Jury barred from nuisance action

A state district judge has temporarily blocked the West Feliciana Parish Police Jury from proceeding with a nuisance complaint against the family claiming ownership of land bordering the old Mississippi River ferry landing.

In seeking a temporary restraining order, attorneys for the estate of the late Paul A. Lambert Sr. and Lambert Gravel Co. said efforts to resolve a dispute over ownership of land bordering the landing have been unsuccessful “despite the Lamberts’ best efforts.”

Twentieth Judicial District Judge George H. Ware Jr. set a June 12 hearing for the Police Jury to show cause why he should not issue a preliminary injunction to block the nuisance proceeding.

Ware had suggested during a March 13 hearing that both sides settle the dispute because of the costs involved in proving ownership of the land.

A special jury committee voted 2-1 May 3 to offer an interim agreement to the Lamberts about the use of land adjacent to the landing for parking and other access, but the amount of land included in the proposal was far greater than what the Lamberts had earlier offered.

The request for the temporary restraining order, which Ware signed May 6, says the Police Jury’s notice concerning a nuisance was in retaliation for the Lamberts’ lawsuit to settle ownership of the land.

The jury’s notice said the Lamberts are violating the parish’s nuisance ordinance by using “abandoned refuse, junk, abandoned metal and concrete culvert material” to block access to the area around the landing.

The Lamberts have stored equipment on the site for more than 50 years, and the equipment is not abandoned and not trash, the motion says.