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Bourgeois v. Bazil

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

April 24, 2019

JOY BOURGEOIS
v.
PAGET BAZIL

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 787-228, DIVISION "K" HONORABLE ELLEN SHIRER KOVACH, JUDGE PRESIDING

          PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, JOY BOURGEOIS In Proper Person.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, PAGET BAZIL Tracy G. Sheppard.

          Panel composed of Judges Robert A. Chaisson, Stephen J. Windhorst, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          JOHN J. MOLAISON, JR. JUDGE

         This action for injunctive relief was brought by Joy Bourgeois, on behalf of herself and her four children, against Paget Bazile, the girlfriend of Ms. Bourgeois' former husband and the children's father, Mickey Bourgeois.[1] The trial court granted a permanent injunction for one year, based on evidence that Ms. Bazile initiated a physical confrontation with Ms. Bourgeois and interfered in matters involving the children.

         Ms. Bazile appealed to question Ms. Bourgeois' right to seek relief on behalf of her eighteen-year-old son and the sufficiency of the evidence to support the granting of injunctive relief under La. C.C.P. art. 3601, which requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence that irreparable injury, loss or damage may otherwise result and that the petitioner is without an adequate remedy at law. Zeringue v. St. James Parish School Bd., 13-444 (La.App. 5 Cir. 11/19/13), 130 So.3d 356, 358-359.

         We affirm the judgment as to Ms. Bourgeois. Based on a discrepancy between the trial court's oral reasons for judgment and the written judgment, which was not asserted by either litigant but became apparent in our review of the record, we find that the children were not included as protected persons in the written judgment, despite the trial judge's apparent intention to include them. In such circumstances, the written judgment controls. Marino v. Marino, 576 So.2d 1196, 1198 (La.App. 5 Cir. 1991); Hains v. Hains, 09-1337 (La.App. 1 Cir. 3/10/10), 36 So.3d 289, 301. Accordingly, only Ms. Bourgeois is a protected person under the judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         At the time of the events giving rise to Ms. Bourgeois' suit for injunctive relief, she and her ex-husband had joint custody of the children, who ranged in age from eight to eighteen. Ms. Bourgeois was the domiciliary parent and home-schooled the children. For reasons that are not relevant to this case, Mr. Bourgeois had visitation with the children at Ms. Bourgeois' home.

         In May 2018, Ms. Bourgeois filed for sole custody of the children. Mr. Bourgeois and Ms. Bazile were apparently engaged to be married at the time, and Ms. Bazile attended the court proceedings in the custody case. Ms. Bourgeois and Ms. Bazile had some differences of opinion about certain things involving the children, culminating in an incident at Ms. Bourgeois' home on August 26, 2018, in which Ms. Bazile pushed Ms. Bourgeois into the front door of the home. Ms. Bourgeois reported the incident to the police. The next day, Ms. Bazile contacted Child Protective Services to report her concerns about the manner in which Ms. Bourgeois was caring for the children. An investigator contacted Ms. Bourgeois, who denied the allegations.

         A few days later, Ms. Bourgeois filed this suit against Ms. Bazile seeking injunctive relief on behalf of herself and the children. Ms. Bourgeois alleged that Ms. Bazile had stalked, harassed and assaulted her, had threatened to kidnap her children by taking them on a cruise out of the country despite knowing that Ms. Bourgeois opposed that, and had made a false report against her with Child Protective Services in an attempt to have her children taken away from her. She also alleged that Ms. Bazile questions the children and makes them feel uncomfortable.

         The trial court issued a temporary restraining order in favor of Ms. Bourgeois and the children, temporarily prohibiting Ms. Bazile from having any contact with them and from taking the children on a cruise or showing up at their events, among other things.

         The hearing on the request for a permanent injunction was held in September 2018. Ms. Bourgeois and Ms. Bazile each represented themselves at the hearing and were the only witnesses.

         At the hearing, Ms. Bourgeois testified that Ms. Bazile had been harassing her through phone calls, including one in July 2018, when Ms. Bazile called her after court in the custody case to tell her all the mistakes she was making with her children, that she did not control her children, and that Ms. Bazile and Mr. Bourgeois were going to take the children on a cruise. The parties disputed whether Ms. Bourgeois voiced any objection to the children going on a cruise at the time. Ms. Bourgeois stated she told Ms. Bazile that her children could not go on a cruise without her because she had a fear of them falling overboard. Ms. Bazile claimed Ms. Bourgeois was initially supportive of the children going on a cruise and changed her position later.

         August 26 Incident

         With regard to the incident at Ms. Bourgeois' home on August 26, 2018, Ms. Bourgeois testified that Ms. Bazile confronted her and assaulted her when she came home to exchange the children with her ex-husband, who had apparently already left at Ms. Bazile's request. According to Ms. Bourgeois, Ms. Bazile got very irate with her, asked her what she does with her child support, asked her what she had done with money earned by her eighteen-year-old son that she was supposed to be keeping for him, told her that she was a bad mother, and told her that she does not control her children and that Ms. Bazile and Mr. Bourgeois would take the children on a cruise whether Ms. Bourgeois liked it or not.

         Ms. Bourgeois testified that Ms. Bazile refused to leave when she told her to leave and backed Ms. Bourgeois up into her front door with her chest on top of Ms. Bourgeois' chest while screaming at her, at which point Ms. Bourgeois told her she was going to call the police. Ms. Bourgeois said Ms. Bazile replied that she wanted the police to come take her children. Ms. Bourgeois called the police, but Ms. Bazile left before they arrived. Ms. Bourgeois testified that Mr. Bourgeois and Ms. Bazile had put a band-aid over her doorbell camera "so that . . . it would not record her attacking me."

         Later that day, Ms. Bazile sent Ms. Bourgeois an email relating her concerns about the children, saying she only wanted what was best for them, and expressing her disappointment in how Ms. Bourgeois responded to her earlier in the day.

         Ms. Bourgeois introduced in evidence a copy of the police report she filed concerning the August 26 incident and said she intends to press charges for simple battery. Ms. Bazile had not been arrested as of the hearing date.

         Report to Child ...


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