United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. HORNSBY I U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff in this case is identified as Maureen Francis, but
she has also appeared in prior litigation under the names
Maureen Vallot, Maureen Greene, or Maureen Vallot Greene. She
was employed by the Iberia Parish School Board until she was
fired in 1997 for dishonesty, insubordination, willful
neglect of duty, and incompetence in the performance of her
job as a cafeteria worker. More recently, she became a
substitute bus driver for the School Board. The Board
notified her in April 2017 that her name had been removed
from the approved substitute bus driver list because, when
she applied for the position, she did not inform Board
personnel of her prior termination.
has a history of meritless litigation in the federal and
state court. Judge Melancon dismissed one of her actions and
stated in the judgment that the Clerk of Court was “not
to accept any filings by plaintiff, Maureen Vallot, without
an order from the undersigned judge.” Vallot v.
Baudry, 03-cv-1754. He issued a similar order in
Vallot (Greene) v. Fontenot, 03-cv-2026 (Doc. 35)
that the Clerk of Court was “ordered not to accept
further filings from plaintiff without the order of a United
States District Judge.” Plaintiff later attempted to
file another suit, which Judge Melancon dismissed based on
the prior order. Once again, he ordered the Clerk of Court
not to file “any other case on behalf of Plaintiff
without the written authorization of a United States District
Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.” Plaintiff
was warned that monetary sanctions or contempt could be
imposed on her if she attempted to elude or manipulate the
court's orders banning her from filing without prior
permission. Greene v. Fontenot, 05-cv-1954 (Doc.
filed suit against the School Board most recently in St.
Martin Parish, No.85937. Plaintiff is apparently under a
similar bar order in that court, so a judge referred the case
to the Chief Judge for a decision on whether written approval
for filing would be granted. At about the same time,
Plaintiff filed a notice of removal of her own state court
suit to this court. The School Board has filed a Motion to
Strike (Doc. 3) that is now before Chief Judge Hicks. The
motion asks the court to strike this civil action based on
the prior ban orders.
the court are four motions by Plaintiff. The first is a
Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc. 9) pursuant to Title
VII. The Act, in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1), provides
that “in such circumstances that the court may deem
just, the court may appoint an attorney for” the
Plaintiff. The court has discretion in such matters.
“[T]here is no automatic right to appointment of
counsel in a Title VII case.” Caston v. Sears,
Roebuck & Co., 556 F.2nd 1305, 1309 (5th Cir. 1977).
Three relevant factors include the merits of the
plaintiff's discrimination claims, the efforts taken by
the plaintiff to retain counsel, and the plaintiff's
financial ability to retain counsel. Gonzalez v.
Carlin, 907 F.2d 573, 580 (5th Cir. 1990). No. one
factor is conclusive. Id. Plaintiff has not
demonstrated efforts to retain counsel. More important, the
merits of her claims are in doubt given her litigation
history and the likelihood that this entire action may be
dismissed or stricken in the preliminary stages. Accordingly,
the Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 9) is
also filed a Motion for Extension of Time (Doc.
10) in which she asks for a reasonable amount of
time to seek legal counsel. The motion is
denied. Plaintiff may have counsel enrolled
for her at any time while this matter is still pending, but
the court will not delay the proceedings because it is
unlikely that Plaintiff will be able to find an attorney to
represent her in a case with such procedural obstacles, and
more delay will likely lead to more motions and unnecessary
filed a Motion for Completed Copy of Investigative
File (Doc. 8), in which she asks that the court
order the School Board to provide her a copy of “the
Investigative File” for this case. She argues that it
is premature to resolve the case until she has such
information. This request is premature because a party may
not seek discovery from any source before the parties have
conferred as required by Rule 26(f) for the purpose of
putting together a discovery plan. Fed. Rule of Civ. Proc.
26(d). The court has not yet set a deadline for a scheduling
conference that would trigger the obligation to hold such a
conference. The motion is denied.
Furthermore, the court now issues a stay on discovery
of any kind until further order of the court.
also filed a Motion for Permission to Proceed with My
Proceedings/Case (Doc. 11). In this motion,
Plaintiff essentially argues the merits of her case and asks
that the court allow her to receive justice against the
School Board. It is premature to order any relief on the
merits, so the motion is denied. Chief Judge
Hicks will decide, in conjunction with the motion to strike,
whether this civil action will be allowed to proceed.
DONE AND SIGNED in Shreveport, Louisiana.
 Only a defendant may remove a case
pursuant to 28 USC § 1441. Webb v. Horwitz,
2016 WL 7033677, *3 (E.D. La. 2016). Removal by a plaintiff
is a procedural defect in the removal. But procedural defects
are waived if not asserted in a motion to remand filed within
30 days of the removal. FIA ...