By Kelly Becker
Federal Judge Ginger Berrigan issued a comprehensive Order and Reasons addressing and granting a series of motions to dismiss filed by oil and gas company defendants, and individual executive officer defendants, all of which were pending in the consolidated federal court Bonvillain Terrebonne Parish ad valorem tax suits. The Court gave Assessor Bonvillain ten days to file amended complaints to cure, if he can, the number of deficiencies pointed out in the opinion. As to all defendants, the majority of whom were represented by Liskow & Lewis, the Court examined and ruled on three primary issues: (1) finding that the Assessor lacks state law standing to assert claims to recover tax amounts allegedly due the Parish of Terrebonne/tax fraud claims; (2) finding that the Assessor lacks RICO standing; and (3) finding that the Assessor failed to meet the requirement to plead fraud claims with particularity. The Court also dismissed several individual defendants named in the suits based upon lack of personal jurisdiction over the individual. Bonvillain has until Thursday, April 8, 2010 to file any amended complaint. If Bonvillain fails to do so, the order of dismissal becomes automatically effective. Thereupon, Bonvillain can appeal the Court’s rulings to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal.