The case must go on! New Orleans couple wins the right to sue in federal court
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.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is the nation’s leading public interest legal organization devoted to preserving individual rights and economic freedom. Since 1973, donor-supported PLF has successfully litigated for limited government, private property rights, and free enterprise in the nation’s highest courts.
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Case CommentarySee all posts
“We were blindsided by the city,” said PLF client David Garrett. “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.”Read more