United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
DEBORAH A. SHEPHERD
PATRICK FANNING, ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Patrick Fanning's motion to dismiss pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the motion is
factual summary is set forth in the light most favorable to
Ms. Shepherd. This civil rights lawsuit arises from an
Illinois resident's allegedly wrongful arrest based on a
warrant issued after a New Orleans resident complained to the
New Orleans Police Department that the Illinois resident
conspired with an American living in Mexico to extort and
defraud funds from his New Orleans account relative to a
condominium he owns in Cozumel, Mexico.
Shepherd is a resident of Cook County, Illinois. She owns a
condominium in Cozumel, Mexico. Patrick Fanning is a resident
of New Orleans, Louisiana, who owns a condo in the same
complex in Cozumel.
January 11, 2011, Mr. Fanning made a criminal complaint to
Lieutenant Anthony J. Caprera of the New Orleans Police
Department. Mr. Fanning reported that one Frank DelCorno, an
American citizen residing in Mexico, and Ms. Shepherd had
conspired to extort and steal money from Mr. Fanning. It is
alleged that Mr. Fanning knew that his allegations against
Ms. Shepherd were false. All of Ms. Shepherd's actions
relative to Mr. Fanning, she alleges: occurred in Cozumel,
Mexico; were consistent with Mexican law; and were taken as a
result of Mr. Fanning's failure to comply with Mexican
law with regard to the ownership of his condo.
on Mr. Fanning's complaint, Lt. Caprera submitted a
police incident report to Sergeant Crespo and also prepared
an arrest warrant application for Ms. Shepherd. Ms. Shepherd
alleges that this was part of a conspiracy. Sergeant Crespo
reviewed and approved Caprera's report, even though he
allegedly knew that Louisiana had no jurisdiction over
conduct that took place in Mexico. Lt. Caprera's
affidavit in support of his warrant application states:
On Monday, January 10, 2011, Detective Caprera met with
Patrick Fanning, a resident of Orleans Parish . . . who
provided the following information.
Fanning is the owner of a condominium located in Cozumel,
Mexico. The registered address for the ownership of that
property is Fanning's residence, located at 920 Emerald
Street in New Orleans. The seller of the property is a
company named Incontext, which is controlled by Frank
DelCorno, an American citizen living in Cozumel. Although
Fanning has paid in full for the condominium DelCorno has
failed to provide title to the property as required in the
sales agreement. Fanning now holds trust documents with a
Mexican bank, as required by Mexican law, but is unable to
register those documents in the public record because of the
actions of DelComo and Deborah Shepherd.
Deborah Shepherd, an American citizen residing in Orland
Hills, Illinois, is a close associate of DelCorno and was for
many years the treasurer of the condominium owners'
association. Shepherd was installed in that position by
DelCorno shortly after the association was originally formed.
In that capacity she reviewed Fanning's trust documents
to confirm that he was the actual owner of the condominium.
Those documents show the registered address of the
condominium to be in New Orleans.
Shepherd knows well that Fanning owns the condo in question
and that he paid all costs of ownership from his bank account
in New Orleans since he has no Mexican bank account or any
source of funds in Mexico. In fact, Shepherd sent numerous
bills for owners fees and notices for owners meetings to
Fanning's New Orleans address.
DelCorno and Shepherd entered into a scheme to extort and
defraud Fanning. Shepherd filed a false claim against
Incontext and DelCorno claiming that she worked as an
employee of Incontext and DelCorno and that she was owed
approximately $100, 000.00 U.S. dollars for unpaid wages
earned in Mexico while working for DelCorno and Incontext.
Shepherd never earned any such wages and was not entitled to
any such compensation. In fact, she was not present in Mexico
for most of the time period in question. DelCorno did not
dispute this obviously fraudulent claim and in fact assisted
Shepherd in preparing said claim. DelCorno and Incontext then
allowed Shepherd to obtain a lien against several properties,
including Fanning's condominium, which are still
registered in the public record as properties owned by
Shepherd demanded payment of the wages in the amount of $100,
000.00 which she never earned or, if that amount is not paid,
she demanded that Fanning's condo be seized and sold at
auction to satisfy the bogus indebtedness. At the time that
she made that demand, and continuing today, she knew full
well that Fanning resides in New Orleans and would be forced
to send funds from his New Orleans bank account to prevent
his condo, which is valued at approximately $400, 000, from
being sold at auction. Any amount received at auction in
excess of her claim would then be given to DelCorno as the
registered owner of the property.
On December 3, 2010, Fanning received a telephone call at his
home in New Orleans informing him that Shepherd had a lien on
his property and that his condominium was subject to seizure