United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
JOE W. AGUILLARD
L. HORNSBY, MAG. JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Joe W. Aguillard (“Aguillard”) sued his former
employer, Louisiana College (“LC”), alleging, in
part, that LC filed a defamation suit against him in the
Ninth Judicial District Court in and for Rapides Parish,
Louisiana, in retaliation for his filing a charge of
discrimination and a whistleblower complaint against LC. The
defamation suit remains pending in state court.
here is LC's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [Doc.
No. 84] seeking dismissal of Aguillard's retaliation
claim. Aguillard has filed an opposition [Doc. No. 91]. LC
has filed a reply [Doc. No. 92]. Aguillard has filed a
supplemental memorandum in opposition and supplemental
affidavits [Doc. Nos. 105, 113, 114]. LC has filed a reply to
Aguillard's supplemental memorandum [Doc. No. 109].
following reasons, the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is
served as President of LC from January of 2005 to July of
2014. Thereafter he served as “President
Emeritus” of LC and as a fully tenured member of the
faculty. [Doc. No. 1, ¶¶ 1-5]. LC employed an
acting president to follow Aguillard for one year, and LC
then hired Dr. Richard Brewer (“Brewer”) as
president. Brewer has held the job since April 2015.
terminated Aguillard's employment effective March 31,
2016. Following his termination, Aguillard filed a charge of
discrimination with the EEOC and the Louisiana Commission on
Human Rights, alleging that LC had discriminated against him
because of disability, religion, and in retaliation for
opposing illegal practices in violation of the American With
Disabilities Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§
12101-12213 (“ADA”), and Title VII. He filed a
second charge of retaliation/discrimination with the EEOC and
set forth more fully his religious beliefs conflict with
Brewer. The EEOC issued a “Right to
Sue” letter on both charges. [Id.
original Complaint invoked federal laws that prohibit
discrimination on the grounds of religion, age, and
disability. Aguillard also alleged that LC retaliated against
him for complaining about and opposing unlawful
25, 2017, LC, Brewer and Dr. Cheryl Clark
(“Clark”) jointly filed a defamation action
against Aguillard in the Ninth Judicial District Court in and
for Rapides Parish, Louisiana. The lawsuit alleges that
Aguillard made defamatory statements against the plaintiffs
in complaints to the Southern Association of Colleges and
November 13, 2018, Aguillard filed a motion for leave to file
his First Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 32]. LC opposed the
motion for leave [Doc. No. 34]. On February 14, 2019,
Magistrate Judge Hornsby issued a Report and Recommendation
which recommended that Aguillard's motion for leave be
granted [Doc. No. 54]. On March 1, 2019, this Court adopted
the Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 57], and the First
Amended Complaint was filed [Doc. No. 58].
here is Paragraph 31A of the First Amended Complaint, which
On or about May 25, 2017, and in retaliation against
Plaintiff for filing a “Charge of Discrimination”
against Louisiana College and for filing a
“Whistleblower” Complaint against Louisiana
College, Louisiana College, Dr. Richard B. Brewer, and Dr.
Cheryl Clark jointly filed a defamation suit against
Plaintiff in the Nineth [sic] Judicial District Court in and
for Rapides Parish, Louisiana, which remains pending.
(Doc. 58, ¶ 31A).
argues in its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment that
Aguillard's retaliation claim, as set forth in Paragraph
31A, should be dismissed with prejudice. The motion is fully
briefed, and the Court is prepared to rule.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), A[a] party may move
for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense--or
the part of each claim or defense--on which summary judgment
is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the
movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." The moving party bears the initial
burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion by
identifying portions of the record which highlight the
absence of genuine issues of material fact. Topalian v.
Ehrmann, 4 F.2d 1125');">954 F.2d 1125, 1132 (5th Cir. 1992); see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1) (AA party asserting that a
fact cannot be . . . disputed must support the assertion by .
. . citing to particular parts of materials in the record . .
.). A fact is "material" if proof of its existence
or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under
applicable law in the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242');">477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a
material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such
that a reasonable fact finder could render a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Id.
moving party can meet the initial burden, the burden then
shifts to the nonmoving party to establish the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact for trial. Norman v.
Apache Corp., 19 F.3d 1017, 1023 (5th Cir. 1994). In
evaluating the evidence tendered by the parties, the Court
must accept the evidence of the nonmovant as credible and
draw all justifiable inferences in its favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. However, “a party
cannot defeat summary judgment with conclusory allegations,
unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of
evidence.” Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med.
Ctr., 476 F.3d 337');">476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.)
defamation suit filed in state court by LC, Brewer, and Clark
alleges four (4) causes of action against Aguillard in
connection with complaints he made to SACSCOC:
(1) Aguillard made defamatory statements falsely accusing LC
and Brewer of failing to follow LC's dismissal procedure
for tenured faculty members when LC terminated
(2) Aguillard made defamatory statements falsely accusing LC
and Clark of illegal grade changing with regard to nursing
(3) Aguillard made defamatory statements falsely accusing LC,
Brewer and Clark of not providing instruction to
Aguillard's students in his ED 750 class after he was
placed on administrative leave, and falsely accusing them of
assigning the students ...