Case: Anderson v. State

2004-5405 | Louisiana state trial court

Filed Date: Sept. 23, 2004

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On September 23, 2004, nine clients of the Calcasieu Parish Public Defender's Office (PDO) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against both the governor of Louisiana and the State Legislature, in the Fourteenth Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish, LA. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive and declaratory relief from violations of their rights as secured by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, and by the Louisiana State Constitution. Plaintiffs …

On September 23, 2004, nine clients of the Calcasieu Parish Public Defender's Office (PDO) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against both the governor of Louisiana and the State Legislature, in the Fourteenth Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish, LA. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive and declaratory relief from violations of their rights as secured by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, and by the Louisiana State Constitution. Plaintiffs specifically alleged that Defendants had failed to ensure that the PDO had sufficient resources to meaningfully meet with its clients, conduct substantive investigations, and adequately prepare for trial. Plaintiffs also alleged that Defendants had failed to properly monitor or oversee the indigent defense system.

There was some question as to whether the cause of action arose in the Fourteenth Judicial District, where the PDO was based, or in the Nineteenth Judicial District, where the state capitol is located. After a hearing, the trial court held venue was proper in the Fourteenth Judicial District. The state defendants then appealed to the Court of Appeal of Louisiana for the Third Circuit. On November 2, 2005, the Appeal Court for the Third Circuit (Judges John D. Saunders, Jimmie C. Peters, and Billy E. Ezell) held that, because the case had statewide implications, proper venue was with the court serving East Baton Rouge Parish, where the state capitol is located. The Appeal Court thus reversed the decision of the trial court and transferred the case to the Nineteenth Judicial District. Anderson v. State, 916 So.2d 341 (La.App. 3 Cir. 2005). Plaintiffs appealed the Appeal Court's venue decision to the Supreme Court of Louisiana, which denied certiorari on June 2, 2006. Anderson v. State, 929 So.2d 1243 (La. 2006).

After the venue transfer, the Nineteenth Judicial District Court (Judge R. Michael Caldwell) held a hearing on Plaintiffs' motion to certify the case as a class action. The court subsequently granted the motion for class certification.

Defendants then filed a motion to dismiss the case as moot in light of the state's enactment of the Louisiana Public Defender Act of 2007. Plaintiffs opposed the motion on ground that it was too soon to determine the effect of the reform law. The court agreed with Plaintiffs and ordered a six-month stay. The stay has expired and, as of March 3, 2008, the parties are engaged in continuing discussions concerning how to proceed.

We have no further information on this case.

Summary Authors

Nick Niles (7/11/2007)

Related Cases

Allen v. Edwards, Louisiana state trial court (2017)

Walker v. State, Louisiana state appellate court (2004)

People


Judge(s)

Carter, Wilford (Louisiana)

Ezell, Billy H. (Louisiana)

Attorney for Plaintiff

Fox, Hamilton P. III (District of Columbia)

Hoskins, David L. (Louisiana)

James, Rawn M. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Attorney for Defendant

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2004-5405

Class Action Complaint

Sept. 23, 2004

Sept. 23, 2004

Complaint

2004-5405

Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification

Jan. 1, 2005

Jan. 1, 2005

Pleading / Motion / Brief

2004-5405

Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification

Jan. 1, 2005

Jan. 1, 2005

Pleading / Motion / Brief

05-CV-321

05-CV-551

Appellate Decision [Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit]

Louisiana state appellate court

Nov. 2, 2005

Nov. 2, 2005

Order/Opinion

916 So.2d 916

05-00104

Opinion and Order

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Nov. 2, 2005

Nov. 2, 2005

Order/Opinion

05-C-2493

[Denial of Writ of Certiorari and/or Review from Louisiana Supreme Court]

Louisiana state supreme court

June 2, 2006

June 2, 2006

Order/Opinion

929 So.2d 929

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 2:29 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Louisiana

Case Type(s):

Indigent Defense

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 23, 2004

Case Ongoing: Unknown

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Those who are or will in the future be adversely affected by Defendant’s conduct in failing to ensure that the Calcasieu Parish Public Defender system provides constitutionally adequate assistance of counsel

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

State of Louisiana, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Available Documents:

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Issues

General/Misc.:

Funding

Quality of representation

Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions:

Crowding / caseload

Reproductive rights:

Fetus Identity