Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 593, 826 Honorable
Ramon Lafitte, Judge
BRAINARD & BRAINARD, LLC By: Eron J. Brainard Counsel for
PETTIETTE, ARMAND, DUNKELMAN, WOODLEY, BYRD & CROMWELL,
LLP By: Joseph S. Woodley Counsel for Appellants, City of
Shreveport And Its Appointing Authority
R. CASEY Counsel for Appellants, The Shreveport Municipal
Fire And Police Civil Service Board
GARRETT, COX, and STEPHENS, JJ.
Richardson ("Richardson") was an employee of the
Shreveport Fire Department. On August 30, 2013, he was
terminated by the Appointing Authority for the City of
Shreveport ("City"). Richardson appealed his
termination to the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil
Service Board ("Board"). The Board upheld his
termination. Richardson then appealed the Board's
decision to the First Judicial District Court, Caddo Parish,
Louisiana. The district court found the termination to be an
absolute nullity. The City of Shreveport has now appealed the
district court's judgment. For the reasons outlined
below, we respectfully reverse the district court judgment
and remand this matter to the district court for further
proceedings in order for it to fulfill its function as the
reviewing court pursuant to La. R.S. 33:2501.
10, 2013, Richardson was given a Notice of Formal
Investigation and/or Interrogation ("NOFI"), which
he signed the same day. Richardson's NOFI stated he was
being investigated under La. R.S. 33:2500(A), which provides,
in pertinent part:
A. The tenure of persons who have been regularly and
permanently inducted into positions of the classified service
shall be during good behavior. However, the appointing
authority may remove any employee from the service, or take
such disciplinary action as the circumstances warrant in the
manner provided below for any one of the following reasons:
(1) Unwillingness or failure to perform the duties of his
position in a satisfactory manner.
(2) The deliberate omission of an act that it was his duty to
(3) The commission or omission of any act to the prejudice of
the departmental service or contrary to the public interest
(5) Conduct of a discourteous or wantonly offensive nature
toward the public, any municipal officer or employee; and,
any dishonest, disgraceful, or immoral conduct.
(14) The willful violation of any provision of this Part or
of any rule, regulation, or order hereunder.
(15) Any other act or failure to act which the board deems
sufficient to show the offender to be an unsuitable or unfit
person to be employed in the respective service.
NOFI also lists violations of General Rules, specifically:
(R) Refrain from being a party of any malicious gossip,
rumor, report or activity that would disrupt the department
or any member, and from making derogatory statements or
adversely criticizing City Government policies, activities or
officers of the Fire Department or other personnel of the
City Government. Any concerns relative to polices,
activities, or officers shall be submitted through proper
(U) Not engage in any type of sexual conduct, nor shall they
solicit such conduct while on duty or visiting any fire
station or facility.
Refer to City of Shreveport Executive Order 95-1 (revised)
Harassment Statement (page 45)
E. Conduct themselves in such a manner as approved by
law-abiding, self-respecting citizens.
F. Refrain from committing any act which might bring
discredit upon the Department or its members.
August 26, 2013, Richardson was given a Notice of
Pre-Disciplinary Conference ("PDC"), scheduled for
August 29, 2013. The PDC was attended by the Fire Chief,
Assistant Fire Chief, Personnel Analyst, Assistant City
Attorney, and Clint Richardson. The first section on the PDC
form is "Charges." The instructions state,
"Below write the action(s) with which employee is
charged. Specify dates, times, and any other pertinent
information. Attach additional sheets if needed." The
list written below includes the violations, which were also
set forth in the NOFI, but does not state specific dates,
times, and other information.
the section entitled "Evidence," it states to
"Refer to audio recording. It is alleged that
Firefighter Richardson had Knowledge of improper behavior at
Station #8 and did not report it." Under the section
entitled "Employee's Side," it simply ...