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Jackson v. Patterson

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 28, 2018

MONICA JACKSON
v.
LT. CLINT PATTERSON, ET AL.

         SECTION: "S"(1)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion to Dismiss filed on Behalf of Joel T. Chaisson II in his Official Capacity as District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana, Kim K. McElwee, Former Assistant District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana, and Harry J., Morel, Jr., Former District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana (Doc. #21) is GRANTED, and plaintiff's claims against them are DISMISSED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint filed on Behalf of Joel T. Chaisson II in his Official Capacity as District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana, Kim K. McElwee, Former Assistant District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana, and Harry J., Morel, Jr., Former District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana (Doc. #39) is GRANTED, and plaintiff's claims against them are DISMISSED.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the court on a motion to dismiss the complaint and a motion to dismiss the amended complaint filed by defendants: Joel T. Chaisson II, in his Official Capacity as District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana; Kim K. McElwee, former Assistant District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana; and, Harry J., Morel, Jr., former District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana. Defendants argue that Chaisson and McElwee are entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity as to plaintiff's claims arising out of her prosecution. The defendants also argue that plaintiff failed to properly state defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against them.

         On June 29, 2017, plaintiff, Monica Jackson, [2] filed this suit against defendants, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office; Sheriff Greg Champagne, in his official capacity; Lieutenant Clint M. Patterson; the St. Charles Parish District Attorney's Office; former District Attorney Harry J. Morel, in his official capacity; and former Assistant District Attorney Kim K. McElwee. Jackson alleges claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for deprivation of civil rights and claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress under Louisiana Civil Code article 2315. Jackson contends that she is being “targeted” by the defendants because she testified before a grand jury for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) against Morel. Jackson is African American and all the defendants are Caucasian.

         Jackson's allegations concern her arrest by Patterson in 2014 for obstruction of justice. She maintains that she was prosecuted by former assistant district attorney McElwee solely because she had gone to Morel and filed a complaint against McElwee. Jackson alleges she was also being retaliated against for telling detectives of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office that Morel had asked her for sexual favors, which she claims lead to an FBI investigation of Morel.[3] Jackson alleges that after being released from jail she began receiving threatening phone calls stating that she should “leave Harry alone, ” and that a dead bird was left on her window. Jackson claims that only Patterson and other members of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office knew about her involvement with the Morel case.

         Jackson also complains about a statement that Patterson took from Kizzy Kensey. Apparently Kensey told Patterson that she had been raped in Jackson's tax office in 2010, but Jackson asserts that she did not open the office until 2011 and did not meet Kensey until 2012. Jackson contends that McElwee sought to use the Kinsey statement against her in court.

         Jackson also alleges that when she sought to obtain a background report from the Louisiana State Police at the request of her employer in 2016, there were “inconsistencies” reporting an arrest for rape, while her report from St. Charles Parish did not contain such a charge. Jackson states that when she sought to have the discrepancy corrected with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, she was told that Patterson had advised that the rape charge was accurate and should not be removed. Jackson was referred to Patterson's supervisor, and it appears that the issue was resolved.

         Jackson further alleges that when her son Joshua Every was arrested in 2016, Jackson's mugshot and charges appeared on NOLA.com even though her case was closed and sealed. Jackson attributes the posting to Patterson and states the posting claimed that she was “probably the getaway driver” and the she was “receiving grant money to house inmates.” The posting also allegedly stated that Jackson “drives a $65, 000 car.” Ms. Jackson notes that Patterson interviewed her son in December 2013 and thus knows the relationship between the two of them. Jackson alleges that Patterson is responsible for the postings on NOLA.com, and that the postings stopped when she reported them to the FBI. Jackson alleges that these postings are defamatory.

         Champagne and Patterson filed an Answer. Chaisson, McElwee, and Morel filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. Thereafter, Jackson moved for leave to amend her complaint. On January 5, 2018, the United States Magistrate Judge granted Jackson's Motion for Leave to Amend. In the First Amended Complaint, Jackson adds Chaisson, in his official capacity as District Attorney for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana, as a defendant, and removes both the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office for the 29th Judicial District, State of Louisiana (improperly named as the St. Charles Parish District Attorneys Office) as defendants. The allegations in the First Amended Complaint concern Jackson's defamation claims. Jackson alleges that the defendants gained information about her from their employment and used it to defame her by posting false statements on NOLA.com.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of ...


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