Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McGillion v. Englade

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 29, 2019

HOPE JONES MCGILLION, ET AL
v.
JENNIFER ENGLADE, ET AL GARY A. MEJIA, ON BEHALF OF DEIBI A. MEJIA-MEDINA
v.
JENNIFER R. ENGLADE, ET AL

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 77, 857 C/W 78, 386, DIVISION "C" HONORABLE EMILE R. ST. PIERRE, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, HOPE JONES MCGALLION AND IRVIN NUNEZ Ron A. Austin Catherine H. Hilton

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE-2ND APPELLANT, (2ND APPLNT) GARY A. MEJIA, ON BEHALF OF DEIBI A. MEJIA-MEDINA Brian D. Katz

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE MIKE TREGRE Mark E. Hanna Trevor M. Cutaiar

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Robert A. Chaisson, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          SUSAN M. CHEHARDY CHIEF JUDGE

         In these consolidated wrongful death and personal injury cases, plaintiffs appeal the grant of summary judgment filed by defendant, Mike Tregre, individually, and in his official capacity as Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. For the following reasons, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.

         Factual and Procedural History

         The designated record before us shows that, in the late evening of May 25, 2013, deputies from St. John the Baptist Parish responded to a 9-1-1 call from a security guard at a daiquiri shop in St. John the Baptist Parish reporting that four "highly intoxicated" individuals were leaving the bar in a vehicle and driving away. When a deputy arrived at the bar, the security guard gestured to a vehicle that was exiting the parking lot onto Airline Highway. The deputy stopped the vehicle and found Rechelle Hotard, Jennifer Englade, Joshua Jones, and Michael Gunter in that vehicle. A second deputy requested criminal background information on these four individuals[1] and vehicle information on the vehicle. The dispatcher reported that Hotard, who was being belligerent, had an outstanding warrant. As a result, the deputies arrested Hotard.

         When the dispatcher, Christina Blank, ran a criminal history check on Jennifer Englade, she learned that Englade had four DWI convictions, including one from 2012, and a 'flag' on her license for failure to maintain liability insurance on the vehicle involved in the stop. However, the dispatcher, who was a longtime friend and former roommate of Englade, did not reveal Englade's criminal history to the road deputies. Further, the dispatcher did not report that Englade, the owner of the vehicle, had a 'flag' on her license for failure to maintain liability insurance.

         The road deputies stated that they did not perform field sobriety tests on Englade or the two male occupants. Yet, rather than allowing Englade to depart the scene in the vehicle she owned, all of the deputies reported that they told Englade and the two men to "walk to Walgreens" to wait on a ride. There is a dispute regarding whether any deputy searched for the keys to the vehicle before leaving Englade, the owner of the vehicle, in the parking lot with her vehicle.

         Within a few hours of that stop, at approximately 1:45 a.m. on May 26, 2013, Jennifer Englade, who was intoxicated, [2] lost control of her vehicle, and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on, killing one of her passengers, Joshua Jones, as well as the driver of the oncoming vehicle, Romisha Meiji; a passenger in her vehicle, Esther Centeno; and Ms. Centeno's unborn child. The remaining passenger in the oncoming vehicle, Deibi Mejia-Medina, was severely injured, but survived. As a result of this accident, five wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits were filed and later consolidated, including: an action filed by Hope Jones McGillion, on behalf of her and Joshua Jones' minor children, Kelsey Jones, Madyson Jones, and Dallin Jones; an action filed by Irvin Nunez, on behalf of his and Romisha Meiji's minor child, Jadelyn Nunez; and, an action filed by Gary A. Mejia, on behalf of his brother, Deibi A. Mejia-Medina.[3]

         In their lawsuits, plaintiffs named as defendant, inter alia, the Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish, Mike Tregre. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that Sheriff Tregre is liable for a failure to supervise and train his officers, which resulted in the officers' failure to follow proper procedures during a motor vehicle traffic stop, including, but not limited to: failing to check intoxication levels of the driver and passengers; failing to investigate and/or report the arrest and/or conviction records of the driver and passengers; failing to determine if the vehicle in question was properly insured; and, failing to secure the motor vehicle in question. The plaintiffs contend that Tregre's failures allowed co-defendant, Jennifer Englade, to maintain access to her vehicle, which she used within hours to kill three adults and an unborn child and to grievously injure another adult.

         On July 3, 2018, Sheriff Tregre filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that "discretionary immunity applies to insulate the Sheriff from liability and, in the alternative, the actions of Sheriff's deputies cannot be considered to be a legal cause of the claimed damages." Further, the Sheriff alleges that punitive damages are not available against him. To his motion, Sheriff Tregre attached deposition excerpts from the following individuals: co-defendant, Jennifer Englade; Deputy Christina Blank, a dispatcher for the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office (SJBPSO); Detective Sergeant Brian Schum of the SJBPSO; Lieutenant Michelle Piearson of the SJBPSO; Deputy Arthur Ponder of the SJBPSO; and, Mario Jackson, a security guard working at a daiquiri shop in St. John the Baptist Parish on the night of the fatal accident.

         Plaintiffs opposed the motion, alleging that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding multiple issues, including, but not limited to: the identity of the driver of the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop; the 911 dispatcher's purposeful omission of information regarding the vehicle owner's multiple DWI convictions and the 'flag' on her driver's license for lack of insurance on the vehicle; the failure of the Sheriff's deputies to perform field sobriety tests during their investigation of reportedly intoxicated persons driving a vehicle; and, the failure to secure either the vehicle or the vehicle's owner. To their oppositions, plaintiffs attached deposition excerpts from the following individuals: co-defendant, Jennifer Englade; Mario Jackson, a security guard working at a daiquiri shop in St. John the Baptist Parish on the night of the fatal accident; Deputy Faron Duhe, a dispatcher for SJBPSO; Deputy Christina Blank, a dispatcher for SJBPSO; Detective Sergeant Brian Schum of the SJBPSO; Lieutenant ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.