Lawsuit can’t proceed, Louisiana Oil & Gas Association Argues

         The Louisiana Oil & Gas Association goes on the offensive saying the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East does not have the right to sue dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies over coastal damage.

         According to a comprehensive report by Mark Schleifstein with The Times-Picayune, LOGA argues law blocking a wetlands damage suit is constitutional.

         On Monday, 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark in Baton Rouge issued a preliminary ruling that Louisiana's Legislature missed its mark when it passed a bill seeking to halt the east bank levee authority’s lawsuit.

The legislation prohibits state agencies and local governments from pursuing such suits. But Clark said the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East is neither a state agency nor a local government.

Clark also said that she is likely to rule that the law violates the Louisiana Constitution's separation of powers, but she did not issue a final ruling on the constitutional issues.

         Schleifstein reports attorney Robert Mahtook Jr., representing LOGA, argued on Thursday that the state law passed by the 2014 Legislature to block the wetlands damages lawsuit, Act 544, does apply to the flood board. He argued the law properly identified the levee authority as either a state agency or a local governmental agency citing previous decisions on similar separation of power issues that upheld laws that terminated other lawsuits.

         A final ruling on the issue is pending.

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