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Melancon v. Town of Sorrento

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

January 29, 2015



JOHN W. deGRAVELLES, District Judge.

Before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss Cross Claim of Catherine Gil Filed on Behalf of the Town of Sorrento and Earl Theriot, Jr. (Doc. 9). The movers allege that Gil's claim does not arise out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the original action or of a counterclaim, or, in the alternative, that Gil's claim should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Doc. 9). No opposition to this motion has been filed.

Considering the facts plead by the parties and the law, the Court grants the Town of Sorrento and Earl Theriot, Jr.'s Motion in part, and severs the claims of Catherine Gil. In all other respects, movers' motion is denied.

I. Background

A. Plaintiffs' Claim

Plaintiffs, Joseph Keith Melancon and Mary Blum Melancon, filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and, additionally, under the laws of the State of Louisiana, La. Civ. Code arts. 2315, 2316, 2317, and 2320, against Defendants Town of Sorrento ("Sorrento"), Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot, Jr. ("Theriot"), and Sorrento Police Officer Catherine R. "Cathy" Gil ("Gil"). (Doc. 1, p. 1). Plaintiffs allege that Joseph Melancon was harassed, intimidated, threatened, stalked, falsely arrested, falsely detained, and ultimately falsely charged with an alleged violation of Town of Sorrento Zoning Ordinance Section 3.3. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Plaintiffs allege that Mary Melancon was also harassed, intimidated, threatened, stalked, and made subject of intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Doc. 1, p. 2).

Plaintiffs allege that on or about November 28, 2012, Theriot fabricated an anonymous zoning complaint against Plaintiffs. (Doc 1, p. 7). Plaintiffs allege that Gil traveled to Plaintiff's home, at Defendant Theriot's direction, to investigate the alleged zoning violation, but was refused entry because she did not have a warrant, among other reasons. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiffs allege that after refusing Gil entry to their property, they informed Gil that Theriot was not welcome on their property. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiffs allege that Gil informed Theriot he was not welcome on Plaintiffs' property. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiffs allege that Theriot drove to their house and, even though Gil informed again him in person that he was not welcome, he walked up their driveway to where Joseph Melancon was standing. (Doc. 1, p. 9).

Plaintiffs allege that Theriot threatened them and that he told them that they didn't have any rights and that he would search the home regardless of their expressed desire that he not come onto the property. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiffs allege that Theriot ultimately left and ordered Gil to issue a citation to Mr. Melancon. (Doc. 1, p. 12). Plaintiffs allege that Gil issued the citation, returned to the police station to fill out a report, and that, several days, later Gil's report was significantly and materially altered. (Doc. 1, p. 12-13).

Defendants deny these allegations. ( See Doc. 2).

B. Gil's Crossclaim

Defendant Gil filed a crossclaim against Theriot, Sorrento, and named Mayor Michael Lambert ("Lambert") as a third party defendant pursuant to Rule 14(a). (Doc. 10). Crossclaim Plaintiff Gil alleges that she was wrongfully terminated in December 2013. (Doc. 10, p. 16). Additionally, Gil alleges that Crossclaim Defendants violated her substantive due process rights, her due process rights, her rights of equal protection because she was discriminated against based on her sex, her First Amendment rights, and she alleges a number of state law claims.[1] (Doc. 10). Gil's complaint talks at length in regards to her job responsibilities and numerous events that occurred during her employment at the Sorrento Police Department, both before and after the incident in Plaintiffs' complaint. (Doc. 10). The events include, but are not limited to: numerous alleged incidents of harassment and discrimination, a confidential settlement she received, an alleged breach of that settlement by Lambert, changes to her duty schedule, and injuries she received while on and off duty. (Doc. 10). As it related to Plaintiffs' claims, Gil alleges that "[a]fter the incident complained of by Plaintiffs, [she] was subjected to a concerted and coordinated arbitrary, unlawful sexual and employment discrimination." (Doc. 10, p. 22, ¶ 31).

Gil alleges that, following the incident in Plaintiffs' complaint, Lambert obtained a complete copy of the confidential settlement file and that Lambert provided the file to a local newspaper, which subsequently published an article with details of the settlement. (Doc. 10, p. 22-23). Gil alleges after the article was published, she received a punitive duty rotation that alternated days and nights, which allegedly was significantly different than her former schedule. (Doc. 10, p. 24). Gil alleges that following this new schedule, she was shunned within the Department and that Theriot ordered she was no longer to receive any backup on calls to which she responded. (Doc. 10, p. 24-25).

Gil alleges that in August 2013, Sorrento's insurer requested a statement from Gil regarding Plaintiffs' incident. (Doc. 10, p. 25). Gil alleges she provided a written statement to Plaintiffs' counsel, and Theriot informed her Lambert wasn't satisfied with that statement. (Doc. 10, p. 25). Gil alleges her private counsel sent a facsimile to Theriot and Lambert informing them that the confidentiality of the prior settlement had been breached. (Doc. 10, p. 25). Gil alleged that after receipt of the facsimile, Lambert told Theriot to order Gil to provide a statement without her attorney and, if she would not comply, he should fire her. (Doc. 10, p. 25).

Gil alleges that in September 2013, she was significantly injured while she was on duty when attempting to subdue an out of control individual. (Doc. 10, p. 26). Gil alleges she received serious back injuries and that she may not have been as seriously injured if she had received backup. (Doc. 10, p. 26). Gil alleges she was entitled to medical and other benefits, that Sorrento and the police department ...

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