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New Orleans Campaign for a Living Wage v. City of New Orleans

825 So. 2d 1098 (2002)

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New Orleans Campaign for a Living Wage v. City of New Orleans

Louisiana Supreme Court

825 So. 2d 1098 (2002)

Facts

The Louisiana legislature (the legislature) enacted La. Stat. Ann. § 23:642 (the statute), which prohibited municipalities from establishing a minimum-wage rate for private employers. In enacting the statute, the legislature was persuaded by the testimony of economist Dr. Tim Ryan. Ryan explained to the legislature that local variation in minimum-wage rates would lead to businesses relocating to areas with lower minimum wages. Ryan stated that such relocation would result in economic instability. The citizens of the city of New Orleans (the city) (defendant) voted to approve an ordinance that established a minimum-wage requirement. Under the ordinance, private employers in the city were required to pay their employees $1 above the prevailing federal minimum wage. The New Orleans Campaign for a Living Wage (the living-wage campaign) (plaintiff) instituted a declaratory-judgment proceeding against the city. The living-wage campaign sought a declaration that the ordinance was valid, as well as a declaration that the statute was unconstitutional. This suit was consolidated with a suit filed against the city by the Small Business Coalition to Save Jobs (small-business coalition) (plaintiff). The small-business coalition sought a declaration that the ordinance was invalid in light of the statute. At the trial before the district court, the living-wage campaign presented the testimony of two expert economists. The first testified that the city’s minimum-wage ordinance would not induce businesses to incur the costs of relocating. The second testified that the ordinance would lead to greater economic stability in the city. Based on this testimony, the district court found that the statute was unconstitutional and held that the ordinance was valid. The small-business coalition appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kimball, J.)

Concurrence (Weimer, J.)

Dissent (Johnson, J.)

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