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.

In re Under Investigation By Jefferson Parish Office of Inspector General No. 2018-0028

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 11, 2019

IN RE MATTER UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE JEFFERSON PARISH OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL NO. 2018-0028
v.
JEFFERSON PARISH OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL MARK SPEARS

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 789-232 C/W 793-101, DIVISION "I" HONORABLE NANCY A. MILLER, JUDGE PRESIDING.

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, JEFFERSON PARISH OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL Kim C. Raines Chatelain.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, COUNCILMAN MARK SPEARS, Richard T. Simmons, Jr., W. Evan Plauche', Michael L. Cohen.

          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Stephen J. Windhorst, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE.

         Appellant, the Jefferson Parish Office of Inspector General ("JPOIG") appeals the trial court's June 21, 2019 judgment granting the petition for declaratory judgment filed by Councilman Mark Spears, an elected member of the Jefferson Parish Council, and ordering the JPOIG to provide Councilman Spears a "fair description of the subject matter of the subpoena ad testificandum, and of any documents to be reviewed during his interview, so that he may assert any legislative privilege that may exist prior to being interviewed." Appellee, Councilman Spears, has filed a Contested Motion to Dismiss Appeal for Lack of Jurisdiction and to Suspend Briefing Delays, arguing that on October 21, 2019, this Court vacated the June 21, 2019 judgment and remanded the matter for further proceedings. Therefore, he argues that this Court lacks jurisdiction. Finding that the June 21, 2019 judgment was vacated on October 21, 2019, we grant the motion and dismiss this appeal.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The JPOIG is a department of the Jefferson Parish government created by Jefferson Parish Code of Ordinances ("JPCO") §2-155.10. The JPOIG may make investigations and examinations, within or outside of the State of Louisiana as it deems necessary, in order to carry out the duties of its mandate under law, and may gather evidence in any legally appropriate manner. La. R.S. 33:9613 A(1). In the performance of its duties, an office of inspector general may compel the attendance of witnesses to be deposed under oath by issuing a subpoena upon judicial approval from the trial court. La. R.S. 33:9613 A(3). If a person refuses to obey a subpoena issued by the JPOIG, the trial court may issue an order requiring the person to appear before the trial court to show cause why an order shall not be issued ordering such person to obey the subpoena. Id.

         Councilman Spears is an elected official and is subject to the jurisdiction of the JPOIG. La. R.S. 33:9613. It is the duty of every official to cooperate with the JPOIG in any investigation. JPCO §2-155.10(19). JPOIG has asserted that commencing in 2018, it made several attempts, to no avail, to schedule an interview with Councilman Spears in regards to an open matter under the investigative jurisdiction of the JPOIG.

         Pursuant to La. R.S. 33:9613 A(3), the JPOIG initiated a summary proceeding by filing a motion for subpoena ad testificandum in the 24th Judicial District Court, In re Matter Under Investigation by the Jefferson Parish Office of Inspector General, case number 789-232, Division "I," seeking approval from the trial court for the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum to Councilman Spears. On November 30, 2018, the trial court granted an order authorizing the JPOIG to issue the subpoena ad testificandum. Councilman Spears was served with the subpoena ordering him to appear at the JPOIG's office on December 7, 2018 to be interviewed, to which Councilman Spears did not appear. On December 12, 2018, the JPOIG filed a Motion for Show Cause Hearing on Subpoena Ad Testificandum, which was set for January 10, 2019. The matter was continued without date on Councilman Spears' unopposed motion to continue and reset hearing.

         On March 14, 2019, Councilman Spears filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment, an ordinary proceeding, in the 24th Judicial District Court entitled Mark Spears v. Jefferson Parish Office of Inspector General, No. 793-101, Division "A." The petition sought a judgment declaring that prior to being interviewed, Councilman Spears is entitled to a fair description of the subject matter of the subpoena ad testificandum and of any documents to be reviewed in regards with his interview, in order that he may be able to evaluate whether the subject matter or documents may be subject to any legislative immunity or privilege afforded him by law.

         On March 27, 2019, the JPOIG filed a motion to reset hearing on its subpoena ad testificandum and for sanctions. JPOIG's motion was set for hearing on April 25, 2019. Councilman Spears filed an opposition. On April 25, 2019, JPOIG's rule to show cause on its subpoena ad testificandum and for sanctions was continued to May 30, 2019.

         On April 30, 2019, the JPOIG filed a motion to transfer and consolidate the petition for declaratory judgment pending in Division "A," with the rule to show cause on the JPOIG's subpoena ad testificandum and for sanctions in Division "I." The trial court set the motion to transfer and consolidate for hearing on May 30, 2019.

         On May 30, 2019, the trial court granted the motion to consolidate. The same day, the trial court in Division "A" agreed to transfer the petition for declaratory judgment to Division "I" and a judgment was signed transferring and consolidating the matters. After argument of counsel, the trial court also granted the petition for declaratory judgment ordering the JPOIG to provide a fair description to Councilman Spears as to the subject matter in order that he may assert any privilege prior to being interviewed, and a fair description of any documents which will be reviewed with Councilman Spears ...


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.