Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman filed paperwork Monday in U.S. District Court challenging a special assistant attorney general's motion to dismiss her lawsuit against him and others.
In response to special assistant attorney general Lawrence Pettiette's motion to dismiss, Marchman distinguished her lawsuit from another controversial lawsuit pursued by Monroe businessman Stanley R. Palowsky III, who sued law clerk Allyson Campbell and several judges in district court.
It was during Palowsky's lawsuit that Pettiette, a Shreveport attorney, was appointed as a special assistant attorney general by then-Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to provide a defense for Campbell when Palowsky accused the law clerk of committing payroll fraud and destroying or concealing court documents.
Marchman claims Pettiette, and others, violated her constitutional rights by retaliating against her when she tried to uncover Campbell's alleged wrongdoing as well as the efforts of judges and attorneys to cover up the law clerk's activities. Other defendants in Marchman's lawsuit are Campbell, judges Carl Sharp, Fred Amman, Wilson Rambo and court administrator Ben Jones as well as Monroe attorneys Brian Crawford and Jon Guice.
Marchman challenged Pettiette's claim that her lawsuit rose from issues in Palowsky's lawsuit against Campbell and five judges (Sharp, Amman, Rambo, Jones and Judge Stephens Winters). Marchman's lawsuit concerned actions taken against her outside of Palowsky's litigation, she claimed in her May 15 memorandum.
“Judge Marchman's claims do not 'arise out of' Palowsky v. Campbell,” stated Marchman's memorandum. “Instead they 'arise out of' the retaliation and actions to which she has been subjected due to her efforts to reveal payroll fraud, document destruction, and the conspiracy to conceal same, at Fourth JDC. While said payroll fraud, document destruction, and conspiracy might have been raised in Palowsky v. Campbell, Judge Marchman's causes of actions do not arise from that suit. They arise from Defendants' actions taken against her.”
Pettiette previously asked U.S. District Court Judge Maurice Hicks Jr. to dismiss Marchman's claims against him, arguing he had acted on behalf of the state and was thus granted immunity under the 11th Amendment.
“His argument is flawed in several respects,” Marchman's memorandum stated.
Marchman's lawsuit outlines several points as to why her attorneys, Joe Ward of Covington and Sedric Banks of Monroe, do not believe the 11th Amendment grants Pettiette immunity from the judge's claims. Among Marchman's reasons are several instances of case law that say state officials are barred from enjoying immunity under certain claims for relief when those same officials are accused of violating federal laws.
In support of her request for injunctive relief, Marchman amended her lawsuit last week to reiterate a previously stated position that actions by Pettiette and other defendants “remain ongoing.”
“Thus, Pettiette's argument that Judge Marchman made no allegations of ongoing violations is inaccurate as well as moot,” her memorandum stated.
In Marchman's amendment to her lawsuit, she also stated she was not seeking monetary damages recovered from the state treasury, but from the defendants, personally, who acted “under color of law” while violating her constitutional rights.
“Consequently, because Judge Marchman is not seeking to recover damages from the state for Pettiette's actions, but is instead seeking to recover from him personally, there is absolutely no 11th Amendment bar to her claims against Pettiette in his individual capacity for actions he took under color of law,” Marchman's memorandum stated.