NewsSt. Martin Parish


UPDATE: St. Martin Parish files suit against LCG in spoils bank case

St. Martin Parish Courthouse
Posted at 4:20 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 19:03:58-04

A day after a federal judge dismissed LCG's lawsuit against them, St. Martin Parish has filed suit over a controversial drainage project.

The Petition for Mandatory Injunction filed Wednesday in 16th Judicial District Court asks the court to order LCG to
restore, replace and reconstruct" the spoil bank it "illegally" removed.

"As shown by public statements of LCG representatives, including those in Press Releases, radio interviews and allegations in lawsuits filed against St. Martin Parish Government in Lafayette Parish District Court, and in (federal court), LCG desired removal of the Vermilion River spoil bank in St. Martin Parish for LCG's own purposes," the suit alleges. "Plaintiff was aware of LCG's desire to destroy the spoil bank, and plaintiff expressed its opposition to LCG's intended project to remove the spoil bank without further studies that would demonstrate the removal of the spoil bank would pose no enhanced risk of flooding to St. Martin Parish, LCG led plaintiffs to believe LCG was working with St. Martin Parish Government to resolve the issue."

At issue is a project that LCG already has completed in St. Martin Parish, which removed decades-old levees on property partially owned by LCG. St. Martin Parish officials said that LCG did the project in the dark of night, and without permits from either the parish or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. LCG already had filed for a permit at a different location with the Corps; that permit application was withdrawn after St. Martin told the Corps that no parish permits for it would be granted.

LCG filed suit in state court, asking a judge to rule that the project was done properly. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had it removed to federal court, which is where it was dismissed on Tuesday - with regard to St. Martin Parish. The suit against the corps remains, records show.

To read about the dismissal of LCG's claim against St. Martin Parish in federal court yesterday, click here.

In a release about the dismissal, St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars issued a statement saying the suit is necessary.

"After discussion with our attorneys, we concluded that our focus must continue to be directed toward protecting our citizens. The dismissal of the federal litigation does not remediate the issues caused by the spoil bank removal. Therefore, we decided to initiate litigation now so that the appropriate court could resolve the matter without any further delay," the statement reads. "Finally, as stated at the outset, St. Martin Parish Government will continue to adopt every step necessary to protect the citizens of our parish."

Cedars is an attorney and was a long-time prosecutor.

We reached out to LCG for a response, but a spokesman said they hadn't been served with the suit yet, and couldn't comment.