JAMIE MERCER, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF HER DECEASED DAUGHTER, ANNA CELESTE LOWE Plaintiff-Appellee
WESLEY LOWE, CATHERINE "CAT" LOWE, STATE OF LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES (FORMERLY LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES), TAMEIKA MONDAY, LARRY C. DEAN, BOSSIER PARISH SHERIFF, BUDDY CALDWELL, ATTORNEY GENERAL AND LOUISIANA OFFICE OF RISK MANAGMENT Defendants-Appellants
from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish
of Bossier, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 137907 Honorable
Edward Charles Jacobs, Judge
HUDSON, POTTS & BERNSTEIN Counsel for Defendants-By: Jay
P. Adams Appellants, State of Sara G. White Louisiana DCFS,
and Tameika Monday
GREGORIO, CHAFIN & JOHNSON By: Scott J. Chafin, Jr.
NICKELSON LAW By: John C. Nickelson Counsel for Plaintiff-
Appellee, Jamie Mercer, individually, and on behalf of her
deceased daughter, Anna Celeste Lowe
LANGLEY, PARKS, HORTON & MAXWELL By: Glen Louis Langley
COLVIN, SMITH & MCKAY By: Jennifer Pool McKay Counsel for
Defendants- Appellees, Larry Dean, Sheriff, and Debra McKay
LOWE Defendant-Appellee, In Proper Person
CATHERINE LOWE Defendant-Appellee, In Proper Person
LOLLEY, PITMAN, and GARRETT, JJ.
appeal arises from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court,
Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana, which granted summary
judgment in favor of the Bossier Parish Sherriff's Office
and Detective Debra McKay, finding that discretionary
immunity provided by La. R.S. 9:2798.1 applied under these
circumstances. The State of Louisiana through the Department
of Children and Family Services now appeals that judgment.
For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the
matter stems from the tragic death of five-year-old Anna
Celeste Lowe, born June 13, 2005, to biological father,
Wesley Lowe, and biological mother, Jamie Mercer. At the end
of 2010, Anna was living in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, with
Wesley and her stepmother, Catherine Lowe, due to a pending
investigation in Ouachita Parish against Jamie for the
alleged physical and sexual abuse of Anna.
September 24, 2010, Wesley took Anna to a doctor for a bruise
on her forehead. Wesley informed the doctor that Jamie
punched Anna in the head, and also reported suspected sexual
abuse. Subsequently, Anna was evaluated at the Center for
Children and Families in Monroe, Louisiana. On September 29,
Wesley filed in Bossier Parish District Court for a
protective order against Jamie on Anna's behalf.
According to the protective order, Jamie was allowed only
supervised visits with Anna while the investigation was
ongoing. The last visit Jamie had with Anna was on October
30, 2010, at the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport.
December 9, 2010, a teacher at Elm Grove Elementary School in
Bossier Parish reported suspected physical abuse of Anna to
the Bossier Parish Sherriff's Office ("BPSO").
Specifically, the teacher reported a bruise on Anna's
neck, which Anna claimed had been caused by her mother. An
investigation was opened and assigned to Bossier Parish
Detective Debra McKay, who contacted Wesley to inquire about
Anna's bruise. Detective McKay had knowledge of the
pending investigation in Ouachita Parish involving Jamie.
After learning from Wesley that Anna had not returned to
Jamie's custody since October 2010, Det. McKay closed the
investigation in Bossier Parish concerning the December 2010
bruise on Anna's neck.
month later, on January 13, 2011, at around 9:30 in the
morning, Anna was brought to the Willis-Knighton Pierremont
Emergency Room in Shreveport where she was pronounced dead.
At the time, Wesley and Catherine claimed that Anna had a
stomach virus, but the coroner's report revealed
Anna's stomach was severed from her intestines-the
recorded cause of death was internal injuries and bleeding
due to blunt force trauma. Subsequently, it was learned that
Catherine was physically abusing Anna. Catherine was indicted