St. Martin Parish President Cedars goes for jugular on Broussard, takes aim at LCG alleging improper removal of spoil banks from Vermillion River.

Photo of St. Martin Parish Government (SMPG) truck hauling in debris to Billy Broussard’s property mere hours before the SMPG Council would meet to deny Broussard a zoning variance (which his attorney has asserted he doesn’t even need) to do the exact same thing.

In our March 6, 2022 feature on the St. Martin Parish Government (SMPG) / Billy Broussard legal battle , we pointed out the fact that Billy Broussard has been issued a restraining order (which every attorney with whom we’ve consulted has declared to be unquestionably illegal) prohibiting him from hauling in vegetative debris onto a 33-acre property he purchased at 1675 Duchamp Road in Broussard, Louisiana.

We pointed out that Broussard had served SMPG with interrogatories and requests for admissions of fact (he has since also served them with a request for production of documents), and we drew attention to Request for Admission Number 27, which dealt with what, at the time, was 12 specific times and dates at which SMPG dumped its own debris on Broussard’s property (two more such dumps took place hours after Broussard submitted the admission requests).

We presented the photos of SMPG engaging in that dumping activity on Broussard’s property which are time-and-date stamped.  Let’s take just a moment to present a short 20-second video clip of SMPG’s actions mere hours before convening a hearing to deny Broussard a variance to do precisely what SMPG was doing:

Video of SMPG hauling in debris to Broussard’s property mere hours before the March 2, 2022 SMPG Council meeting to deny Broussard the right to engage in the same activity.

We stated our belief that SMPG will have a tough time in court with its request to enjoin Broussard from engaging in the activity given the obvious unclean hands with which they enter court.  We provided the link for the Doctrine of Unclean Hands in that feature.  As many subscribers may have surmised by now, our subscription list is, by our own conservative estimate, comprised of about 20 percent Louisiana-licensed lawyers.  Let’s just say that quite a few of those lawyers are intrigued at SMPG’s actions (particularly those of its President, Chester Cedars) entailing Broussard.

One lawyer, after reading our feature, called us up in stunned disbelief at what he had read and seen on the photos.  He proceeded to inform us that SMPG is going to be barred from arguing against Broussard under the Principle of Equitable Estoppel.  We find one reference on the preceding link of particular interest to us given that we already raised the issue of SMPG having “unclean hands.”  Here’s what we find interesting:

Anyone who wishes to assert an estoppel case must come to the court with “clean hands.” This means that the person bringing the suit must not do so unethically or as an act of bad faith. This clean hands doctrine is typically stated as “those who seek equity must do equity.”

We believe that SMPG will have a tough time arguing it has acted with any “equity;” however, in the end, that will be up to a judge to decide.  In this instance, that would be 16th JDC Judge Suzanne deMahy.

While we previously revealed the fact that Broussard served SMPG with interrogatories and requests for admissions of fact, what we did not reveal is the fact that Broussard had effectively become interim coach of his legal team (i.e. serve pro se) after his previous attorney, Michael Adley, withdrew from the litigation on February 16, 2022.

We are not going to divulge the reason his former attorney chose to withdraw; however, we have made our sentiments known about Adley’s handling of this case since September 14, 2021, on which date he agreed to continue a hearing for Preliminary/Permanent injunction at which we believe Adley should have blown SMPG right out of the water!

So, with Broussard serving pro se and being hit with a Temporary Restraining Order the day after the Council meeting (his second in seven months served upon him by SMPG), he obviously recognized a need to obtain legal representation.  That was especially the case given that the hearing to convert the Temporary Restraining Order to a Preliminary Injunction was set for March 22, 2022.

With the foregoing in mind, Broussard filed this Motion and Order for Continuance (again pro se) in 16th JDC on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 at 11:14 a.m.  Notice that Broussard, as part of his Motion to Continue, included color photos of the 14 loads of debris SMPG hauled onto his property.  Let’s take a look at a few of the paragraphs Broussard included in his Motion:

