Strategy may prove critical in legal battle over Confederate monument outside courthouse

Strategy may prove critical in legal battle over Confederate monument outside courthouse
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A new legal battle is underway over the future of the Confederate monument on the north side of the Caddo Courthouse grounds.

It didn't take long after Caddo commissioners' vote Thursday night for a federal lawsuit to be filed over their decision to remove the monument in downtown Shreveport.

In such a legal case, we're told strategy can make all the difference.

In sports, we often hear about the value of home field advantage.

And in the case of Confederate monument lawsuits, the venue can make all the difference in the legal battle between the Caddo Commission and the Shreveport chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Before commissioners' vote Thursday night, both groups were on equal footing in a lawsuit that retired attorney John Settle filed in Caddo District Court.

His petition asks the court to determine who owns the land on which the Confederate monument has stood for 111 years.

But now, the United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter has filed suit in U.S. District Court.

And federal court supersedes district court.

Also, the group's federal petition states as fact that it owns the property under the monument.

The group's lawsuit also asks the court to block "their" monument from being moved off "their" property.

Settle said that means the burden now falls on the Caddo Commission, not the United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter,  to prove it owns the land.

"My lawsuit would have had them on equal standing as to who owns what, they'd have to prove this way.

"Now they're in federal court. And now the parish has got to disprove ownership by the UDC. And that's a big deal in court."

The United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter's lawsuit is the latest salvo in what is expected to be an expensive legal battle that could take years to resolve.

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