Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 28, 2020

Fed Dist. Court in LA Grants Dismissal of Challenges to Zoning Change of Plaintiff’s Property

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq,
In 2015, a new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (“CZO”) became effective and changed the zoning of plaintiff’s property from MS Medical District to HU-RD2 Historic Urban Two-Family Residential District. Plaintiff alleged that he was not given due process notice of the zoning change, and only became aware of the zoning change when applying for a permit to use the property in a manner consistent with the MS Medical Service District zoning. Plaintiff further claimed that he was entitled to have his property revert to the MS Medical Service District and receive a refund of all taxes, interest, and penalties paid based on the value of the property with MS Medical Service District zoning.
At the outset, the court first noted that the Fifth Circuit previously held that the Tax Injunction Act was a broad jurisdictional impediment to federal court interference with the administration of state tax systems. As such, to the extent plaintiff sought to enjoin, suspend or restrain the assessment, levy or collection of any tax under Louisiana law, the Tax Injunction Act precluded the court from exercising jurisdiction over this matter. Since the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff’s tax claims, it did not reach the merits on defendant’s contention that plaintiff failed to join a necessary party related to the tax claims.
Defendant next argued that plaintiff’s §1983 claim was barred because it was filed more than a year after plaintiff became aware of the 2015 CZO change in zoning on the property. The record reflected that the zoning change occurred in 2015 and plaintiff discovered the change in 2017. Despite this, plaintiff failed to file the complaint until May of 2019. Accordingly, the court held that plaintiff’s §1983 claims were barred, and defendant’s motion to dismiss was granted.
1312-1314 Antionine, LLC v. City of New Orleans, 2020 WL 491181 (1/30/2020)

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