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Casimer v. Connick

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 6, 2019

BRETT S. CASIMER
v.
PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE 24TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT; PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 766-414, DIVISION "P" HONORABLE LEE V. FAULKNER, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, BRETT S. CASIMER Brett S. Casimer

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE 24TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT; PARISH OF JEFFERSON STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr., Terry M. Boudreaux David B. Wheeler

          Panel composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Robert A. Chaisson, and Hans J. Liljeberg

          JUDE G. GRAVOIS, JUDGE

         Plaintiff/appellant Brett S. Casimer[1] appeals a final judgment rendered by the district court on October 12, 2018 which found that his request for public records had been fulfilled and dismissed his suit against the District Attorney for the Parish of Jefferson, the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office, and the Clerk of Court for the 24th Judicial District Court with prejudice. For the following reasons, we find that this appeal is untimely, and accordingly, we dismiss this appeal.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In 2016, plaintiff Brett S. Casimer brought this mandamus suit against the District Attorney for the Parish of Jefferson, seeking to obtain his entire criminal file from the District Attorney in order to aid in his preparation of a postconviction relief application.[2] In the course of that proceeding, Mr. Casimer amended his petition twice to add as defendants the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office and the Clerk of Court for the 24th Judicial District Court. Pertinent to this proceeding, following a hearing on October 12, 2018 with all parties present, a final judgment was rendered that same day declaring that the amended and supplemental writ of mandamus filed against the parties was fully satisfied and further ordering that "all parties be and are hereby dismissed with prejudice."[3]

         Previously, in the same suit, the trial court had issued a judgment on August 14, 2017 which dismissed the suit against the Sheriff, which Mr. Casimer appealed. Casimer v. Connick, 17-669 (La.App. 5 Cir. 6/27/18), 250 So.3d 393. This Court noted that the appealed judgment dismissed only the District Attorney and not the Clerk of Court or the Sheriffs Office. This Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter for further proceedings, finding that under the procedural posture of the case, it was not appropriate for the trial court to partially dispose of the amended writs of mandamus without the participation of all necessary parties in the contradictory hearing. Id. at 396.

         At the proceedings on remand, the Clerk of Court's Office and the Sheriffs Office, as well as the District Attorney, appeared and participated in hearings in September and October of 2018. The October 12, 2018 judgment dismissed all parties with prejudice. The record reflects that notice of this judgment was mailed to Mr. Casimer on October 16, 2018.

         Thereafter, on October 30, 2018, Mr. Casimer filed a pleading entitled "Notice of Intent to Seek Writs," declaring his intent to seek review of a judgment dated August 14, 2017.[4] It is noted that this August 14, 2017 judgment is the same judgment that Mr. Casimer previously appealed in Casimer v. Connick, supra. It appears that this date may have been a typographical error or the result of Mr. Casimer's altering the motion for appeal he used in 2017 in his first appeal. On October 30, 2018, the district court signed the Order attached to the notice of intent, granting Mr. Casimer until November 29, 2018 within which to apply for supervisory writs to this Court. Service information in the record indicates that Mr. Casimer was served with notice of the return date on November 16, 2018.

         On December 12, 2018, Mr. Casimer filed in the district court a pleading entitled "Motion for Disposition or Ruling," wherein he noted the final judgment of October 12, 2018 and that he had filed a notice of intent. He alleged therein that the district court had failed to respond to his notice of intent. (However, as noted above, the record reflects that Mr. Casimer was served on November 16, 2018 with the court's ruling granting his notice of intent and setting November 29, 2018 as the return date.) The motion's prayer, however, asks for obscure relief, and does not clearly seek additional time within which to file a writ or an appeal. The trial court denied the motion on December 14, 2018, stating in its own order that it was unable to determine the relief Mr. Casimer sought from the court in his motion.

         Thereafter, on February 12, 2019, Mr. Casimer filed a "Motion to Annul Final Judgement and Reinstate Appeal Time" in which he refers to the October 30, 2018 notice of intent as pertaining to the October 12, 2018 judgment, further noting that the October 12, 2018 judgment was a "final judgment." The Motion also seeks more evidence allegedly in possession of the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office or the Jefferson Parish Crime Lab, referencing subsequent requests for records Mr. Casimer made to those offices after the October 12, 2018 final judgment.[5] The motion does not seek to annul any particular judgment and does not seek reinstatement of appeal time, despite its title and caption.[6] The trial court denied the motion without reasons on February 14, 2019.

         Finally, on April 2, 2019, Mr. Casimer filed a "Notice of Intent to File Suspensive Appeal and Order of Appeal," which referenced multiple pleadings in the record and several prior "final order[s]" in the record, including the October 12, 2018 order, but not specifying which (any or all) prior order of the court might be the subject of the appeal. The trial court signed the attached order, granting the "suspensive" appeal and setting a "due date" of May 9, 2019 within which to ...


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