A New Orleans woman is suing the city and tax collectors employed by the city alleging violation of due process under both federal and state constitutions when attempting to collect her taxes. 

Marilyn Louise Hammer Gibson, 77, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on Aug. 26 against the city of New Orleans along with tax collectors Norman S. Foster, Erroll G. Williams, John Brooks, and Stephen D. Morel, who were employed by the city. The claims states that the tax collectors violated her constitutional rights.

According to the complaint, Gibson has resided at the same address since 1957. In 2011, she was allegedly notified about unpaid taxes and promptly went in to resolve the issue. This allegedly prompted the tax collector defendants to send her around to various different departments, yielding no results.

On March 1, 2015, she hired an attorney Paul A. Grego to try to resolve the issue, which was also fruitless, the complaint states. Grego allegedly sent a letter to defendant Williams on March 13, requesting assistance in resolving Gibson’s unpaid taxes. This letter was never answered, the claim states.

According to the claim, it came to light during these proceedings that all of the mailed tax notices that had been sent to Gibson had been returned to the defendants due to a mistake in her address. No action was taken to resolve this.

The tax collector defendants allegedly sent a notice on May 22 stating that they were going to sell her property on July 21 unless action was taken. 

The plaintiffs are alleging violations of Fifth and 14th Amendment rights of due process and equal protection of law. 

Gibson is seeking unspecified damages, litigation costs, any extra relief deemed appropriate by the court, to annul the selling of her residence, and a recalculation of owed tax. She is represented by Lane N. Bennett of Bennett Law Firm, LLC in Baton Rouge.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana case number 2:15-cv-03815-NJB-DEK

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