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Vancourt v. St. James Parish School Board and Tonya Harden

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

October 17, 2018

GLADYS VANCOURT, AS THE LEGAL TUTRIX OF THE MINOR, QUENDEL JONES
v.
ST. JAMES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD AND TONYA HARDEN

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. JAMES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 36, 922, DIVISION "A" HONORABLE JASON VERDIGETS, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, GLADYS VANCOURT, AS THE LEGAL TUTRIX OF THE MINOR, QUENDEL JONES DaShawn P. Hayes

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, ST. JAMES PARISH SCHOOL BOARD AND TONYA HARDEN Andrew C. Abrams

          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Robert A. Chaisson, and Stephen J. Windhorst

         AFFIRMED

         RAC

         FHW

         SJW

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON JUDGE

         In this case arising from an alleged April 3, 2014 altercation between a teacher and student at Paulina Elementary School, Gladys Vancourt, tutrix of the minor student, appeals a July 17, 2017 final judgment of the trial court finding that she failed to carry her burden of proof and dismissing with prejudice her claims against St. James Parish School Board ("SJPSB") and Ms. Tonya Harden. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Ms. Vancourt filed her petition for damages on April 2, 2015, and defendants filed their answer and affirmative defenses shortly thereafter on April 21, 2015. On October 27, 2015, Ms. Vancourt filed a motion for a telephone status conference for the purposes of declaring deadlines and setting the matter for trial on the merits. Following a pretrial conference, on November 18, 2015, the court issued a pretrial order setting the case for trial on April 19, 2016, and establishing discovery and motion deadlines.

         On February 12, 2016, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to have Ms. Vancourt's suit dismissed with prejudice. More than a month later, on March 21, 2016, Ms. Vancourt filed an opposition to the motion for summary judgment in which she argued that the motion for summary judgment was premature because no discovery had been conducted. On March 29, 2016, the trial court issued an amended pretrial order setting a new trial date of November 22, 2016, new discovery deadlines, and a July 25, 2016 hearing date for the motion for summary judgment.

         Following the July 25, 2016 hearing, the trial court issued a judgment on August 17, 2016, in which the judge construed the motion for summary judgment as exceptions of no cause action and no right of action and allowed Ms. Vancourt thirty days to amend the petition to remove the grounds of the objections raised through the exceptions. Ms. Vancourt filed her amended petition on September 19, 2016. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss ...


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