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‘THE HAVEN PROPERTY OWNERS § vofki.no sAILED ASSOCIATION, INC. and BW PARTNERS, LLC, d/b/a BRIARWOOD APARTMENTS, JUN 18 2019 Individually and on behalf of a class of similarly Situated juridical persons cern ciate, or VERSUS § 1S* JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT CITY OF SHREVEPORT § CADDO PARISH, LOUISIANA MOTION TO PERMIT THE CITY OF SHREVEPORT TO CONTINUE TO ISSUE REFUNDS TO COMMERICAL SEWER CUSTOMERS ‘AND FOR EXPEDITED CONSIDERATION NOW INTO COURT, through undersigned counsel, comes Defendant, the City of Shreveport, who moves for an order amending the December 10, 2018, Order on Plaintiffs" “motion for protective order and/or preliminary injunction” to permit the City to continue to issue refunds to commercial customers as follows: 1 ‘The City of Shreveport has never suggested that refunds of state sales taxes withheld on sewer fees should not issue. Exhibit 1, September 11, 2018, news release regarding commencement of refunds (stating that refunds were owed and were being paid). Prior to Plaintiffs’ November 9, 2018, “motion for protective order and/or preliminary injunction,” the City of Shreveport began mailing refuund checks to customers, but that process stopped after Plaintiffs" counsel moved to stop the City from issuing further refunds. 2. Plaintiffs have not ever consented to the issuance of refunds or presented agreeable language to accompany refunds. Based upon recent comments of Plaintiffs” counsel, it appears this was strategic; issuance of refunds have been opposed so that Plaintiffs could falsely publicize that the City of Shreveport does not seek to issue refuunds and make it appear that this proceeding is secking to compel the City to issue refunds. 3. On June 11, 2019, the City of Shreveport set forth its position that this lawsuit did not benefit the class regarding sewer fees because they were not being paid as a result of this lawsuit, * and simply stipulated to this Court that there was no factual issue in dispute regarding whether refunds of state sales tax withheld on sewer fees were owed. See, e.g., Exhibit 1, October 11, 2018, news release. Despite that undisputed fact, that the City has been attempting to issue refunds but ‘was stopped by Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs’ counsel held a press conference immediately following that June 11,2019, proceeding and falsely stated that the City of Shreveport is preventing refunds from issuing. The City of Shreveport must pay millions of dollars back to commercial water customers. That decision came after a judge on Monday ruled in favor of a class action lawsuit. Jerry Harper, the lawyer who filed the class action suit, says the City owes commercial users about $2.3 million. That affects approximately 6,000 customers. Harper filed the suit against the City in May 2018 after realizing the City has been overcharging customers since 2015. So he wrote a letter to former Mayor Tyler and the city attorney. Harper explained the overcharges, told them to stop, inform customers and pay them back. Harper said he also offered the City help. City officials declined. So in August 2018 Harper filed the lawsuit. KTBS asked Harper on Tuesday if he believes the judge’s ruling will make a difference. “I see no sign of the City doing anything other than deny liability, delay, and try to inhibit tax payers from getting their money back that they’ve been overcharged for,” said Harper. Harper encourages customers to reach out to their council members. They should ask why the City is overcharging customers and why they aren't being paid back. Exhibit 2 (emphasis added). Plaintifiés also stated to another media outlet that, “Mayor Perkins is vigorously opposing the suits and any required repayment to customers of fees illegally charged.” Exhibit 3. Although descriptions of what occurred before this Court on June 11 are not correct, so is a denial that Plaintiffs stopped the refund process. 4 In light of the statements that the refund process was not delayed by Plaintiffs’ counsel but by the City of Shreveport, and that the City is attempting to “inhibit taxpayers from getting their money back” and “vigorously opposing ... required repayment to customers ...,” the City requests that a rule be set without further delay and as soon as convenient to the Court. 5. ‘The December 10, 2018, Order also states that the City must “provide at least (15) days written notice to counsel of record for Plaintiffs before dissemination of any communications — whether written or oral ~ or negotiable instruments to putative class members on matters that relate or pertain to the pending class action.” Exhibit 4, December 10, 2018, Order. The parties obviously intended this to address only communications to customers that were intended to cause them not to participate in this class action, which in addition to stopping refunds was the subject of the ' motion. The language should be amended to more clearly set forth what the restriction actually intended, communications addressing whether a customer should participate. 6. Defendant also requests that the refiunds include a communication as set forth in the correspondence attached hereto as Exhibit 5. Despite requests no alternative proposal has ever been received. 7. Under the circumstances, where Plaintiffs” counsel communicated via press conference that the City is delaying refunds, Court approval to issue refunds should not be delayed further by Plaintiffs’ counsel, and the City should have the ability to communicate regarding this matter ‘without limitation, other than communications seeking to cause customers not to participate in the subject proceeding. WHEREFORE, for the reasons set forth above, the City of Shreveport prays for an order permitting the City of Shreveport to issue refunds and to do so utilizing correspondence attached hereto as Exhibit 5, and for modification of the above referenced language in this Court’s December 10, 2018, Order so that it only applies to communications that seek to cause class ‘members not to participate. Respectfully submitted, PETTIETTE, ARMAND, DUNKELMAN, & CROMWELL, in H. Byrd, IT #19509 400 Texas Street, Suite 400 Shreveport, LA 71101 Ph. (318) 221-1800 Fax: (318) 226-0390 ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANT, CITY OF SHREVEPORT