Shreveport, La. - A class action lawsuit alleging the City of Shreveport has been over-billing residents for water and sewer services for at least 10 years was filed in Caddo District Court late Wednesday.
Plaintiffs in the suit are Scott Pernici, who is involved in three other lawsuits involving water billing against the City, Shreveport residents Michael Jones and Mark Defatta, along with "a class of similarly situated persons," meaning all of the 65,000 subscribers to Shreveport water and sewer services, who, the lawsuit claims have been over billed on both water and sewer bills for at least a decade.
The suit says although a city ordinance clearly defines how residential water bills are to be calculated, the City did not follow those guidelines, thus overcharging residents for years.
It further claims that in a deposition related to the first lawsuit on Feb. 10, 2017 Tyler testified under oath that the water and sewer bills of the City of Shreveport are consistently inaccurate.
The lawsuit asks for an injunction forbidding the City to turn off water of residents for non payment of bills, asks that the city recalculate the amount billed using the formula specifically detailed in a city ordinance, calculate how much customers have overpaid for water and sewer over the past 10 years and make restitution, and pay lawyer fees and court costs involved in bringing the suit.
Pernici, who along with attorney Michael Wainwright already has two pending lawsuits against the City - the first, filed in October 2016, is in regard to the a breach of a non-disclosure document signed by the City Attorney involving water billing errors and their resolution; and the second a defamation of character lawsuit filed after Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler and Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford accused Pernici and Wainwright of blackmail and extortion throughout the local media in response to the first lawsuit.
A fourth lawsuit related to the issues of water billing, was filed individually by Wainwright in November. It regarded the difficulty Wainwright has encountered in trying to obtain public records regarding the water department.