Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for
the Parish of Webster, Louisiana Trial Court No. 76, 176
Honorable Jefferson Rowe Thompson, Judge
BRADFORD LAW OFFICE, LLC By: Reshonda L. Bradford Counsel for
PETTIETTE, ARMAND, DUNKELMAN, WOODLEY, BYRD & CROMWELL,
LLP By: Edwin H. Byrd, III Counsel for Appellee
GARRETT, COX, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.
Jackson filed a petition for damages on behalf of her minor
daughter, Z.J., against the Minden Police Department and City
of Minden (collectively referred to as "the City").
The trial court granted the City's exception of no cause
of action. Ms. Jackson appeals. For the following reasons, we
reverse and remand for further proceedings.
1, 2016, Ms. Jackson took her 15-year-old daughter, Z.J., to
Minden Medical Center to report a sexual abuse. The staff at
Minden Medical called the Minden Police Department. After
waiting approximately two hours for the two officers to
arrive, both Ms. Jackson and Z.J. spoke with the officers and
agreed to a rape kit testing procedure. However, no rape kit
testing was performed on Z.J. Ms. Jackson stated in the
petition that one of the officers said he did not think that
the rape kit testing needed to be done. Z.J. was discharged
from the hospital and no further investigation was conducted.
Z.J. was admitted to Minden Medical the next day, on May 2,
2016, after she attempted suicide.
Jackson filed a petition for damages against the City on May
1, 2017. She claimed that as a result of the officers'
failure to follow mandatory investigation requirements, any
chance of securing evidence was lost and Z.J. was left
feeling "dejected and drowning in despair." She
claimed that the actions of the officers constituted gross
negligence, a violation of the duty to uphold public safety,
and a violation of the duty to abide by mandatory
investigative and reporting requirements.
21, 2017, the City moved for a dismissal on the basis that
Ms. Jackson's petition failed to state a cause of action.
The City argued that the duty to collect and preserve
evidence in a criminal investigation is directed toward the
general public, and does not encompass the risk of harm at
issue here-that the victim will suffer distress because the
suspect is not prosecuted.
September 7, 2017, the trial court granted the City's
exception of no cause of action. The trial court found that
the heightened, specific duty triggered when the victim is a
child in need of care was not supported by the evidence
presented in this case. Ms. Jackson was given 30 days to
amend her pleadings.
Jackson filed her first amended petition for damages on
October 3, 2017, expanding upon her previous arguments and
listing the following damages: negligent infliction of
genuine and serious emotional distress; negligent infliction
of mental anguish and emotional distress; loss of enjoyment
of life; loss of income; and, medical expenses.
response, the City filed an exception of no cause of action,
arguing Ms. Jackson failed to state a cause of action because
there were no proper allegations that Z.J. was a child in
need of care. The City argued it was the hospital's
responsibility to conduct the rape kit, and there were no
facts alleging the officer ordered the hospital not to
complete the testing. It also referenced its previous
argument that the police officer's duty to investigate is
a general duty to the public.
December 5, 2017, the trial court granted the City's
exception of no cause of action and dismissed with prejudice
all claims against the City.Ms. Jackson now appeals the trial