Lawsuit wrangling over St. George
BATON ROUGE - City-parish leaders claim a former state representative does not have the right to sue over a move related to the St. George incorporation because he is not affected by the annexation of the Mall of Louisiana and Baton Rouge General.
Monday, the government of East Baton Rouge filed an exception of no right of action against Woody Jenkins, in an attempt to have his suit tossed.
"The people who got annexed asked to be annexed. What they were actually asking was is that 'we don't want to be in St. George,'" attorney Mary Olive Pierson said. "They would have had the right to exercise that right and he can't do it for them."
Last month, Jenkins filed the lawsuit over a council decision expanding city limits to include parts of the mall and other land. Not all of the mall is included. Anchor stores are exempt.
Jenkins lives in the city limits of Baton Rouge and contends the annexation deal was illegal because the anchor stores are left out.
"A lot of us feel like city hall has become lawless," Jenkins said. "It's contrary to the law that annexations must be compact."
Jenkins believes the action against him is to delay the process.
"This is really not about St. George but about Baton Rouge and how it runs its business," he said.
Olive Pierson argues Jenkins is suing Baton Rouge because he wants the St. George incorporation effort to succeed.
"If he wasn't for the incorporation of St. George, why else would he complain that the mall just got annexed into the city and can't be in the town of St. George? That's why he's mad," Olive Pierson said.
"The plan of government says you either have to live in the annexed area or in the municipality. So anyone in the city could have filed suit. We just decided to do so to hold their feet to the fire and make them live by the law," Jenkins said.