Yur-Mar, LLC, et al v. Jefferson Parish
(November 2011)

Tommy Anzelmo successfully defended Jefferson Parish in a number of state and federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a new zoning ordinance establishing regulations and design standards for the “Fat City” area of Metairie, Louisiana. The ordinance was passed following a multi-year study and drafting process, and was intended to address problems of crime, blight, urban decay, and declining property values in Fat City. The ordinance set closing hours for stand-alone bars and nightclubs in Fat City of midnight during the week and 1:00 a.m. on weekends. Prior to the passage of the ordinance, no closing hours existed for these businesses, and many operated late into the night or did not close.

Yur-Mar, LLC, along with several other owners and operators of bars and nightclubs in Fat City, filed several lawsuits in federal court challenging the ordinance as violation of their due process rights, a violation of their right to equal protection, and a 5th Amendment “taking” of their property. The lawsuits also claimed that the new zoning requirements were arbitrary and capricious and lacked a rational basis. Multiple lawsuits were also filed in state district court seeking injunctions that would prevent the ordinance from going into effect in general or as applied to a particular establishment.

Our firm’s attorneys successfully defeated these challenges, obtained a dismissal of all claims against Jefferson Parish, and had the ordinance upheld as constitutional. The federal lawsuits were consolidated and the bar owners appealed the dismissal of their claims to the United States Fifth Circuit, which heard oral argument on these appeals in October 2011. Tommy Anzelmo argued before the Fifth Circuit on behalf of Jefferson Parish, and the court issued a decision affirming the dismissal of all of the bar owners’ claims (Yur-Mar, LLC, et al v. Jefferson Parish Council, et al, 2011 WL 5840265 (5th Cir. 2011)).