Garrett v. City of New Orleans
When David and Lourdes Garrett purchased a neglected townhouse from the City of New Orleans in 2015, they had plans to renovate it and rent it out. But they never had a chance. Approximately four months after the acquisition, the City demolished the building. It provided the Garretts with no prior notice, hearing, or opportunity to repair.
“We were blindsided by the city,” David Garrett said. “You deserve at least a phone call or letter from the government—and an opportunity for a hearing—before it sends over a bulldozer. The city’s failure to contact us was simply outrageous.”
The City’s actions are unconscionable since the Garretts’ interests were easily ascertainable and indeed, obvious, given the Garretts’ recent and recorded purchase from the City itself. Yet, the only notices and hearings prior to demolition were directed to a long-gone owner of the property from the 1990’s, someone who had not owned the property since the City took possession in 1998.
When the Garretts protested the demolition of their property, the city responded by sending an $11,000 bill for the cost.
The Garretts have brought a constitutional challenge to these abuses of their fundamental property rights and due process rights. Their case is now before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where they are represented free of charge by Pacific Legal Foundation.