By Zach Parker
A Monroe man recently sued state Rep. Katrina Jackson, who is an attorney, for legal malpractice, because two sheriff’s deputies shot her client with a stun gun and she failed to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expired.
Daniel L. Williams claimed he was intimidated, assaulted and shot with a stun gun by two Ouachita Parish sheriff’s deputies in January 2015, because the deputies were wrongly told he possessed a stolen vehicle.
Williams sued Jackson on June 18 for malpractice because she allegedly allowed Williams’ case to prescribe, or expire, by not filing a complaint in state or federal court prior to the one-year anniversary of the January 2015 incident.
Jackson, D-Monroe, was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2011. She is expected to be a candidate for the state Senate in District 34 this fall.
Jackson also is the chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, which hears all legislation pertaining to the state Supreme Court, appeal courts, district courts, juvenile courts among others.
As of Tuesday morning, Jackson had not yet responded to Williams’ lawsuit.
In his lawsuit, Williams claimed he was stopped by deputies Justin Cromwell and Seth Cox on Jan. 15, 2015 for making a lawful turn into a parking lot. The alleged traffic violation was for failure to use a turn signal.
“In the process of making this traffic stop, the deputies were erroneously informed by dispatch that the vehicle Williams was driving was reported stolen,” stated the lawsuit. “Once Williams exited his vehicle, the deputies then grabbed his arm and proceeded to threaten, intimidate, assault him, which culminated in Deputy Cox discharging his taser striking Williams in the lower back.
“Once Williams fell to the ground he was handcuffed, forced to remain face down and was left near the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle where he was exposed to carbon monoxide gas for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.”
Williams contended he was not offered medical treatment.
Williams retained Jackson as his attorney in February 2015 to pursue a claim against the Sheriff’s Office for violation of his civil rights and for his personal injuries. The agreement signed was a contingency fee contract.
For two years and 10 months, Williams met with Jackson to discuss the matter.
“During these meetings, Jackson assured Williams that she was performing the appropriate and necessary legal work to pursue his case and that she had the matter well under control,” stated the lawsuit.
During that time, Jackson joined her law practice with Earl Ross Downs Jr. and the Downs Law Firm of Bastrop. Downs and the Downs Law Firm also are defendants in Williams’ lawsuit.
On Williams’ behalf, Jackson filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on Jan. 17, 2017, more than two years after the incident. The Sheriff’s Office, the two deputies and other defendants asked the court to dismiss the complaint, because the statute of limitations was one year – not two years. The court dismissed Williams’ complaint as untimely.
Later, Jackson filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office, the two deputies and others at Fourth Judicial District Court on Sept. 28, 2017, nearly three years after the incident.
The lawsuit is ongoing, awaiting a hearing on pleadings to dismiss Williams’ claim because they are untimely.
According to the lawsuit, Williams did not suspect Jackson had acted negligently or in malpractice until Oct. 10, 2017 when he met with her, and she confirmed the statute of limitations was one year.
More revelations followed during an attorney-client meeting in June 2018.
“During this meeting, Jackson openly acknowledged her failure to timely file Williams’ lawsuit within the one-year statute of limitations and offered Williams the name and phone number of her professional liability insurance company because of her negligence,” stated the lawsuit.