NEW ORLEANS – A dispute between the Finance Authority of New Orleans and the Doley Foundation has been resolved after the filing of a restraining order over a fire suppression system.

The Finance Authority of New Orleans (FANO) filed suit against the Doley Foundation, a non-profit corporation, Harold Doley, the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Fire Department in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Jan. 23.

FANO was suing for a temporary restraining order involving adjoining properties that share a fire suppression automatic sprinkler system.  FANO owns 618 Baronne Street, and the Doley Foundation owns 616 Baronne Street, where the water meter and shut off valves controlling water flow to the sprinkler system are located.

FANO alleged that the defendants closed the shut off valve serving FANO’s building.

On Jan. 16, a New Orleans fire department Fire Prevention Division detail coordinator allegedly performed a physical inspection of FANO’s premises, and discovered that its fire suppression automatic sprinkler system was neither functional nor operational because of the closed shut off valve. The suit alleged that the detail coordinator ordered all employees to vacate the premises until the valve was opened and the system was inspected and certified operational by the Office of State Fire Marshal or alternatively to engage a fire fighter from the City of New Orleans to stand fire watch at and be present at 618 Baronne Street at all times FANO was open and doing business. FANO engaged a fire fighter to stand fire watch at a cost of $25 per hour. At the date of filing, FANO claimed to have spent $387.50 for fire watch personnel.

FANO claimed the defendants should be responsible for the costs. It argued that its inability to occupy premises without having fire watch personnel constitutes immediate and irreparable injury, harm, loss and damage necessitating a restraining order.

The suit requested a restraining order commanding the Doley Foundation to immediately open the shut off valve and preventing it from ever again tampering with the water flow or rendering the fire suppression system inoperable. The suit also requested that the City of New Orleans or the Fire Department be authorized and empowered to enter the premises of 616 Baronne Street to physically open the shut off valve. It also sought costs and fees.

FANO is represented by New Orleans area attorney Irving B. Shnaider.

On Jan. 23, Judge Exnicios partly granted and partly denied the request for a restraining order. He ordered that the Doley Foundation must immediately open shut off valve and may never in the future tamper with it. He set a Jan. 30 hearing set to make the order permanent.

On Feb. 10, Shnaider sent a letter to the clerk of the court advising that his office wanted to waive service of the petition for temporary restraining order as the matter has now been dismissed.

FANO has agreed to install its own separate water system and has undertaken steps to complete this quickly. It agreed to pay $15,000 to the Doley Foundation for the maintenance and fees associated with the shared water system. FANO has further agreed to pay $120 per month for use of the shared sprinkler system until the new separate system is in place. The Doley Foundation will allow FANO to use system without interruption until then. The suit was then dismissed with prejudice, with both parties bearing their own costs.

The case has been assigned to Division H Judge Val Exnicios.

Case no. 2014-00843.

More News