PHILLIP TERRELL, IN HIS CAPACITY AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF RAPIDES PARISH, ET AL.
TOWN OF LECOMPTE, ET AL.
FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO.
257, 839 HONORABLE MONIQUE RAULS, DISTRICT JUDGE
Tiffany N. Sanders Attorney for Appellant, Town of Lecompte
O. Wells Attorney for Appellees, Otis Payne and Edward
C. Downs Attorney for Appellees, Otis Payne and Edward
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, John E. Conery, and Van H.
R. COOKS JUDGE
Terrell (Terrell), in his official capacity as District
Attorney for Rapides Parish, and Otis Payne and Edward
Christie (Plaintiffs) as taxpayers domiciled in Lecompte,
Louisiana filed a declaratory action against the Town of
Lecompte, naming its mayor, all members of its Board of
Aldermen, and the town clerk as defendants (Defendants).
Terrell was dismissed from the suit and is no longer a party
to this litigation. Plaintiffs and Defendants filed cross
motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied
Defendants' motion and granted a motion for summary
judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. Defendants filed an
application for supervisory writs with this court which was
denied with one judge dissenting. The writ was denied because
the majority held the judgment was not an appealable final
judgment. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted Defendants'
writ application and remanded the matter to the trial court
for a "determination of whether or not this partial
summary judgment is a final judgment." Terrell v.
Town of Lecompte, 18-1087, p. 1 (La. 09/28/18), 253
So.3d 134, 135. On remand the trial court rendered judgment
designating its ruling as a final judgment for purposes of an
appeal. Defendants appeal the granting of summary judgment in
favor of Plaintiffs and the denial of their motion for
the citizens of Lecompte approved a tax provision authorizing
a one cent sales tax "to be used for the purpose of
constructing, acquiring, improving, operating and maintaining
garbage collection and disposal facilities, fire protection
facilities, and civil defense facilities, including all
necessary sites, furnishings, equipment and vehicles in
connection therewith. . . ." In 2017, Plaintiffs filed a
"Petition for Declaratory Judgment, Permanent Injunctive
Relief and Other Relief." Plaintiffs asserted in their
petition that the state law authorizing a State Civil Defense
Agency was repealed in 1993, thus any monies expended after
that date by Lecompte for civil defense were
"unauthorized" because "civil defense" no
longer exists. Defendants, however, assert that the Civil
Defense Agency Act, found in Louisiana Revised Statutes Title
29, was replaced by a new act in Title 29 entitled "The
Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and
Disaster Act." La.R.S. 29:722-23.
courts review summary judgments de novo, using the same
analysis as the trial court in deciding whether summary
judgment is appropriate. Smith v. Our Lady of the Lake
Hosp., Inc., 93-2512 (La.7/5/94), 639 So.2d 730. A
motion for summary judgment must be granted if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue of material fact and that the mover is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La.Code Civ.P. art.
966(B). As for the burden of proof, Article 966(C)(2)
The burden of proof remains with the movant. However, if the
movant will not bear the burden of proof at trial on the
matter that is before the court on the motion for summary
judgment, the movant's burden on the motion does not
require him to negate all essential elements of the adverse
party's claim, action, or defense, but rather to point
out to the court that there is an absence of factual support
for one or more elements essential to the adverse party's
claim, action, or defense. Thereafter, if the adverse party
fails to produce factual support sufficient to establish that
he will be able to satisfy his evidentiary burden of proof at
trial, there is no genuine issue of material fact.
DeLaFosse v. Village of Pine Prairie, 08-0693, p. 2
(La.App. 3 Cir. 12/10/08), 998 So.2d 1248, 1250, writ
denied, 09-0074 (La. 2/4/09), 999 So.2d 766.
maintain that the new Louisiana Homeland Security and
Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act, La.R.S. 29:721 et.
seq., replaces the former Civil Defense Act and
"envisions municipalities, such as the Town of Lecompte,
exercising 'civil defense' or 'emergency
preparedness.'" The trial court held that Lecompte
could not use the tax revenue at issue for payment of
"day to day activities," of the Lecompte Police
Department. Included in this prohibition is fuel for the
appeal asserting four assignments of error:
(1) The Trial Court erred when the court read the words
"civil defense" in isolation rather than reading
the sales tax proposition as a whole.
(2) The Trial Court Erred in Holding the Sales Tax
Proposition Did Not Contemplate Funding Expenses for
(3)The Trial Court Erred When It Failed to Exclude
Plaintiffs' Exhibits C and Exhibits E-K which were not
attached to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment when
it was filed, and these ...