Holland Phillips Sep. 11, 2013, 6:42am

NEW ORLEANS – Two homeowners ask the question “can we be charged for a blighted property that no longer exists?”

Charles J. and Madalyn M. Cochrane filed suit against City of New Orleans in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court in July.

The Cochranes claim that the City of New Orleans charged them with public nuisance and fined them for a blighted property that had been demolished. The hearing occurred on June 10, 21 days after the property had been destroyed and as a result the plaintiffs were ordered to pay a hearing cost of $75 and a fine of $100.

On Dec. 15, 2003, the plaintiffs claim their property sustained significant arson damage to the extent that the structure became uninhabitable and that the culprits were never named, and the property remained standing until recently.

The defendant is accused of rendering a decision on a property that had already been demolished, arbitrary and actions conceived of as capricious, characterized by abuse of discretion, an unwarranted exercise of discretion and not supported or sustainable by a preponderance of the evidence.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought to reverse the fines levied by the defendants.

All of the allegations have been denied by the City of New Orleans as of Aug. 9 under Cashuana M. Hill, Assistant City Attorney.

The Cochranes are represented by attorney Ronald L. Wilson of New Orelans.

The case has been assigned to Division J Judge Paula A. Brown.

Case no. is 2013-06459.

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