BELLEVUE, WA – A United States District Judge in New Orleans has granted a motion to hold Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley in contempt for failure to provide initial disclosures and answers to discovery in a lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation.
Judge Carl J. Barbier issued a blistering rebuke to New Orleans’ defense counsel for conduct that is “wholly unprofessional” and warned that it “shall not be condoned.” Judge Barbier ordered defense counsel to reimburse SAF’s attorney $1,365. SAF is joined in the lawsuit by the National Rifle Association.
In his ruling, Judge Barbier noted, “Defense counsel has caused time and money to be wasted by Plaintiffs’ counsel and further admits that he has ‘no good reason’ to explain his behavior.”
“Throughout the past 17 months,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb, “our attorneys have acted professionally and they have been stonewalled or ignored by the city and especially its defense attorney. This seems to be the only thing that gets their attention, and it appears that Judge Barbier’s patience has grown as thin as our own.”
“We gave New Orleans every opportunity to act like adults and deal with this lawsuit in a professional manner,” Gottlieb said, “and they’ve acted as if this case didn’t exist. Judge Barbier’s ruling is a wake-up call.
“They seem to forget that we went to court over a serious civil rights violation,” Gottlieb continued. “In the days following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans dispatched police officers and National Guard troopers to confiscate firearms. In many cases, citizens were disarmed at gunpoint, without warrant and without probable cause. Nagin and Riley, and every other official in New Orleans who was part of this outrage, need to understand that the Constitution may not be suspended in New Orleans or anywhere else by a natural disaster, or on somebody’s whim.
“This is the first step toward forcing New Orleans to return seized firearms to their rightful owners, and in our effort to find out who issued that illegal order, and hold them responsible,” Gottlieb stated. “We will not rest until this case is resolved.”