Louisiana Bar Association Wins Attorney Dues Challenge

The Louisiana State Bar Association convinced a federal court in Louisiana to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an attorney alleging that his requirement to pay dues was unconstitutional.

Attorney Randy Boudreaux filed the original lawsuit in 2019, alleging that the state bar requirements violate his First and 14th Amendment rights. In 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana dismissed the case, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit quashed and remanded to the lower court.

Judge Lance M. Africk denied Boudreaux’s first request, arguing that the required membership in the group violates his constitutional rights even if the LSBA only engages in relevant activities, as prohibited by the recent fifth precedent circuit.

Africk further argued that many of the activities specifically challenged in this case, including several LSBA tweets promoting physical and mental well-being, are relevant to improving the quality of legal services in Louisiana. The court found that Boudreaux’s disagreement with the wellness tweets did not mean they were irrelevant.

Even tweets that border on un-German did not constitute such “major activity” as could be a constitutional violation, according to the appeals court’s ruling on Monday.

SBA Chairman Stephen I. Dwyer said he was “pleased that Judge Africk dismissed this lawsuit.”

“The Court affirmed that the activities, expenditures and procedures of the LSBA conform to existing constitutional standards,” Dwyer wrote in a public statement Monday. “We respect the judge’s adherence to precedent. The LSBA will continue to serve its members and the public by regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services.

Boudreaux is represented by Dane S. Ciolino LLC et al.

The case is Boudreaux v. Louisiana State Bar Ass’n, ED La., No. 2:19-cv-11962, 8/8/22.

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