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Labat v. Price-Bedi

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

August 23, 2019

RAYMOND J. LABAT, JR.
v.
MELINDA PRICE-BEDI, KYLE ARDOIN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 86, 686, DIVISION "X" HONORABLE ASHLY B. SIMPSON, JUDGE AD HOC PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, RAYMOND J. LABAT, JR. Steven M. Mauterer

          DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, MELINDA PRICE-BEDI In Proper Person

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

          MARC E. JOHNSON, JUDGE

         This is an election challenge[1] contesting the candidacy of Melinda Price-Bedi for the office of Sheriff of St. Charles Parish. This position is to be filled by a primary election to be held on October 12, 2019, followed by a general election November 16, 2019, if necessary. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On August 7, 2019, Ms. Price-Bedi filed a sworn notice of candidacy for the office of Sheriff of St. Charles Parish. On August 15, 2019, Raymond J. Labat, Jr., a duly-qualified elector of the Parish of St. Charles, [2] filed a petition to challenge the candidacy of Ms. Price-Bedi on two grounds: (1) that Ms. Price-Bedi had falsely certified that she met the necessary qualifications for candidate for sheriff as she was not "actually domiciled for the preceding year" in St. Charles Parish;[3]and (2) that Ms. Price-Bedi had falsely certified in her Notice of Candidacy that she had filed her state income tax returns for two of the five previous years - 2017 and 2018.[4]

         On her Notice of Candidacy form, Ms. Price-Bedi certified, among other things, that:

6) I have read this Notice of Candidacy and I meet the qualifications of the office for which I am qualifying.
* * *
8) If I am a candidate for any office other than United States senator or representative in congress, that for each of the previous five tax years, I have filed my federal and state income tax returns, have filed for an extension of time for filing either my federal or state income tax return or both, or was not required to file either a federal or state income tax return or both.
** *
13) All the statements contained herein are true and correct.

         Trial of the matter was held on August 19, 2019.[5] That day, Judge A. Bruce Simpson, ad hoc signed a written judgment disqualifying Ms. Bedi as a candidate for the office of Sheriff in St. ...


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