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Mason v. Hedrick

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

April 17, 2019

HAROLD MASON
v.
SHERIFF KENNETH HEDRICK, ET AL.

          SUPERVISORY WRIT FROM THE SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CONCORDIA, NO. 49, 292 HONORABLE JOHN C. REEVES, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          FREEMAN R. MATTHEWS TIMOTHY R. RICHARDSON RONALD S. BRYANT USRY, WEEK & MATTHEWS, APLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT: SHERIFF KENNETH HEDRICK

          DONNA U. GRODNER GRODNER & ASSOCIATES, APLLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPLICANT: HAROLD MASON

          GREGORY A. GREFER MIRACLE & ASSOCIATES COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT: SHERIE JACOBS, MAYOR OF THE TOWN OF FERRIDAY OFFICER ANTHONY HAWKINS

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, Billy H. Ezell, and Jonathan W. Perry, Judges.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE.

         The Plaintiff-Relator, Harold Mason, seeks supervisory writs from the judgment of the seventh judicial district court, the Honorable John Reeves presiding, which denied the Relator's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and Amended Motion for Notice of Appeal.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         The instant case arises from injuries sustained by the Relator while trimming trees as an inmate and trusty at the River Correctional Center. While another inmate was operating a chain saw, the Relator's left arm was severed. When the Relator first filed suit for damages, he moved to proceed in forma pauperis as an inmate, and the motion was granted on July 15, 2015. After the Relator was released from prison, he filed a second motion to proceed in forma pauperis which was granted on February 22, 2016. On August 23, 2018, summary judgment was granted in favor of the Defendants, dismissing the Relator's claims.

         The Relator sought an appeal of the ruling on August 29, 2018. On September 10, 2018, the Relator was granted a devolutive appeal with a return date of October 25, 2018. On September 13, 2018, the clerk of court issued the estimated costs for a suspensive appeal. In response, on or about October 22, 2018, the Relator filed a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and an Amended Motion for Notice of Appeal wherein he stated that he was proceeding in forma pauperis and prayed for a devolutive appeal. On November 19, 2018, the motion for pauper status was summarily denied "due to income of Defendant and spouse[, ] and there is no affidavit of a witness attached." Also, the amended motion for appeal was denied as filed "as defendant has been denied pauper status by the court and pursuant to CCP 2128[, ] the requested designation of the partial record by defendant is untimely." Notice of the judgments was mailed to the parties on November 21, 2018. The Relator is now before this court on writs seeking review of these two rulings.

         ON THE MERITS

         The Relator argues that at the time the return date for an appeal was entered, he had a pauper order in place that should have allowed him to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. The Relator refers to La.Code Civ.P. art. 5185, which reads:

A.When an order of court permits a party to litigate without the payment of costs until this order is rescinded, he is entitled to:
(1) All services required by law of a sheriff, clerk of court, court reporter, notary, or other public officer in, or in connection with, the judicial proceeding, including but not limited to the filing of pleadings and exhibits, the issuance of certificates, the certification of copies of notarial acts and public records, the issuance and service of subpoenas and ...

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