One of the first growths of mushrooms on Billy Broussard’s farm in Broussard, Louisiana. Pursuant to court action yesterday converting a Temporary Restraining Order to a Preliminary Injunction, Broussard is now enjoined from engaging in any further activities to promote his long-term goal of having a mushroom farm on his 33-acre tract of land in Broussard, Louisiana.
One thing we’ve never been accused of doing is sugar-coating features we publish, and we have no intent to do so in this feature.
Although Billy Broussard’s attorney, Heather Duhon-Moore, indicated at the conclusion of a court hearing yesterday, May 3, 2022, in which St. Martin Parish Government’s (SMPG) Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was converted to a Preliminary Injunction, that a future court hearing would transpire to block the Injunction from becoming Permanent, the court hearing yesterday can only be described as a complete and total shellacking of Broussard by SMPG President Chester Cedars.
We will provide more details in a subsequent feature, but the cliff notes version of events yesterday is that the existing TRO was converted to a Preliminary Injunction. As a result, Broussard is now indefinitely prohibited from engaging in any of the activities originally itemized in the first and subsequent TROs.
Both sides appeared to hold back firepower to save for a Permanent Injunction hearing. In the case of SMPG, LSP Trooper Scott Lopez, despite being present and sequestered as a witness for SMPG, ultimately was not called. Neither was Evan Mautrin, an employee of Blake Dubroc, even though he too was present and sequestered.
In the case of Broussard, Duhon-Moore, for technical reasons, was blocked from posing arguments on certain matters, the most significant of which was challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance SMPG passed enabling the TRO to be issued in the first place. She indicated to the judge that she would assert those arguments, along with others, at the hearing for a Permanent Injunction when that transpires.
Even though both sides may have withheld firepower for a later date, the victory on the part of SMPG was nothing short of resounding. In fact, Judge Suzanne deMahy went so far at the conclusion of the proceeding to inform Broussard that he was prohibited from permitting a truck loaded with tree debris to remain at his property even merely overnight (if a commercial dump had closed before Broussard could take a load to the dump) even if he did not dump it!
deMahy indicated that keeping the debris in the truck overnight to take it to a commercial dump the next morning would constitute, “temporary storage,” which is something that is, “prohibited by the court-ordered injunction which you are under.”
deMahy further admonished Broussard that, if he has any questions whatsoever entailing what he can and cannot do on his property, he should contact parish officials for guidance. She admonished him that, “otherwise, neighbors are likely to complain, and you may end up in violation of the Injunction.”
The preceding cliff notes version of events is why we have described yesterday’s hearing as an utter and complete shellacking by SMPG over Broussard.
Subscribers and site visitors may recall our football analogy we made way back when Broussard’s former counsel, Michael Adley, opted to postpone the original September 14, 2021 hearing. We indicated that Adley opted to toss a bubble screen to try and score from the one-yard line rather than handing the ball off to a fullback we believed was all-but-certain to bulldoze his way into the end zone.
Well, given yesterday’s courtroom events, not only has Adley’s bubble screen now been intercepted, but SMPG turned that interception into a pick-six!
While some of the fourth quarter remains to be played, the undeniable fact is that Broussard, who still remains on defense because SMPG essentially opted to attempt an onside kick following the pick-six and gained possession of the football, now has little choice but to claw at the ball (even at the expense of missing tackles) because time is rapidly expiring. The bottom line is that any score to try to win the game first necessitates obtaining possession of the football. We’ll certainly see if that can be done when the Permanent Injunction hearing is scheduled (or perhaps by any other filing between now and then).
So, that’s the update on the SMPG litigation on Broussard. As we said, we don’t sugar-coat features, and we believe anyone would agree we certainly did not sugar-coat our summation of yesterday’s proceedings. In due time, we’ll provide more of a play-by-play of what all transpired at yesterday’s hearing which managed to take six (6) hours (although there were various criminal matters that Judge deMahy had to tackle which caused a few interruptions).
When we do so, we’ll be dissecting SMPG attorney Lee Durio’s Pre-Trial Memorandum Response. We will point out at this time, however, that his filing, which transpired only 45 hours before the Court Hearing (filed on 5/1/22 at noon) was replete with more grammatical errors than we believe we have ever encountered in reading a court filing!
We will also point out at this time that, because Chester Cedars essentially served as representative for SMPG, Duhon-Moore’s Motion to Sequester him was unsuccessful. As a result, Cedars essentially served as counsel for SMPG (trust us, Durio was just along for the ride). Cedars managed to assert himself as de facto counsel to such an extent that he frequently chimed in while on the witness stand even though he was not being asked a question nor was he part of the discussions transpiring between the attorneys and the judge.
As we indicated, we’ll provide a play-by-play of yesterday’s hearing in the near future. Nevertheless, we feel compelled to make just one verbatim quote Cedars made directly to Duhon-Moore while he was on the witness stand. It was one of many, many occasions Cedars chose to publicly chastise Duhon-Moore and even try to belittle her. That quote follows:
You are not going to stand there and insult my intelligence by indicating that Mr. Broussard’s property is anything but a full-fledged landfill.
We will also note that Cedars lost his temper on several occasions; nevertheless, in the end, he clearly emerged victorious.
On another front, Cedars was able to celebrate (spike the football again, we guess) for a second time yesterday as he gave the SMPG Council an update on the Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) litigation entailing what SMPG alleges was the improper removal of spoil banks along the Vermillion River. Let’s take a look at his presentation to the SMPG Council last night:
5/3/22: St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars provides update on spoil banks litigation with LCG.
As we’ve emphasized on many occasions, our conservative estimate of attorneys (whom we know of) subscribing to our distribution list is about 20 percent, so let’s provide the following table of Federal Court filings since the matter was removed from 15th JDC in Lafayette to the Federal Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette Division) for their (or anyone else’s) viewing pleasure:
|Date of Federal Filing||Filing|
|April 27, 2022||Removal Notice|
|April 28, 2022||Removal Order (unsigned).|
|April 28, 2022||U. S. Army Corp of Engineers Consent to Removal.|
|April 29, 2022||Removal Order (signed).|
|May 2, 2022||SMPG Motion to Dismiss (or State More Definite Statement)|
|May 3, 2022||Notice of Motion Setting (tentatively June 29, 2022).|
We will emphasize the paragraph that Cedars read to the Council Members yesterday (Document 5 above):
St. Martin Parish Government has been advised by counsel for the Corps that an Administrative Order has been issued by the Corps, notifying and advising LCG that a Corps Permit was required for LCG’s spoil bank destruction activities in St. Martin Parish; defendant herein is seeking to confirm the information from the Assistant United States Attorney, and upon such confirmation, will obtain the Administrative Order (or Orders) and, via a formal filing, will ask the Court to take judicial notice as per Fed. R. Evid. 201 of the Corp’s administrative ruling. In light of the Corps finding, LCG cannot obtain a Declaratory Judgment “that it complied with all lawful regulations, ordinances, rules, procedures and laws with the spoil bank project.” The Corps’ determination shows LCG has failed to state a claim for the Declaratory Judgment it seeks.
So, while the Broussard and LCG legal matters are obviously not fully resolved, St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars scored an unquestionable resounding victory against Billy Broussard yesterday in court. Furthermore, he certainly appears to have justifiable reason to revel in his update to SMPG Council Members yesterday evening on the LCG litigation.
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