B. CHARLES GOODWIN AND CLAUDIA SELIGMAN
CITY OF MANDEVILLE AND STATE OF LOUISIANA
Appealed from the 22nd Judicial District Court In
and for the Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Docket
No. 2017-11975 The Honorable August J. Hand, Judge Presiding
A. Burguieres Counsel for Plaintiff -Appellant B. Charles
Goodwin and Claudia Seligman
Landry Attorney General Christopher J. Lento Ryan M.
Seidemann Assistant Attorneys General Counsel for Defendant
-Appellee The State of Louisiana
E. Harrison C. deShea Richardson Counsel for Defendant
-Appellee City of Mandeville
BEFORE: WELCH, CHUTZ, AND LANIER, JJ.
instant case, plaintiffs challenge the trial court's
judgment sustaining various exceptions pled by defendants in
response to plaintiffs' petition for declaratory
judgment. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
B. Charles Goodwin, Claudia Seligman, and Alvin Burstein, in
their capacity as taxpaying residents of the City of
Mandeville ("the City"), filed a petition for
declaratory judgment against the City and the State of
Louisiana, through the Office of State Lands ("State of
Louisiana"). Pursuant to La. Code Civ. P. art. 1871,
plaintiffs sought declaratory judgment as to several issues
concerning a proposed development on the shores of Lake
Pontchartrain known as the Port Marigny development.
issues addressed by plaintiffs in their original petition and
two subsequent amending and supplemental petitions were
summarized by plaintiffs in their brief to this court as
The first issue alleged for declaratory judgment concerns a
portion of a former street and right of way, Kleber Street,
and its relationship with the former Pre-Stressed
Construction site on Lake Pontchartrain, which is sought and
proposed for development by the Port Marigny Project. Kleber
Street was a dedicated right of way that originally reached
Lake Pontchartrain. On August 8, 1967, the City of Mandeville
through an unrecorded action purported to relinquish the
right of way. 1.4 acres of reclaimed land currently sits at
what would be the former terminus of Kleber Street.
Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment against defendants to
determine whether a donation of the right of way without
compensation is Constitutional and whether the Office of
State Lands should seek to provide public access to the
waterfront land owned by the State.
The second issue alleged for declaratory judgment concerns a
lease the City of Mandeville holds over 11.4 acres of
reclaimed water bottoms owned by the State. The City of
Mandeville pays the Office of State Lands a sum of $100 per
year to lease the acreage. Contained in the 11.4 acres is the
1.4 acres at the terminus of the Kleber Street right of way.
Port Marigny has proposed the City donate its leasehold
interest in the property to the Port Marigny interests.
Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment concerning whether such
a donation is Constitutional, whether the Office of State
Lands has an obligation to oppose such a transfer, and
whether the Office of State Lands has an obligation to
re-establish access to the waterfront acreage owned by the
The final issue alleged for declaratory judgment concerns the
coastal restoration of private land on the shore of Lake
Pontchartrain. The City of Mandeville has already spent close
to $300, 000 on a study of the feasibility of restoring the
coastline owned by a private nonprofit corporation, The Green
Fund, Inc., which is controlled by the Mandeville City
Attorney, Edward Deano and his family. It is estimated close
to $3 million would be spent to complete the project.
Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment as to whether such an
expenditure of public funds on a project to improve private
lands is prohibited by the Louisiana Constitution.
response, the City filed exceptions raising the objections of
no cause of action, no right of action, and lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. The City asserted plaintiffs failed to
state a right or cause of action against the City, arguing
that there was no justiciable controversy between the parties
and that plaintiffs were merely requesting answers to
theoretical, moot questions. The City further argued that