Arlington, Va.—Today (August 1, 2006), the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed as moot a lawsuit brought by the Institute for Justice on behalf of would-be florists in Louisiana against the Louisiana Horticulture Commission. The court cited disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina, which made the plaintiffs in the lawsuit Meadows v. Odom unable to proceed. (One of the Institute for Justice’s original clients passed away during the course of the litigation while the others have been forced to move out of the state or pursue other occupations in the wake of Katrina.)
When a case is moot, it means there is no longer a viable case to be pursued. In this case, none of the women who filed suit can still pursue flowing arranging in Louisiana. The court vacated the trial court’s decision that had upheld the law and remanded the case to the trial court to dismiss.
Louisiana remains the only State in the nation that demands that florists secure a government-imposed license to practice their craft. Existing florists get to grade the test that their potential competitors must pass to secure that license. The test is so subjective and arbitrary that nearly two-thirds fail, including applicants with decades of experience. Even the State’s own expert witness hired to help defend the law in court described the test as not “fundamentally fair” to applicants.
The Institute for Justice is now considering whether to file another similar legal challenge with new clients, but has not yet reached a decision.