United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is State Farm's Motion for Entry of Order
Permitting Deposition of East Baton Rouge Assistant District
Attorney. (R. Doc. 46). Plaintiff filed a Response. (R. Doc.
48). State Farm has filed a Reply. (R. Doc. 56). The Court
conducted a hearing on the motion on July 12, 2017.
PRESENT: Kearney S. Loughlin Counsel for plaintiff
Lesli D. Harris Counsel for defendants, State Farm Fire and
Casualty Company, State Farm Life Insurance Company and State
Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
Allison Rutzen Counsel for Assistant District Attorney
Lee J. Ledet Counsel for defendant, Detective Patti Freeman
Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux
Mary K. Cryar Counsel for defendant, Columbia Casualty
Laird (“Plaintiff”) initiated this action in
state court, alleging that she was maliciously prosecuted for
the crimes of second degree battery, false imprisonment,
crimes of violence against a victim 65 years old or older,
cruelty to the infirmed, exploitation of the infirmed, and
unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. (R. Doc. 1-1). Plaintiff
sought and was granted expungement of the state court
criminal record after the charges were dismissed.
Farm removed the action to this Court on October 20, 2016.
(R. Doc. 1).
March 20, 2017, Plaintiff executed an “Authorization
and Release for Expunged Records Pursuant to Louisiana Code
of Criminal Procedure Article 973(A)(3).” (R. Doc.
56-1). State Farm is now seeking to depose Melanie Fields,
the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the underlying
criminal case, regarding the facts and circumstances of the
prosecution, including why it was dismissed. The East Baton
Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office informed State
Farm that before it would agree to release Ms. Fields for a
deposition to discuss the underlying criminal case, which is
subject to expungement, it would require an Order from the
Court authorizing the deposition pursuant to Louisiana Code
of Criminal Procedure Article 973(A)(2).
Code of Criminal Procedure Article 973 provides, in relevant
part, the following:
A. An expunged record of arrest or conviction shall be
confidential and no longer considered to be a public record
and shall not be made available to any person or other entity
except for the following:
(1) To a member of a law enforcement or criminal justice
agency or prosecutor who shall request that information in
writing, certifying that the request is for the purpose of
investigating, prosecuting, or enforcing criminal law, for
the purpose of any other statutorily defined law enforcement
or administrative duties, or for the purposes of the
requirements of sex offender registration and notification
pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 15:540 et seq.
(2) On order of a court of competent jurisdiction and after a
contradictory hearing ...