MARTIN E. REGAN, JR.
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, JAMES DAVID CALDWELL, JR., AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES D. "BUDDY" CALDWELL, AND THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF LOUISIANA
Appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for
the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana No. 642,
096 Honorable Timothy E. Kelley, Judge Presiding
E. Regan, Jr. New Orleans, Louisiana Plaintiff/Appellant In
Christen Denicholas New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellant Martin E. Regan, Jr.
Wade Shows Grant J. Guillot Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel
for Defendant/Appellee Attorney General James D.
"Buddy" Caldwell and the Office of the Attorney
General, State of Louisiana
Timothy S. Madden John A. Cangelosi New Orleans, Louisiana
Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Attorney General James
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUI DRY, AND McCLENDON, JJ.
E. Regan, Jr., filed the underlying suit for defamation,
alleging that an assistant attorney general made false and
defamatory statements about Regan to a newspaper. The
defendants in the defamation action, the state's attorney
general, the office of the attorney general, and the
assistant attorney general who made the statements, filed
Special Motions to Strike as authorized by LSA-C.C.P. art.
971. The trial court granted the defendants' motions and
dismissed Regan's claims. Regan has appealed. For the
following reasons, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
underlying facts giving rise to this litigation relate to
multiple criminal indictments issued to St. Bernard Parish
President David Peralta. Plaintiff, Martin E. Regan, Jr., is
one of Peralta's attorneys.
6, 2015, an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury issued a
six-count indictment against Mr. Peralta, charging him with
three counts of perjury and three counts of filing false
public records. This indictment was based on allegations that
Mr. Peralta withdrew money from campaign donations and used
the funds to gamble at various casinos. The East Baton
Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office requested the
assistance of the Office of the Attorney General in its
prosecution of Mr. Peralta, and Assistant Attorneys General
David Caldwell, Jr., and Molly Lancaster were present at the
May 6, 2015, indictment proceeding in Baton
subsequent article published by the New Orleans Advocate on
May 21, 2015, the newspaper indicated that Mr. Peralta's
attorney, Regan, had sought to have Mr. Peralta's charges
dismissed, alleging that Mr. Peralta's civil rights had
been violated by the Attorney General's office in
prosecuting the case. Specifically, Regan indicated that Mr.
Peralta had not been allowed to finish his testimony in the
grand jury proceeding and that Mr. Peralta was denied certain
pertinent documents during his grand jury testimony.
response to Regan's allegations in the newspaper,
Assistant Attorney General Caldwell told the paper that
"Regan's latest claims [were] 'a complete waste
of time.'" The article, based largely upon
statements made by Caldwell, also provided:
Caldwell said Regan deliberately caused a scene outside the
grand jury room, growing agitated and cursing loudly at him
and Assistant Attorney General Molly Lancaster about the
documents. Peralta contends the documents would explain
discrepancies on his campaign spending reports, but they were
seized - along with his computer - during a raid last summer
by the Attorney General's Office.
Regan "was threatening my female assistant, and then I
came out to see what was going on, and he threatened me and
he told me to step outside, " Caldwell said. "At
that point, we have to shut it down. That was intentional on
Caldwell said Regan was "dropping F-bombs" on
Lancaster, likely close enough to the grand jury that its
members could hear him. Regan "just blew his top, "
"He was pretty hot, " Caldwell added. "I'm
bigger than him, and I'm younger than him, but he was
hot, and if I had gotten close to him, he might've taken
a swing at me."
response published in the same article, Regan called Caldwell
a "liar, " maintaining that he "didn't
lose his cool and ...