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Isaac v. Department of Health and Hospitals/Ocdd -Pinecrest Supports and Services Center

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 21, 2018

DERRY ISAAC, JR.
v.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS/OCDD -PINECREST SUPPORTS AND SERVICES CENTER

          Appealed from the State Civil Service Commission State of Louisiana Docket No. S-l 8281 Honorable David Duplantier, Chairman; D. Scott Hughes, Vice Chairman; John McClure, G. Lee Griffm, C. Pete Fremin, Ronald M. Carrere, and Jo Ann Nixon, Members

          Edward Larvadain, Jr. Alexandria, LA Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant Derry Isaac, Jr.

          Neal R. Elliott, Jr. Baton Rouge, LA and William Frank Coco Alexandria, LA Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Pinecrest Supports and Services Center

          Adrienne Bordelon Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for Byron P. Decoteau, Jr., Director, Louisiana Department of State Civil Service

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND PENZATO, J J.

          GUIDRY, J.

         A state employee serving with permanent status appeals a decision of the State Civil Service Commission ("Commission") upholding an agency's disciplinary action to terminate his employment. Based on our review, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Deny Isaac, Jr. was employed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals[1] at the Pinecrest Supports and Services Center (appointing authority[2]), in the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, as a Residential Services Specialist 5. He served with permanent status. By a certified letter dated March 24, 2017, Shannon H. Thorn, the administrator of the Pinecrest Supports and Services Center, notified Mr. Isaac that he was being terminated, effective April 7, 2017, for insubordination and failing to fully cooperate with an investigation in violation of the rules 39 and 44 of the Pinecrest Rules of Conduct, because he failed to answer questions during a polygraph examination.

         Mr. Isaac appealed his termination to the Commission. The referee[3]assigned by the Commission to decide the matter found the evidence supported the charge and the disciplinary action imposed. The referee's decision became the final decision of the Commission when the Commission denied Mr. Isaac's application for review. See La. Const, art. X, § 12(A) and Civil Service Rule 13.36(g). Mr. Isaac appeals that decision herein.

         ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

         In this appeal, Mr. Isaac contends that the referee erred in upholding the appointing authority's disciplinary action in the following respects:

1) The referee and the Civil Service Commission erred in finding that the appointing authority proved by [a] preponderance of the evidence that appellant, Derry [Isaac], Jr. refused to answer questions during the polygraph examination.
2) The referee and the Civil Service Commission erred in finding that the appellant, Derry [Isaac], Jr. was insubordinate and failed to fully cooperate with an investigation thus violating ...

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