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Moreau v. St. Landry Parish Fire District No. 3

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

August 23, 2019

JOSEPH LARRY MOREAU, JR.
v.
ST. LANDRY PARISH FIRE DISTRICT NO. 3, ET AL.

          WHITEHURST JUDGE.

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Joseph Larry Moreau, Jr. (“Moreau”) against St. Landry Fire Protection District No. 3 (“District 3”) and the seven individual members of the Board of Commissioners. Moreau brought suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that his civil rights were violated because he was terminated in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights.

         Pending before the Court are several motions. Among those motions is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 43]. Defendants move the Court to dismiss all claims against them. In response to this motion, Moreau filed a Motion to Strike [Doc. No. 60]. Moreau moves the Court to strike from the record “all evidence of, and all argument related to, the written exchange between Moreau and his ex-sister-in-law, Candice Elkins, the secretary of the St. Landry Parish Fire District No. 3's Board of Commissioners.” Id.

         Defendants filed a Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion to Strike [Doc. No. 76].

         Moreau filed a reply memorandum [Doc. No. 80].

         For the following reasons, the Motion to Strike is DENIED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On or about January 8, 2018, the Vermillion Parish School Board (“the School Board”) held a meeting during which a Vermillion Parish school teacher attempted to question the members about a potential raise for the superintendent. The School Board had a police officer remove the teacher from the meeting. She was handcuffed and taken to jail.

         Moreau's wife is a school teacher, and a friend of his commented on Moreau's Facebook page about the incident. Moreau responded as follows:

[A]ll of this going on with this poor teacher being treated so unfairly makes one thing perfectly clear. . . These “boards” everywhere, ruled by good old boy politics need to be dissolved ASAP..!! We have the same exact problem at our fire department . . . A board of clueless idiots making the decisions that affect many including the very employees that actually do the job.. It's a joke . . [. . .]. I hope this teacher makes them pay...and pay big time.!!

[Doc. No. 1, ¶ 12].

         Two days later, on January 12, 2018, Candice Elkins (“Elkins”) saw the comment and responded to it stating “ . . . that FD3 Board of clueless idiots is about to begin fighting for a favorable outcome on that millage on March 24th . . . I'd say in the last year that board has made quite a bit of progress!” [Doc. No. 43-1, p. 4, Moreau Depo., Exh. A, pp. 54-55; Exh. LM-17 to Moreau Depo.]. Moreau deleted his comment from Facebook.

         Additionally, after Elkins' initial comment, Moreua initiated a private Facebook message exchange with her. [Doc. No. 43-1, p. 4, Moreau Depo., Exh. ...


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