Kenner magistrate judges sued by residents cited with code violations

Michelle Massey Sep. 27, 2010, 3:57am


A Kenner resident is suing two Louisiana magistrate judges claiming his civil rights were violated because he has been continually fined for violating city codes.

Francis Bremermann, his wife Jacqueline Bremermann and their business Bremermann Mechanical Inc., filed suit against the city of Kenner, its inspection and code department, the city attorney and Magistrate Judges Sean Alfortish and Bruce Lizana on Sept. 11 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the complaint, since the early 1980s the city has engaged in continuous harassing of the plaintiffs that is illegal and unnecessary. Bremermann has received numerous citations, for such things as having six iron posts installed in his back yard, for having a vehicle parked under his carport, for allowing his grass and weeds to be higher than seven inches and for having construction equipment on a vacant lot.

Several of the citations relate to Bremermann not having an occupational license for his business. Bremermann states he applied for a license but was denied by the city's code enforcement authority. In response to the denial, Bremermann says he obtained an occupational license in Jefferson Parish. Due to the lack of appropriate licensure, Bremermann claims he has been wrongly charged with criminal charges.

The plaintiffs have fought the cases and citations through numerous courts and the state and they say they have won. Despite the success in fighting the citations, Bremermann states the local judges will not award damages against the city of Kenner.

The defendants are accused of breaching the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to liberty, right to property and right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment, all without due process.

Bremermann is asking the federal court for an award of damages, punitive damages, sanctions, attorney's fees, costs and interest. He is also asking for an injunction against the city to prevent continued prosecution on these charges.

New Orleans attorney Kathleen Cresson of Cresson Law Firm is representing the Bremermanns.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv03017/i>

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