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Louisiana Cleaning Systems, Inc. v. City of Shreveport

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

September 30, 2019

LOUISIANA CLEANING SYSTEMS, INC.
v.
CITY OF SHREVEPORT, ET AL.

          HORNSBY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          S. MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Before the Court are pending motions filed by the parties pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56: (1) Defendants City of Shreveport, Ollie S. Tyler, David Duncan, Brian Crawford, Dale Sibley, and Jeff Landry’s (collectively “Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document 101); and (2) Plaintiff Louisiana Cleaning Systems, Inc.’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Record Document 83). Defendants seek dismissal of all of Plaintiff’s claims. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and Plaintiff’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a Louisiana corporation licensed to do business in the state and domiciled in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. See Record Document 46 at 1. Its sole business is to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners exclusively through door-to-door sales to residents by knocking on doors or ringing doorbells. See id. at 2.

         On January 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant suit pursuant to Section 1983 alleging that the version of Shreveport Ordinance Section 42-277 in effect at that time, which prohibited uninvited, door-to-door commercial solicitation, was a violation of its First Amendment right to freedom of speech and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. See Record Document 1 at 1–2. The version of Section 42-277 in effect at that time provided as follows:

It shall be unlawful for any solicitor, peddler, hawker, itinerant merchant or transient vendor of merchandise to go in and upon any private residence in the city, not having been requested or invited to do so by the owner or occupant of such residence, for the purpose of soliciting orders for the sale of goods, wares and merchandise, or for the purpose of disposing of or peddling or hawking such goods, wares and merchandise. Such practice is hereby declared to be a nuisance and punishable as a misdemeanor; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to the vending or sale of ice, or soliciting orders for the sale of ice, milk and dairy products, truck vegetables, poultry and eggs, and other farm and garden produce, so far as the sale of the named commodities is authorized by law.

         Record Document 110-1 at 5. On June 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, which this Court denied on November 17, 2016, in light of its previous ruling in Vivint La. v. City of Shreveport, 213 F.Supp.3d 821 (W.D. La. 2016), upholding the constitutionality of the ordinance. See Record Document 28 at 1, 4.

         Thereafter, on September 23, 2017, the Shreveport City Council voted to amend the ordinance, which now allows individuals to partake in door-to-door commercial soliciting if certain requirements are met, such as applying for and obtaining a permit from City officials, as well submitting background check information. See Record Document 46 at 5–6. On October 26, 2017, one of Plaintiff’s employees mailed an application to the City of Shreveport to obtain a permit. See Record Document 36-8.

         On December 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Amend its complaint, arguing that the alleged “delay” following its mailing of its permit application also constituted a deprivation of its constitutional rights, and further adding additional claims. Record Document 36-1 at 6, 8. Defendants responded by filing an opposition to the motion, arguing that Plaintiff had not followed up with the City and taken the steps required to complete the permitting process. See Record Document 42 at 2. However, on January 22, 2018, a representative of Plaintiff completed said process and received a permit to partake in door-to-door commercial solicitation, after paying City officials a deposit fee for an “identifying vest.” Record Document 57-4; Record Document 110-1 at 11. On January 31, 2018, Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Amend was granted, after which Plaintiff filed its “First Supplemental Petition for Damages.” Record Documents 45 and 46. Plaintiff asserts several claims against Defendants due to alleged deprivations of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights resulting from both the pre-amendment version, as well as the current version, of Section 42-277. See Record Document 46 at 10–14. These claims request various forms of relief, including, inter alia, declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory damages in the form of lost profits, and punitive damages against Defendant David Duncan in his individual capacity. See id.

         On May 14, 2018, Defendants filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss, seeking the dismissal of all of Plaintiff’s claims except for Plaintiff’s facial challenge to the pre-amendment version of the ordinance. See Record Document 57 at 1–2. Thereafter, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in which they incorporate their previously filed Partial Motion to Dismiss, and further seek summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s action in its entirety. See Record Document 101-1 at 9–10. Accordingly, the Court, for efficiency purposes, subsequently denied Defendants’ Partial Motion to Dismiss, noting that it would consider Defendants’ arguments asserted in the Motion when ruling on their Motion for Summary Judgment. See Record Document 119 at 2.

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is proper pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Quality Infusion Care, Inc. v. Health Care Serv. Corp., 628 F.3d 725, 728 (5th Cir. 2010).[1] A genuine dispute of material fact exists if the record, taken as a whole, could lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party. See Geoscan, Inc. of Texas v. Geotrace Techs., Inc., 226 F.3d 387, 390 (5th Cir. 2000). During this stage, courts must look to the substantive law ...


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