United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
ANN VIAL LEMMON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by defendants, Lieutenant Clint Patterson and
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne (Doc. #44), is
GRANTED, and plaintiff's claims against
them are DISMISSED.
matter is before the court on a motion to for summary
judgment filed by defendants, Lieutenant Clint Patterson and
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne. Defendants argue
that plaintiff, Monica Jackson, failed to properly state a
defamation claim against them.
29, 2017, Jackson,  filed this suit against the St. Charles
Parish Sheriff's Office; Sheriff Champagne, in his
official capacity; 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 alleged 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 alleged that she was 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.
allegations in Jackson's original complaint concerned her
arrest by Patterson in 2014 for obstruction of justice. She
maintained that she was prosecuted by former assistant
district attorney McElwee solely because she had gone to
Morel and filed a complaint against McElwee. Jackson alleged
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 claimed lead
to an FBI investigation of Morel. Jackson alleged 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
claimed that only Patterson and other members of the St.
Charles Parish Sheriff's Office knew about her
involvement with the Morel case.
also complained about a statement that Patterson took from
Kizzy Kensey. Allegedly Kensey told Patterson that she had
been raped in Jackson's tax office in 2010, but Jackson
asserted that she did not open the office until 2011 and did
not meet Kensey until 2012. Jackson contended that McElwee
sought to use the Kinsey statement against her in court.
also alleged 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 stated
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
further alleged 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
attributed 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
alleged 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
January 5, 2018, the United States Magistrate Judge granted
Jackson's Motion for Leave to Amend her complaint. The
Amended Complaint does not refer to or incorporate the
original complaint. In the 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. Jackson also states that she
is not making a claim for wrongful arrest, and she does not
state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress. The allegations in the Amended Complaint concern
only 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 to defame her character.
Summary Judgment Standard
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the
"court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Granting a motion for summary judgment is proper if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
admissions on file, and affidavits filed in support of the
motion demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact that the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509-10 (1986). The
court must find "[a] factual dispute . . . [to be]
'genuine' if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party . . .
[and a] fact . . . [to be] ...