Filed: May 2019
Plaintiffs: Anne White Hat, Ramon Mejía, Karen Savage, Sharon Lavigne, Harry Joseph, Katherine Aaslestad, Peter Aaslestad, Theda Larson Wright, Alberta Larson Stevens, Judith Larson Hernandez, Rise St. James, 350 New Orleans, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade
Brought by: Center for Constitutional Rights, the Law Office of William Quigley
Case Documents & Key Developments
- Complaint: The federal lawsuit challenges HB 727, both facially and as applied, as unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and targeting speech with a particular viewpoint. Plaintiffs allege that the law, which makes it a felony to be anywhere on Louisiana’s 125,000 miles of pipelines without permission, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs allege that, as a result of the law and because the overwhelming majority of pipelines in Louisiana are not visible or clearly marked, people in the state cannot be sure of where they can legally be present or what conduct is prohibited that can subject them to up to five years in prison. Further, plaintiffs allege that the goal of the law is to chill and punish speech in opposition to pipeline projects. The plaintiffs include protesters and a journalist who were arrested on a pipeline construction site despite having the landowners’ permission to be there, as well as the landowners and three environmental justice organizations.
- Key Developments:
- May 2021: The District Court for the Western District of Louisiana denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss with respect to the plaintiffs who were arrested, but granted the motion with respect to other plaintiffs for lack of standing.
- June 2023: The District Court for the Western District of Louisiana denied plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, and ordered plaintiffs to file a response as to why summary judgment should not be granted in favor of the defendants.