DONNA M. SMITH
MONIQUE E. BARIAL, ET AL
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2017-09989,
DIVISION "E" Honorable Melvin C. Zeno, Judge
M. Smith PRO SE
Landry, Attorney General David G. Sanders, Assistant Attorney
General LA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, LITIGATION DIVISION
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES, JUDGE MONIQUE E. BARIAL,
OFFICE OF RISK MANAGEMENT, JUDICIARY COMMISSION MEMBERS
W. Trapolin Christopher Whelen IRWIN FRITCHIE URQUHART &
MOORE, LLC. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/ APPELLEES, THE LAW OFFICE
OF CHANEL R. DEBOSE AND CHANEL R. DEBOSE
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Roland L.
Belsome, Judge Paula A. Brown
A. BROWN JUDGE
matter derives from a petition to annul a Community Property
Consent Judgment ("Consent Judgment") involving
Plaintiff/Appellant, Donna M. Smith ("Ms. Smith")
and her former husband, Thomas Ussin Brown ("Mr.
Brown"). In connection with the petition to annul, Ms.
Smith filed a Petition for Damages (the "Petition")
against Defendants/Appellees, the Law Offices of Chanel R.
DeBose and Chanel R. DeBose (collectively, "Ms.
DeBose'); Judge Monique Barial ("Judge
Barial"); the Office of Risk Management
("ORM"); and Judiciary Commission members, Kelly
McNeil Legier, Sandra A. Vujnovich, Michelle A. Beaty, and
John Keeling (collectively, the "Judiciary Commission
members"). Ms. DeBose filed an exception of prematurity.
Judge Barial, the Judiciary Commission members, and ORM filed
exceptions of no cause of action. Ms. Smith appeals the
judgments sustaining the Defendants/Appellees' respective
exceptions of prematurity and no cause of action. For the
reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Court previously considered some of the underlying issues
raised in this appeal in the matter of Brown v.
Brown, 2015-1016 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/24/16), 187 So.3d 538
("Brown"). Accordingly, we adopt pertinent
facts and the procedural history from Brown in our
review of the case sub judice as follows:
Ms. Smith and Mr. Brown were divorced on December 22, 2009.
In connection with the partition of community property, a
consent agreement was executed on November 6, 2014. At that
time, both parties were represented by counsel. Thereafter, a
["Consent Judgment"] was rendered on December 10,
Ms. Smith, acting pro se, filed a petition to annul
the [C]onsent [J]udgment alleging fraud and ill practice on
the part of Mr. Brown and duress, coercion and
misrepresentation by Ms. Smith's attorney. In response, Mr.
Brown filed peremptory exceptions of no cause of action and
res judicata, along with a dilatory exception of
nonconformity of the petition.
Mr. Brown's exceptions were heard on April 29,
2015. In a judgment dated June 2, 2015, the
trial court [Judge Barial] granted the exception of no cause
of action and rendered all remaining matters moot. Ms.
Smith's appeal followed.
appeal, this Court determined that the allegations pled in
the petition to annul did not state a cause of action; hence,
Judge Barial did not err in granting the exception of no
cause of action. Brown, 2015-1016, pp. 4-5, 187
So.3d at 541-2. However, "out of an abundance of
caution," we remanded the case to the district court to
give Ms. Smith the opportunity to amend her petition to annul
to state a cause of action in accord with La. C.C.P. art.
Id. at pp. 5-6.
April 11, 2016, Ms. Smith filed a motion to set date to file
amended petition for annulment of the Consent Judgment. Judge
Barial granted the motion, ordering Ms. Smith to file her
amended petition on or before May 15, 2016. Judge Barial
further ordered that a hearing on the amended petition would
be scheduled upon its filing. Ms. Smith failed to file her
amended petition by the May 15, 2016 deadline. As a result,
Ms. DeBose filed a motion to dismiss the petition to annul.
Judge Barial heard argument on the motion to dismiss on March
27, 2017 and orally granted the motion.
later, Ms. DeBose filed a motion for status conference, which
Judge Barial granted on June 12, 2017 and scheduled for
hearing on July 19, 2017. Ms. DeBose alleged in the motion
that the written judgment of dismissal had not been signed
due to outstanding costs owed to the Orleans Parish Clerk of
Court. In a separate filing, on June 12, 2017, Judge Barial
also granted Ms. Smith's notice for a suspensive appeal,
but denied her request to proceed in forma pauperis
without posting a security bond. On July 11, 2017, pursuant
to the district court's own motion, Judge Barial signed
an order staying further proceedings and continued the status
conference without date. The order noted that the district
court had been divested of jurisdiction by granting Ms.
October 16, 2017, Ms. Smith, in proper person, filed
the Petition, which is the subject of the present appeal, in
another division of Civil District Court for the Parish of
Orleans ("CDC"). Ms. Smith claimed she was entitled
to damages from Defendants/Appellees for their various acts
of fault. Ms. Smith generally alleged that Ms. DeBose engaged
in conspiracy, fraud, and collusion with Mr. Brown and Ms.
Smith's own attorney, Ms. Sandler, to confect the Consent
Judgment. As to Judge Barial, Ms. Smith claimed that Judge
Barial improperly disregarded orders from this Court and
willfully participated in Ms. DeBose's alleged criminal
acts. Ms. Smith contended the Judiciary Commission members
were liable for damages, arguing they sanctioned illegal
behavior by failing to act on the judicial complaint she had
filed against Judge Barial. Ms. Smith further alleged that
ORM was vicariously liable for the acts/omissions of Judge
Barial and Judiciary Commission members for their refusal to
adhere to the rules and laws governing their respective
response to the Petition, Ms. DeBose filed an exception of
prematurity, motion to stay, and alternatively, motion for
security of costs (the "Prematurity Exception").
Ms. DeBose argued Ms. Smith's claims were premature as
they emanated from Ms. DeBose's alleged actions in a
pending judicial proceeding. Specifically, Ms. DeBose urged
that Ms. Smith had filed a previous lawsuit, which was
pending at the time ...