NEW ORLEANS — A Florida businessman's
litigation blocking World Trade Center development appears to be
headed to the Louisiana Supreme Court, but the winning bidder's
spokesman has claimed validation in a recent appeals-court decision.
"Today’s unanimous and strongly worded 4th Circuit ruling
validates our contention that the plaintiff has no legitimate legal
case and that this transformational project needs to move forward,"
Greg Beuerman, spokesperson for winning bidder Carpenter-Woodward,
said during a Louisiana Record email interview Wednesday, Feb.
That day, Louisiana's 4th Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed
Orleans Civil District Judge Tiffany Chase's Nov.
21 dismissal of the case after Stuart "Neil" Fisher,
president of Two Canal Street Investors, didn't appear for a hearing
that day and did not send counsel. Fisher, who has never responded to
any Louisiana Record requests for comment, later
claimed in a report by The Advocate that he didn't appear because
he'd not yet retained counsel to replace the law firm that had
withdrawn from his case in October.
Fisher, now being represented
by Varadi, Hair &
Checki in New Orleans, based much of his appeal on the turnover
of this legal representation, but the 4th Circuit was not moved. The
court's decision said Fisher had ample time to obtain new counsel
before the Nov. 21 hearing and that Chase had not abused her
discretion in the matter and there was no merit to Fisher's due
"The trial court found that when Mr.
Fisher bought the rights to TCSI, it was not a valid corporation,
that Mr. Fisher did so for the purpose of filing this lawsuit to
extract money from the defendants, and that this constituted an
'abuse of process'," the appeals-court decision said. "At
the time of the trial court's Nov. 21, 2016 judgment of dismissal,
TCSI still had no board, no stock, no bylaws, no bank account, and it
was still under the complete control of Mr. Fisher, TCSI's sole
shareholder and director."
has since said to the Times-Picayune he plans to appeal the case,
now well into its second year, to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
litigation has been a costly waste of time, Beuerman said.
"To date, TCSI’s frivolous
lawsuit and abuse of the legal process has cost the city and state
$30 million and 2,000 badly needed construction and permanent jobs,"
Fisher's case is difficult for his new counsel because
Chase dismissed the case with prejudice, which meant the specific
allegations in the case could not be raised, The Advocate reported.
Instead, Fisher's attorney could only challenge the dismissal itself.
The appeals-court decision has left the plaintiff with few avenues of
challenge before the state Supreme Court.
marked the second time in less than a year that the 4th Circuit Court
of Appeal upheld a ruling in the case by Chase. On April 20, as the
Louisiana Record previously reported, the 4th
Circuit found for the city of New Orleans, named defendants in a
lawsuit filed by Two Canal Street Investors, losing bidders in the
former World Trade Center development. In that ruling, the 4th
Circuit affirmed Chase's denial of Two Canal Street Investors' motion
for preliminary injunction to stop Four Seasons' development from
The 4th Circuit's most recent decision also means
the case is that much closer to finally being over, Beuerman said.
"This resounding legal victory
brings us one step closer to making this important economic
development project a reality,” he said.
On Dec. 20, World Trade
Center of New Orleans current and former executives issued
a call for expedited progress in the redevelopment, saying
Fisher's litigation should stop and the $400 million project be
allowed to move forward, the Louisiana Record reported.