• Goins Aaron, PLC of New Orleans

Partial Summary Judgment in Buisson Suit

January 26 2017 | blog

By Order and Reasons dated January 25, 2017 Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by the Defendant, Christopher Roberts, in his individual (personal) capacity in the matter entitled Buisson Creative Strategies, LLC et al vs Christopher Roberts et al.   Christopher Roberts is a Councilman at Large for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.   He was sued by the plaintiffs in his official capacity as well as in his individual capacity for monetary damages and attorney's fees in a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 USC Section 1983.   The plaintiffs' civil rights action alleges that the Ordinance at issue violates the First Amendment, Equal Protection, Due Process, the Contracts Clause and the prohibition on Bills of Attainder..   The ruling removes any personal exposure which Councilman Roberts may have had   The remaining case against the Parish,  and the Parish through Councilmember Roberts in his official capacity, seeks a declaration that the Ordinance at issue in the case is unconstitutional.   It additionally seeks monetary damages and attorney's fees.

The Ordinance attacked by the Plaintiffs provides that any person or firm who has received compensation for the management or consulting of political campaigns for a candidate for the Jefferson Parish Council or the Jefferson Parish President during an election cycle cannot be awarded contracts with the Parish regardless of whether a candidate wins or loses. It additionally purports to terminate such individual's existing contracts with the Parish.

In his Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Councilman Roberts contended that as all of his conduct was as a legislator he was entitled to legislative immunity.  In agreeing with Councilman Roberts, and granting his Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, Judge Milazzo observed:

"Roberts actions, in proposing and voting on the Ordinance, were quintessentially legislative in nature.  Furthermore, the Ordinance involves enacting regulations applicable to all Parish contracts, implicating interests beyond just those of Plaintiffs.   Though Plaintiff argues that his purpose in proposing this legislation was retaliatory, the Court cannot properly inquire into motivations of an individual legislator.   Accordingly, Roberts is entitled to immunity from suit in his individual capacity." 

Representing Councilman Roberts were Aaron & Gianna attorneys Bill Aaron, DeWayne Williams and Anna Rainer.  Aaron & Gianna is ranked a Tier 1 Best Law Firm by U. S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers in the area of Municipal Litigation.

The Case: Buisson Creative Strategies, LLC, et al vs Christopher Roberts, et al USDC ED of LA Civil Action No 15-6272

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