Vermilion prevails in boundary dispute with Lafayette

[Editor's Note: This story has been updated at the end to include new information and a quote.]

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal Wednesday sided with Vermilion Parish in a dispute over a portion of its northern boundary line with Lafayette Parish. The Lafayette City-Parish Council in 2014 approved an ordinance ordering a redrawing of the boundary based on new information provided by Lafayette Councilman Don Bertrand. The two sides had agreed on the current boundary line in 2003.

The Vermilion Parish Police Jury resisted Lafayette’s 2014 demand that the boundary be moved, which would have slightly expanded the geographic footprint of Lafayette at the expense of Vermilion. Lafayette filed suit and District Judge John Trahan sided with Vermilion. Lafayette appealed to the 3rd Circuit, which found:

This court has reviewed all of the evidence presented at trial as well as the expert witness testimony. In doing so, we find no manifest error in the trial court’s conclusion that the Lafayette City-Parish failed to establish that the August 13, 2003 State Land Office boundary report was the product of gross error and resulted in the change of the boundary line between Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes rather than the ascertaining and fixing of the boundary. We find no merit in the Lafayette City-Parish’s assignments of error.

Bertrand says LCG will appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

“The courts to date are still ruling on [the 2003 deal] between the two parishes,” he says. “They have never ruled on Louisiana state law for determining a political boundary and the complete inadequacy of the Bernard survey presented to both parishes by Vermilion Parish. My hope is that the Supreme Court will look past ‘the deal’ and to state law and the best evidence presented from the time of the legislative act [in the 1830s] and the surveys by the General Land Office.”