Lawsuit challenging annexations thrown out
BATON ROUGE - An appeals court threw out a lawsuit challenging recent annexations in East Baton Rouge Parish Monday.
The suit from former lawmaker Woody Jenkins claimed the 2014 annexation of a section of land including the Mall of Louisiana would negatively impact police and fire services to his home.
In August, the 19th Judicial District Court threw out his case after ruling he had no "real and actual personal interest" affected by the annexation. Jenkins appealed, and on Monday the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
Jenkins claimed in his suit that he lived in a high crime area of the parish that the extra police presence which would be needed to patrol the mall would negatively impact his coverage. During hearings in the 19th JDC BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie and BRFD Chief Edwin Smith both testified that was not the case, that any extra needs would be covered by the increased revenue from the annexed property.
Jenkins claimed in his appeal that the trial court erred by putting the burden proof on him. The First Circuit said while that was not clear, Jenkins' right to file the lawsuit was the primary issue, and the appeals court found the 19th JDC ruled correctly.
The annexation is one of several annexations in the southern part of the parish which were filed after a group of citizens began efforts to incorporate that area into a new city called St. George. These supporters criticized the annexations as being politically-motivated and intended to scuttle the incorporation movement by annexing high-value properties into the city.
Jenkins said he planned to ask for a re-hearing on some parts of the appeals court's arguments.