LOU A. BABINEAUX
THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEM
Supervisory Review from the 19th Judicial District
Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of
Louisiana Case No. C663485 The Honorable Janice Clark, Judge
Stephen J. Oats Cearley W. Fontenot Daniel J. Phillips
Lafayette, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/Applicant The
Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System
Karl Bernard New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel for
Plaintiff/Respondent Lou A. Babineaux
BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND PENZATO, JJ.
January 8, 2019, the Supreme Court of Louisiana remanded this
matter to this court for briefing, argument, and full
opinion. For the following reasons, we vacate this
court's September 4, 2018 denial of the application for
supervisory writs of the Board of Supervisors for the
University of Louisiana System and render judgment granting
the Board's exception of venue.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
November 21, 2017, Lou A. Babineaux filed a petition for
damages against the Board of Supervisors for the University
of Louisiana System ("the Board") in the Nineteenth
Judicial District Court ("19th JDC").
Ms. Babineaux was previously employed at the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette Student Health Service Clinic
("the Clinic") as a licensed practical nurse. Ms.
Babineaux alleged that she and her co-worker, Schantell
Washington, were the only two African American employees at
the clinic and that both were supervised by Julia A. Lognion,
the Clinic's nursing supervisor, and Dr. Chris Hayes, the
director of the office of student health. Ms. Babineaux
further alleged that Ms. Washington, a registered nurse,
became the target of race-based discrimination from Ms.
Lognion and Dr. Hayes almost immediately upon her hire. Ms.
Babineaux allegedly encouraged Ms. Washington to report the
discriminatory treatment to the human resources department.
In April 2016, Ms. Washington filed suit against the Board
for racial discrimination and retaliation. Ms.
Washington's lawsuit is still pending.
Babineaux alleges that, at approximately the same time that
Ms. Washington filed suit against the Board, Ms. Lognion and
Dr. Hayes began subjecting her to unlawful discriminatory
treatment in an attempt to force her to quit her job.
Following various alleged acts of discrimination, Ms.
Babineaux scheduled a meeting with the Vice President of
Student Affairs and Dr. Hayes to discuss the discriminatory
treatment that she was receiving. According to Ms. Babineaux,
no corrective action was taken.
Babineaux alleged that she was forced to seek psychiatric
treatment as a result of the stress and anxiety caused by her
mistreatment in the workplace. Ms. Babineaux further alleged
that on or about September 14, 2016, she filed a charge of
discrimination with the equal employment opportunity
commission, complaining of race discrimination and
retaliation. According to Ms. Babineaux, her physician
informed her that Ms. Babineaux's health was being
severely affected by the stress caused by her mistreatment in
the workplace and recommended that Ms. Babineaux leave the
job as soon as possible. On June 1, 2017, Ms. Babineaux
Babineaux asserts that she received a written notice of her
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Right to Sue letter
on or about August 17, 2017, and that she has thus exhausted
all of her administrative remedies and satisfied all
administrative prerequisites for bringing this action. Ms.
Babineaux further asserts that the Board is in violation of
the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law, La. R.S. 23:301,
et seq., and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., due to the
Board's alleged discriminatory treatment against Ms.
Babineaux. Ms. Babineaux further asserts that the Board's
mistreatment of her constitutes unlawful retaliation pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Accordingly, Ms.
Babineaux seeks both pecuniary and nonpecuniary damages.
March 23, 2018, the Board filed an exception of venue and,
alternatively, a motion to transfer for forum non conveniens.
The Board argued that venue in this particular case was
controlled by La. R.S.23;303(A), which requires suit be
brought in the district court in the parish in which the
alleged violation occurred, and that Lafayette Parish was the
proper venue for this suit.
trial court denied the Board's exception of venue and
alternate motion to transfer for forum non conveniens. The
Board subsequently applied for supervisory writs with this
court. This court denied the Board's application for
supervisory writs on September 4, 2018.
this court's denial of the Board's application for
supervisory writs, the Board sought writs of certiorari with
the Supreme Court of Louisiana. The Supreme Court of
Louisiana subsequently granted the Board's application
for writs of certiorari on this issue and remanded the case
back to this court for briefing, argument, and full opinion,
with due consideration of this court's earlier holding in
Washington v. The ...