BOARD OF ETHICS IN THE MATTER OF JORDAN MONSOUR AND WALTER MONSOUR
OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL, FIRST CIRCUIT,
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
case, we are called upon to decide whether certain provisions
of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure apply to a motion
for summary judgment filed in administrative proceedings
before the Ethics Adjudicatory Board. For the reasons that
follow, we conclude the evidence produced in connection with
motions for summary judgment in these administrative
proceedings must conform to the same requirements applicable
to civil proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Board of Ethics ("Board") filed formal charges
against respondents, Walter Monsour and Jordan Monsour.
Respondents filed separate motions for summary judgment with
the Ethics Adjudicatory Board ("EAB"), seeking
dismissal of the charges and attaching exhibits in support of
their motions for summary judgment. The Board opposed the
motions and attached exhibits in support of its opposition.
filed a reply memorandum. In support, they argued the
exhibits attached to the Board's opposition did not
constitute competent evidence because they were unsworn,
unverified, and not self-proving.
denied respondents' objections to the Board's
exhibits and admitted them into evidence. At the end of the
hearing, the EAB took the motion for summary judgment under
sought supervisory review from the ruling admitting the
exhibits into evidence. The court of appeal found the EAB
erred in admitting the Board's exhibits, because these
exhibits did not meet the requirements of La. Code Civ. P.
arts. 966 and 967. Accordingly, the court reversed the
EAB's ruling and remanded for further proceedings. Two
judges dissented in part, and would have allowed the Board,
on remand, to submit competent evidence prior to a ruling on
the motion for summary judgment. Board of Ethics in the
Matter of Jordan Mansour and Walter Mansour, 16-1159
(La.App. 1st Cir. 6/21/17).
application of the Board, we granted certiorari to consider
the correctness of this ruling. Board of Ethics in the
Matter of Jordan Mansour and Walter Mansour, 12-1274
(La. 12/5/17), ___ So.3d ___ .
to La. R.S. 42:1143, all proceedings before the EAB
"shall be subject to and in accordance with the
Administrative Procedure Act." The Board argues we
should apply the provisions of La. R.S. 49:956(1) of the
Administrative Procedures Act, which provides:
In adjudication proceedings:
(1) Agencies may admit and give probative effect to evidence
which possesses probative value commonly accepted by
reasonably prudent men in the conduct of their affairs. They
shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by
law. Agencies may exclude incompetent, irrelevant,
immaterial, and unduly repetitious evidence.
Objections to evidentiary offers may be made and shall be
noted in the record. Subject to these requirements, when a
hearing will be expedited and the interests of the parties
will not be prejudiced substantially, any part of the
evidence may be received in written form. [emphasis added].
Board asserts that because this statute is phrased in
permissive terms, the EAB may exclude incompetent evidence
but is not required to do so. Thus, it contends the decision
to consider evidence which would otherwise be incompetent