The case must go on! New Orleans couple wins the right to sue in federal court
June 25, 2018
New Orleans, Louisiana; June 25, 2018: The City of New Orleans tore down their townhouse without warning. And despite the city’s best efforts to get their case tossed out, an appeals court has now cleared the way for David and Lourdes Garrett to take their triple-constitutional challenge to federal court.
“As mind-boggling as it is that a city would just demolish someone’s private property without even a courtesy call or reimbursement, it’s even more frustrating to have a federal court deny us a chance at justice,” said David Garrett. “We’re ecstatic—Lourdes and I will finally get our day in court!”
The Garretts claim the city violated their constitutional protections against property takings, due process failure, and unreasonable seizure when it demolished the townhouse they had just bought—from the city. A federal district court had denied the claims, saying federal courts couldn’t protect the Garretts’ property rights. But on Friday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the earlier ruling, saying all of the claims can and should be heard in federal district court.
While the decision clears the way for the Garretts to seek justice for the outrageous destruction of their property, it also clarifies the broader fact that property rights are not second-class rights in federal court.
“The appeals court made the right call: federal property rights deserve prompt federal judicial protection,” said PLF Senior Attorney J. David Breemer. “And we are happy the Garretts will have a chance to vindicate their constitutional rights in federal court, exactly where this case belongs.”
The case is Garrett v. New Orleans. More information is available at pacificlegal.org/NewOrleans.
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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.