SUMMARY JUDGMENT ISSUED IN LAWSUIT CHALLENGING PARISH GOVERMEMENT EMERGENCY DECLARATION

A lawsuit challenging the validity of two emergency declarations issued by the Natchitoches Parish Government has been dismissed by a summary judgment ruling issued by the 10th Judicial District Court.

The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office, which represents Natchitoches Parish Government, petitioned the court to summarily dismiss the lawsuit filed by plaintiff Alan McMurtry.

Assistant District Attorney Steven P. Mansour argued before the court that there were no material factual disputes in the lawsuit and, therefore, as a matter of law the suit should be dismissed.

Ad Hoc Judge Bruce Bolin, of Bossier Parish, presided over the hearing. Bolin ruled from the bench with a summary judgment dismissing the suit.

In his oral ruling, Bolin gave weight to the fact the two emergency declarations were for 30 day periods and made a finding that both have expired. The court was satisfied that the parish president did have the authority to purchase, without council approval, materials for a lesser cost than was approved. The court further stated that because the original material, Winnrock, was not available and could not be supplied, there was no public harm for the Parish to purchase another road material from an alternate approved vendor for a lesser amount.

Bolin also stated the two emergency declarations issued by the parish government were essentially a public statement by the parish president describing his proposed actions. Therefore, the emergency declarations, which were the basis of the lawsuit, are moot.