ROY F. DUSSOUY, JR.
LISANNE ALACK DUSSOUY
FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH
NO. 2014-07612, DIVISION "B" Honorable Regina H.
M. Prados LOWE, STEIN, HOFFMAN ALLWEISS & HAUVER, L.L.P.
COUNSEL FOR RELATOR.
Elizabeth J. Wilson MIDDLEBERG RIDDLE GROUP COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Madeleine M.
Landrieu, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Rosemary Ledet,
and Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins).
CABRINA JENKINS JUDGE.
Lisanne Alack Dussouy seeks review of the trial court's
December 2, 2016 judgment granting plaintiff Roy F. Dussouy,
Jr.'s Motion to Recuse Judge Bernadette D'Souza. For
the reasons that follow, we grant the writ application and
reverse the trial court's judgment.
and Procedural Background
D'Souza has handled this contentious domestic matter
since August 2014. Following a status conference in September
2016, counsel for Mr. Dussouy learned that Judge
D'Souza's law clerk, Sara Guruswamy, had previously
accepted employment with Winsberg & Arnold, the law firm
representing Ms. Dussouy. On November 28, 2016, Mr. Dussouy
filed a Motion to Recuse Judge D'Souza under La. C.C.P.
art. 151(A)(4) and La. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.12. In
the Motion to Recuse, Mr. Dussouy described the
"prohibited conduct" as Judge D'Souza's
"interest and/or bias" toward Ms. Dussouy's law
firm, and an unspecified party's failure to give him
written notice of opposing counsel's relationship to
Judge D'Souza so that he would have the opportunity to
give his informed consent. According to Mr. Dussouy, because
recusal "promote[s] confidence in the judiciary by
avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, " recusal
was required because the prohibited conduct created a
"strong appearance of partiality."
recusal matter was heard before Judge Regina Bartholomew
Woods on December 2, 2016. After hearing testimony at the
recusal hearing, Judge Woods stated: "So while it
disturbs me greatly to do this, I find that while there is no
actual bias, no actual impropriety, to avoid the appearance
of impropriety I have no choice but to recuse Judge
D'Souza from this matter."
December 2, 2016, Judge Woods signed a judgment granting Mr.
Dussouy's Motion to Recuse, and re-allotting the matter
to another domestic court division. On December 20, 2016, the
law firm of Winsberg & Arnold withdrew from representing
Ms. Dussouy in this matter.
support of his argument for recusal, Mr. Dussouy relies on
La. C.C.P. art. 151(1)(4), Canon 3(C) of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, and Rule of Professional Conduct 1.12.