Holland Phillips Dec. 4, 2013, 5:46pm

NEW ORLEANS – In connection with repairs made on a blighted property, a New Orleans company is suing previous property owners and the city for lien rights and also challenging a state tax law.

NOLA Renewal Group LLC filed suit against Anita Villa Leblanc, Hazel Anita Leblanc Predergast, Cullen Joseph Leblanc and the City of New Orleans in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Oct. 3.

NOLA Renewal Group claims that it performed work on a Clematis Street property, which was owned by the defendants and deemed blighted by the City of New Orleans Office of Recovery Development and Administration and the Administration Adjudication Bureau in August 2009. The company claims it made efforts to repair and remediate the property, and subsequently took possession in June 2010 as it was unable to locate defendant owners.

Because NOLA Renewal claims it “cannot return the property to commerce” due to limitations of the Blighted Property Acquisition Program, it maintains it is entitled to the sum of the costs of materials and workmanship, the current or enhanced value of the property and lien rights.

The plaintiff’s suit argues that the city has no claim over lien rights because the associated documents are null and void due to the city’s failure to notify the owners, failure to deliver judgments against Leblanc and failure to file affidavits of the lien properly.

In addition, the plaintiff seeks a judgment against elements of tax law that it claims feeds into a “scheme of collection penalties, excessive interest and expenses in favor of the City which are not authorized by the Constitution of the State of Louisiana.”

An undisclosed amount in damages is sought in addition to costs of the proceedings and attorney fees. NOLA Renewal also asks for a mandatory injunction against the city’s judgments, removal of charges against them for code enforcement liens, nullification of city fees, collection fees, and ad valorem tax charges over three years old or enforcement of the state constitution for the annulment of the parish tax sale.

The plaintiff also asks for a declaration of unconstitutionality on the municipal code saying it violates the Fourth and Eighth Amendments, a declaration against the Leblancs and their heirs, an appointment of an ad hoc curator to represent the absent defendants, and recognition that NOLA Renewal has a superior claim to property lien rights.

The plaintiff is represented by John A. E. Davidson of Metairie-based Davidson & Davidson APLC.

The case has been assigned to Division M Judge Paulette R. Irons.

Case no. 2013-09389.

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State of Louisiana
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