IN RE: THE MINORS: LINA NICOLE MCCAULEY VASH ALEXANDER MCCAULEY KAI VICTOR MCCAULEY
Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 588, 938 Honorable
Ramon Lafitte, Judge.
PETTIETTE, ARMAND, DUNKELMAN, WOODLEY, BYRD & CROMWELL,
LLP By: Donald Armand, Jr., Trey W. Carter, Counsel for
Mover-Appellant, Centenary College of Louisiana.
& GILLEY, By: Patricia A. Gilley Counsel for Appellee,
BROWN, STONE, and STEPHENS, JJ.
College of Louisiana ("Centenary") and several of
its police officers are the defendants in an action filed in
federal court by Deborah McCauley on behalf of her three
minor grandchildren. Ms. McCauley sought and obtained an
ex parte order of provisional tutorship in the 1st
J.D.C. to file the lawsuit, which seeks damages arising out
of the death of her son, Marcus McCauley. Centenary has taken
the instant appeal from the trial court's adverse ruling
on Centenary's motion to vacate the provisional tutorship
appointment of Ms. McCauley. For the reasons set forth below,
we reverse the trial court's judgment and vacate the
provisional tutorship appointment.
Spears and Marcus McCauley were married on May 3, 2009, and
divorced on February 14, 2013. During their time together,
they had three children: LNM, VAM, and KVM. In 2013, a Texas
court granted Ms. Spears a divorce from Marcus on the grounds
of cruelty and a felony conviction. The Texas court
specifically found that Marcus had committed multiple acts of
"family violence" against Ms. Spears and the
children and issued a protective order. The court awarded Ms.
Spears sole custody of the children and permanently enjoined
Marcus from further contact with Ms. Spears and the children.
Since that time, Ms. Spears has had sole custody of the
children, and they lived in Texas before moving to Oklahoma.
died on November 20, 2014. On November 19, 2015, his mother
Deborah McCauley filed an ex parte petition for
appointment of provisional tutor in the 1st J.D.C. In her
petition, Ms. McCauley alleged that this appointment was
sought for the sole purpose of acquiring procedural capacity
so that she could, on behalf of her minor grandchildren, file
a civil suit for damages arising out of the death of the
children's father. The trial court signed an ex
parte order appointing Ms. McCauley as provisional tutor
and her ex-husband Larry as provisional undertutor, and the
federal suit against Centenary was filed in federal court the
filed a motion to vacate the provisional tutorship on
February 5, 2016. It was supported by an affidavit (attached
to a supplemental memorandum in support of the motion) dated
February 16, 2016, by Jennifer Spears, in which, inter
alia, she attested that:
5. I am aware that Deborah McCauley filed a petition in Caddo
Parish Court to have herself appointed as "provisional
tutrix" of my children. I was not contacted by Deborah
McCauley or anyone on her behalf before that proceeding was
filed and I received no notice of her intention to file it.
Had I been contacted or notified, I would not have given Mrs.
McCauley permission to file that proceeding or to attempt to
take any action on behalf of my children.
6. Sometime after that petition was filed, I was contacted by
Patricia Gilley, who identified herself as the attorney of
Deborah and Larry McCauley. Ms. Gilley informed me that
Deborah McCauley had obtained the order of provisional
tutorship and that she had filed a lawsuit against Centenary
College and some of its security officers, alleging that
those officers were legally liable for the death of Marcus
McCauley. I told Ms. Gilley the following:
(1) I did not and do not authorize Deborah or Larry McCauley
to seek any "tutorship" or to attempt to take any
action on behalf of my children.
(2) I object to the order of provisional tutorship and would
have objected before it was entered if I had been notified
that the ...