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Ruggles v. Greco

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

April 7, 2015

CAROL E. RUGGLES
v.
LONNIE GRECO, SHERIFF, PLAQUEMINES PARISH

ORDER AND REASONS

KAREN WELLS ROBY, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc. 19) filed by Defendant, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Lonnie Greco ("Sheriff Greco"), seeking summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Greco seeks to dismiss Plaintiff, Carol Ruggles's ("Ruggles") sexual harassment claim pursuant to Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.[1] The motion is opposed. See R. Doc. 21. It was heard on the briefs on March 25, 2015.[2]

I. Background

This action arises out of the sexual relationship of a superior and a subordinate. Sheriff Greco of Plaquemines Parish had a sixteen month sexual relationship with Ruggles, a grant manager of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office ("PPSO"). Ruggles first met Sheriff Greco and his wife in 1986 when Ruggles began dating her husband, Keith Ruggles.[3] Sheriff Greco and Ruggles's husband were close friends and coworkers until Ruggles's husband passed away on October 27, 2011, at which point Sheriff Greco promised his friend that he would take care of his family.[4]

The following month, in November 2011, Sheriff Greco was elected Sheriff of Plaquemines Parish and was officially sworn into office on July 1, 2012.[5] Sheriff Greco promised his deceased friend that Ruggles would have a position at the PPSO under his leadership and Ruggles joined Sheriff Greco's transition team as a volunteer beginning in April 2012.[6] Around the same time, Sheriff Greco and Ruggles began their consensual sexual relationship. In April 2012, Sheriff Greco and Ruggles went to Florida on a motorcycle trip with four other individuals for nine days.[7] According to Ruggles, it was during the trip that she succumbed to Sheriff Greco's sexual advances, although she did not feel forced to have sex with him.[8]

Two months following the motorcycle trip to Florida, Ruggles became an official employee of the PPSO on June 27, 2012 when she was placed on the payroll as a grant manager, under the direct supervision of Chief Deputy Monica Nicosia ("Nicosia").[9] At the time Ruggles was officially hired, she was hired under the leadership of the interim sheriff, Mike Lafrance. A few days later, however, Sheriff Greco took office on July 1, 2012.

Sheriff Greco's and Ruggles's sexual relationship continued from April 2012 until August 25, 2013, which included her transition from a volunteer on his transition team to an employee under his leadership as sheriff. During the course of their relationship, the two sent sexually explicit text messages and videos to one another.[10] According to Ruggles, Sheriff Greco would sometimes "badger" her to make videos or meet him to have sex.[11] Nonetheless, there were reciprocal text messages expressing their love and lust for one another with each making sexual advances:

January 10, 2013:[12]
Sheriff Greco: Hey did you go buy yourself that elephant trunk to play with tonight. On my way back home from dinner with Mr. Ray I will call you to meet at your office if you want.
May 3, 2013:[13]
Ruggles: Show u what
Sheriff Greco: You said you were horny
Ruggles: I am. And I want u
Sheriff Greco: Fuck the shit out of your toy and video it
July 18, 2013:[14]
Ruggles: I want your tongue in my mouth
Sheriff Greco: We can make that happen. What else you want in your mouth
Ruggles: Whatever u want to put in it
July 27, 2013:[15]
Ruggles: So tired. Come get me
Sheriff Greco: K
Sheriff Greco: Why dont you go to sleep
Ruggles: NO. I want to be with u-/she'll never know.... please
July 31, 2013:[16]
Ruggles: Love u my king kong
Sheriff Greco: Love u 2
Ruggles: When can I see u
August 19, 2013:[17]
Ruggles: Getting in bath tub now... I'll think of you as I soap it up real good and slow
Sheriff Greco: Oh
Ruggles: Yea. And I miss u ...

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