Exhibit D-1, which is attached hereto and made a part hereof, is submitted as evidence of the hauling and dumping by Plaintiff referenced in Paragraph 10 onto Defendant’s property at 1675 Duchamp Road. That evidence is comprised of color photos captured by Defendant’s security cameras clearly depicting Plaintiffs trucks loaded with debris either entering or exiting Defendant’s property.
Defendant is of the belief that the Temporary Restraining Order Obtained by Plaintiff is illegal; furthermore, Defendant further believes that the relief sought by Plaintiff is barred by the Doctrine of Unclean Hands made evident by the documented hauling and dumping of its own debris onto Defendant’s property as outlined in Paragraphs 10 and 11 above. Furthermore, Defendant informed Plaintiff of the fact debris was being hauled and dumped onto his property at the St. Martin Parish Council Meeting of Wednesday, March 2, 2022, and Plaintiff, despite having actual knowledge of its own actions which are identical to those for which Plaintiff seeks to enjoin Defendant, nevertheless proceeded the next day, March 3, 2022 to present this Honorable Court with an illegal Temporary Restraining Oder which has now been singed by this Honorable Court.
Prior to withdrawing as Counsel for Defendant, Mr. Adley, in addition to filing the Pre-Trial Memorandum on behalf of Defendant, also drafted an Answer and Reconventional Demand against Plaintiff for the filing of an illegal Temporary Restraining Order and seeking for the Petition for Preliminary Injunction to be denied/dismissed with prejudice, for any Temporary
Restraining Order to be vacated, and that, “Defendants be awarded all damages, including attorney’s fees, pursuant to La. Code Civ. P. art. 3608.”
Upon successfully obtaining Counsel to represent Defendant, Defendant will supply the entire file which Mr. Adley supplied to Defendant upon his withdrawal as Counsel for Defendant to his newly-hired Counsel for the purpose of Defendant filing a Cause of Action against Plaintiff for its egregious conduct entailing this litigation.
Due to the extensive work of Mr. Adley referenced in Paragraph 13, Defendant believes that the “learning curve” of new Counsel will be expedited given Mr. Adley’ s work on this case prior to his decision to withdraw as Counsel for Defendant.
While procuring Counsel to replace Mr. Adley has proven more difficult than Defendant would have hoped, he remains optimistic of having retained such Counsel and for that Counsel to have filed a formal Motion to Enroll in this litigation no later than Wednesday, April 5, 2022.

So, Broussard is essentially pleading with the Court to continue (postpone) the Preliminary/Permanent Injunction hearing until he’s had an opportunity to procure legal counsel to replace Adley.  SMGP was having none of it as they filed this Opposition Memorandum the next day, Thursday, March 10, 2022 attempting to jam Broussard to the wall in stating that a Contradictory Hearing is mandated before the Motion for Continuance can be granted, that SMPG wants such a Contradictory Hearing and that, if a court date is not available prior to March 22, 2022, SMPG wants the Contradictory Hearing to immediately precede the hearing!

Think of what is contained in the preceding paragraph!  SMPG is essentially stating that it wants to proceed with the Injunction Hearing and to conduct a Contradictory Hearing immediately beforehand even if Broussard must proceed with the actual hearing pro se.  Of course, there is no judge who wants a party arguing before him or her pro se, especially when that party readily states attempts are actively underway to procure legal counsel.  Furthermore, if the judge grants the Continuance, which would practically seem a given in this instance, then all the subpoenaed witnesses are simply told, “Sorry.  False alarm.  Everyone can go home now.”  Geez!

We have been informed that the matter of when the hearing will transpire has been successfully resolved to now be slated to transpire on May 2, 2022, and we will most certainly be there to witness it and report on the result soon thereafter, which is precisely what we wanted to do back in September of last year before this whole “compromise process” was, in our opinion, absurdly agreed to by Adley.  Also, from what we understand, Broussard has now successfully procured new counsel to represent him in the person of Ms. Heather Duhon.

Meanwhile Cedars and SMPG apparently have their rifles now pointed squarely at the Lafayette Parish Consolidated Government in accusing it of “improperly removing spoil banks from the Vermillion River.”  Let’s take a look at a few excerpts from that news feature:

Serious allegations from St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars, against LCG over flood control.

Cedars is accusing Lafayette Consolidated Government of removing spoil banks along the Vermilion River in St. Martin Parish without permission.

Cedars says there could be consequences for LCG.

“The removal of the spoil banks poses no risk of additional flooding to Lafayette Parish. The same can’t be said relative to St. Martin parish,” said Cedars.

Last summer, LCG requested a permit from the U.S. Corps of Engineers to remove spoil banks along the Vermilion River in St.Martinville.

“LCG ultimately withdrew that application for a permit from the U.S. Corps. It’s our understanding the withdrawal of that permit was to afford an additional opportunity to do additional modeling and to have further discourse with St. Martin Parish government because we with many other residents of the areas affected by this project had voiced numerous rejection objections to it,” said Cedars.

But according to Cedars, the spoil banks were removed this week.

“It is extremely frustrating period. It is extremely upsetting not only to my office and my administration but to the constituents and the public who I serve. We’re entitled to better treatment. Governments need to work together. This is not working together,” Cedars added.

Cedars says he was contacted by LCG.

“I spoke to the chief administrator for LCG on Tuesday. He confirmed two things, one that the spoil banks had been removed and two he had not given St. Martin Parish government any advance notice thereof. And offered a very hollow apology,” said Cedars.

In light of the foregoing, SMPG has called a Special Meeting of its Council tomorrow (Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.) to deal with this issue of the spoil banks removal.  Also, we can confirm that LCG officials were made aware of the article linked above (they previously had no knowledge of it until Saturday afternoon) as well as the agenda for tomorrow evening’s special meeting, which is comprised exclusively of the spoil bank removals.  It’s interesting that one of the key lawyers for LCG works for the same firm which Broussard previously retained.

We’ll be at tomorrow’s meeting to videotape it and a regular meeting of the Public Works Committee which allegedly is going to address the issue of too many “crowing roosters” awakening some residents early in the mornings as those roosters rise and shine for the day!  That too may be an interesting discussion which we’ll certainly stick around for and record!

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