Court says it cannot set date for New Orleans to pay out $1.8 million claim in damage suit

By Takesha Thomas | Dec 3, 2018

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana recently granted a motion by the City of New Orleans to dismiss a claim demanding that the city pay a more than $1.8 million judgment to a man who was struck and injured by a municipal police cruiser. 

In the Nov. 26 ruling, U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan said the court could not enforce judgement against the city in the matter involving Leroy Davis based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 

The court also allowed LaToya Cantrell, who succeeded Mitchell J. Landrieu as mayor of New Orleans, to be substituted as a defendant in the claim.

Davis was struck and injured by a New Orleans police cruiser in 2006. As a result of his injuries, he filed suit against the city. In 2009, court documents said, Davis was awarded $1,890,872 in damages and the city placed the judgment on its list of unpaid judgments but had yet to pay Davis. 

Court filings said that in January, Davis filed an instant suit demanding payment, claiming the city violated the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment and "although it is the city’s stated policy to pay judgments in the order they are issued, the city has paid three judgments issued later than his." 

Attorneys for the city argued that the district court had no authority to enforce the judgment against them. Adding that "as a result, plaintiff’s injury cannot be redressed by a favorable ruling." The city also argued that based on the Louisiana Constitution, the court is "without authority to enforce" Davis' 2009 consent judgment.

The latest court ruling said, "The city has not disavowed the debt. The city’s refusal to pay plaintiff at a particular time is not a taking. As a result, the court dismisses plaintiff’s takings clause claim."

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