Press Release

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

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.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Collin Callahan at

Case Attorneys

J. David Breemer

Senior Attorney

David (Dave) Breemer developed a passion for liberty while reading classics such as John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man, as he pursued a … ›

View profile

Deborah J. La Fetra

Senior Attorney

Debbie grew up in an economically-striving lower-middle class family and was the first to get a college degree. Watching and learning from her exceptionally hard-working father, and with the support … ›

View profile

Case Commentary

See all posts

By J. David Breemer

PLF wins in New Orleans property demolition case

Today, we received a favorable, published decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Garrett v. City of New Orleans.   This case challenges the City’s demolition … ›

Read more

New Orleans unconstitutionally demolishes personal property

“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