce a Jefferson Parish ordinance within the geographical boundaries of the incorporated municipalities of Jefferson Parish. Accordingly, we reverse the partial grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs and remand the matter for further proceedings.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiffs, William Mellor, et al, represent a class of persons who received civil traffic tickets for allegedly violating the Jefferson Parish School Bus Safety Enforcement Program ("SBSEP"), codified in Parish of Jefferson Code of Ordinances, Chapter 36, article XII, §36-320, et seq. (the "Ordinance"), enacted on or about October 29, 2008, pertaining to the overtaking and passing of a school bus that has activated its visual signals. Plaintiffs filed this class action suit on March 16, 2012, seeking a declaration that the Ordinance is unconstitutional and an order for defendants to immediately return all money (fees and fines) collected via enforcement of the SBSEP.[1]

         At issue in this appeal, plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment on October 19, 2017 against the School Board, ONGO, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (the "Sheriff's Office"). The School Board and ONGO filed a joint opposition to the motion for partial summary judgment; the Sheriff's Office filed its own opposition. The matter came on for a hearing on March 14, 2018.[2] In a judgment dated April 3, 2018, the trial court:

(1) granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs on the part of the motion which sought to have all SBSEP tickets issued for violations occurring within the incorporated Jefferson Parish municipalities of the City of Gretna, the City of Harahan, the City of Kenner, and the City of Westwego (collectively "the Cities") declared to have been "issued illegally";
(2) denied summary judgment on the part of the motion which sought to have the SBSEP tickets issued in the adjoining parishes of Orleans and St. Charles declared to have been "issued illegally";[3] and
(3) denied summary judgment on the part of the motion in which plaintiffs sought immediate return of the SBSEP fees and fine monies alleged to have been ...

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