COURTNEY S. TURNER
EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD AND WARREN DRAKE INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS FOR THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD
Appeal from the 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East
Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana Trial Court No. C661015 The
Honorable R. Michael Caldwell, Judge Presiding
F. Blackwell Charles L. Patin Jr. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Attorneys for Plaintiff/Appellant, Courtney S. Turner.
Shelton Dennis Blunt Kevin W. Welsh Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Attorneys for Defendants/Appellees, East Baton Rouge Parish
School Board and Warren Drake Individually and in his
official capacity as Superintendent of Schools for the East
Baton Rouge Parish School Board.
BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.
S. Turner appeals a judgment dismissing her petition for an
alternative writ of mandamus directing the East Baton Rouge
Parish School Board and Superintendent Warren Drake to issue
her a written contract and reinstate her as an assistant
principal. We affirm.
is a tenured teacher in the East Baton Rouge Parish school
system. For the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years, she
received no written contract from the School Board, but was
employed as the third assistant principal at Wedgewood
Elementary School. For the 2017-2018 school year, based on
budget cuts in anticipation of reduced enrollment and to
avoid eliminating teacher positions, Wedgewood's
principal chose not to fill the third assistant principal
position. Turner was reassigned as an administrative dean at
The Dufrocq School with no reduction in pay.
contends her reassignment was a demotion that violated
teacher tenure laws and filed a petition seeking an
alternative writ of mandamus directing the School Board to
issue her a contract for the position of assistant principal
for at least two years. The trial court found the assistant
principal position at Wedgewood was discontinued and
eliminated for good cause based upon budgetary constraints
and, therefore, the School Board was not required to give her
a new contract as an assistant principal. The trial court
denied the request for mandamus relief and dismissed
is a writ directing a public officer to perform a ministerial
duty required by law. La. Code Civ. Pro. arts. 3861 and 3863;
Jazz Casino Company, L.L.C. v. Bridges, 16-1663 (La.
5/3/17), 223 So.3d 488, 492. It is an extraordinary remedy
used sparingly to compel something clearly required by law
where there is no relief by ordinary means or where delay in
obtaining ordinary relief may cause injustice. See
La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 3862; City of Hammond v. Parish
of Tangipahoa, 07-0574 (La.App. 1 Cir.
3/26/08), 985 So.2d 171, 181. A ministerial duty is a simple,
definite duty, arising under conditions admitted or proved to
exist, and imposed by law, which leaves no element of
discretion to the public officer. Hoag v. State,
04-0857 (La. 12/1/04), 889 So.2d 1019, 1024. If a public
officer is vested with any element of discretion, mandamus
will not lie. Jazz Casino Company, 223 So.3d at 492.
seeks mandamus relief compelling the School Board to issue
her a contract for the position of assistant principal,
relying on Louisiana Revised Statute 17.444B(4)(c)(iv), which
The board shall negotiate and offer a new contract at the
expiration of each existing contract unless the
superintendent recommends against a new contract based on an
evaluation of the contractee as provided for in R.S.
17:391.5, or unless failure to offer a new contract is based
on a cause sufficient to support a mid-contract termination
as provided in Item (iii) of this Subparagraph, or unless the
position has been discontinued, or unless the position has
been eliminated as a result of district reorganization,
provided that should the position be re-created, the
employee, if still employed by the board, shall have first
right of refusal to the re-created position.
undisputed the superintendent did not recommend against
offering Turner a new contract; therefore, she contends the
School Board was legally obligated to do so. The School Board
argues a recommendation against a new contract by the