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Maqubool v. Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

June 12, 2019

MUBASHIR MAQUBOOL, DANIEL EAGLIN II, AND DAVID P. LOCKETT
v.
SEWERAGE AND WATER BOARD OF NEW ORLEANS

          APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2018-03206, DIVISION "L-6" Honorable Kern A. Reese, Judge

          Eddie J. Jordan, Jr. Eddie J. Jordan, Jr., LLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE

          William David Aaron, Jr. DeWayne L. Williams COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

          (Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods)

          REGINA BARTHOLOMEW-WOODS JUDGE

         Defendant-Appellant, Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans ("Appellant"), appeals the trial court's rulings denying its Motion to Transfer and Exceptions of Res Judicata, No Right of Action, No Cause of Action, Vagueness and/or Ambiguity, and Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, and granting, in part, Plaintiffs-Appellees', Mubashir Maqbool, Daniel Eaglin II, and David P. Lockett (collectively "Appellees"), Request for Preliminary Injunction. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgment denying the motion to transfer, vacate the remainder of the judgment, and remand with instructions.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In response to the severe flooding that occurred in October 2017, Appellant issued a Request for Proposals ("RFP") to procure Staff Augmentation and Support Services from a qualified consultant experienced in technical assistance and staff augmentation for water, sewer, and drainage utilities. The RFP sought to fill a total of sixteen (16) positions.

         In response to this RFP, six (6) plaintiffs (all either current or former employees), including Appellees, filed a Petition for Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") and Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief alleging that they would lose their jobs, as well as civil service protections, if the RFP was allowed to move forward. Appellant filed exceptions, and the matter was set for a hearing before Division "C" of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court. Division "C" denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunctions and granted Appellant's exceptions. Thereafter, Appellant re-issued the RFP as a Request for Qualifications ("RFQ"). The RFQ sought to fill the same positions as the RFP. Thereafter, Appellees filed a subsequent Petition for TRO and Preliminary Injunction, seeking similar relief sought in the initial matter allotted to Division "C."

         However, the subsequent Petition for TRO and Preliminary Injunction was allotted to Division "I." On April 10, 2018, Division "I" denied Appellant's Motion to Transfer and Exceptions of Res Judicata, No Right of Action, No Cause of Action, Vagueness and/or Ambiguity, and Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, and granted, in part, Appellees' Request for Preliminary Injunction.[1] Appellant's motion to transfer was denied for the following reasons: (1) the parties have changed because the initial action was filed against interim executives, who are either no longer in those positions or no longer employed by Appellant; (2) the issue in the instant matter relates to an RFQ issued by Appellant which presents a different consideration; and (3) Appellees are seeking different relief than the relief sought in the first action. This judgment is the subject of this appeal.

         DISCUSSION

         Appellant asserts that Division "I" erred in denying its Motion to Transfer and Exceptions of Res Judicata, No Right of Action, No Cause of Action, Vagueness and/or Ambiguity, and Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, and granting, in part, Appellees' Preliminary Injunction.

         Motion to Transfer

         Standard ...


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