Grigsby and Shreveport brief appellate court in discrimination case

Register now

Financial advisor Calvin Grigsby is appealing the dismissal of his racial discrimination suit against Shreveport, Louisiana.

In his opening brief, Grigsby requested that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit schedule oral arguments in the case, which was dismissed with prejudice by a lower court.

Grigsby, who is an attorney, said he wants to explain the “fairly elaborate conspiracy” some City Council members and their attorneys perpetuated to oust him and to clawback some of the fees paid to his firm, Grigsby & Associates.

“Three City Councilmen, Oliver Jenkins, Michael Corbin and Jeff Everson, because of racial animus…agreed to get rid of [the] plaintiff, which was the first and only black owned financial advisor to work as sole financial advisor in the state of Louisiana,” Grigsby said.

Grigsby’s original suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, was dismissed with prejudice Feb. 14 – a move that should be affirmed, said a July 13 brief filed by the city’s attorney, John C. Nickelson with Nickelson Law PLLC.

Nickelson said that council members Jenkins, Corbin, and Everson have absolute immunity from the federal claims made by Grigsby because they were acting legislatively as members of the Shreveport City Council.

The defendants, including city attorneys Terri Anderson-Scott and Julie Glass, also have qualified immunity because Grigsby’s “conclusory allegations concerning a vast discriminatory conspiracy are both implausible and insufficient to establish violation of any clearly established constitutional right,” Nickelson said.

Grigsby contended that the council members took administrative actions, instead of exercising legislative powers, to pass resolutions and ordinances that affected him.

The “defendants sublime pretense to make their conspiracy to violate plaintiff’s federal civil rights protections fit under the heading of immunity from ‘legislative activity’ failed,” Grigsby said.

Nickelson said that the “ordinances and resolutions referenced in the complaint were all legislative activities.”

The district court’s ruling should be overturned, Grigsby said, because the facts cited in the ruling didn’t follow the allegations he made in his complaint.

District Chief Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. granted Shreveport’s motion to dismiss Grigsby’s suit after agreeing with the city’s argument that the city officials were immune from allegations in the suit.

The judge also dismissed Grigsby’s counts of fraud, unfair trade practices, defamation, and malicious prosecution, saying they were filed outside a one-year limit to bring such claims.

Grigsby filed the federal suit against the Shreveport City Council in July 2014.

Grigsby’s federal complaint was filed after Shreveport filed a suit in the First Judicial District Court in Caddo Parish in February 2014 attempting to claw back $53,450 in bond issuance fees the city alleged that Grigsby was overpaid.

The long-running legal dispute between the city and Grigsby began after Grigsby was paid a total of $166,887 for financial advisory work on the sale of $81.5 million of general obligation bonds in 2011. The fees were also approved by the State Bond Commission.

The City Council later conducted an investigation and alleged that Grigsby was overpaid, passing ordinances to reverse a portion of the approved payment.

Grigsby has placed the disputed amount in escrow.

The appellate court has not determined if oral arguments will be held in Grigsby’s appeal. The case number is 18-30327.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Lawsuits General obligation bonds Public finance Municipal advisors Louisiana