The Monroe businessman whose civil lawsuit sparked an Inspector General investigation of the Fourth Judicial District Court sued the law clerk Wednesday who is accused of destroying or concealing court documents involving the businessman’s lawsuit against a former business partner.
Plaintiff's attorneys Joe Ward of Covington and Sedric Banks of Monroe filed the lawsuit on behalf of Stanley R. Palowsky III. Palowsky's lawsuit claims Allyson Campbell, a law clerk for Judge Wilson Rambo, “maliciously and intentionally harmed” Palowsky in his suit against his former business partner, W. Brandon Cork.
During the pursuance of the lawsuit, Stanley R. Palowsky III vs. W. Brandon Cork and others, Campbell was accused of destroying or withholding documents filed with the court. Rambo presided over that lawsuit until Ward and Banks filed a motion to recuse him from the case. Ward’s and Banks’ allegations against Campbell were at the heart of the recusal motion.
Palowsky's accusations against Campbell in Stanley R. Palowsky III vs. Allyson Campbell claim Campbell “spoliated, concealed, removed, destroyed, shredded, withheld and/or improperly 'handled' court documents such as memoranda of law, orders, pleadings, sealed court documents and chamber copies of pleadings filed with the clerk and hand-delivered to the judge's office.”
“Campbell's wrongdoing has been reported time and again by different attorneys in different cases and investigated time and again by this Court but nevertheless has been allowed to continue,” Palowsky's suit says. “It is now painfully apparent that she has been unsupervised and uncontrollable for years.”
Palowsky's suit accusing Campbell of intentional tort, abuse of process and the violation of his constitutional rights emerged amidst a swirling controversy involving the district court. The state's Office of Inspector General is working with Fourth Judicial District Attorney Jerry Jones' office in an investigation of the district court. Court officials have said they would cooperate with any investigation. The investigation was partly prompted by a criminal complaint filed with the district attorney’s office by The Ouachita Citizen. The newspaper filed the complaint after the district court refused to release public records that could have shed some light on allegations that Campbell had destroyed court filings. The newspaper's complaint also stemmed from an audit of the district court that referred to payroll discrepancies among court employees. The district court sued The Ouachita Citizen for declaratory judgment over whether the public records requested by the newspaper could be lawfully released. An ad hoc judge ruled the public records were protected from release because Campbell’s right to privacy outweighed the public’s right to know.
In his lawsuit against Campbell, Palowsky requested a jury trial. He also requested that all Fourth Judicial District Court judges recuse themselves from the matter since Campbell is an employee of the court. Palowsky is seeking to be compensated for any and all damages he and his business, Alternative Environmental Solutions Inc. (AESI), have “suffered as the result of Campbell's fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, abuse of process, destruction or concealment of public records, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of his Louisiana constitutional rights of due process and access to the courts.” In his lawsuit against his former business partner Cork, Palowsky claimed he and AESI lost millions of dollars.
Many of the details in Palowsky's lawsuit against Campbell concern filings of court documents by his attorneys, Ward and Banks, that ultimately came up missing. Some of the court documents in question include documents and pleadings submitted not only to the district court but to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. Palowsky's lawsuit also points to Campbell's “bias, favoritism and praise” for Thomas M. Hayes III, a Monroe lawyer who is representing Cork in Stanley R. Palowsky III vs. W. Brandon Cork and others. According to Palowsky’s suit, the “bias, favoritism and praise” for Hayes were exhibited previously in Campbell’s regular Sunday social column published by The News-Star. Palowsky’s suit also points to Campbell's praise in her social column of Second Circuit Judge Milton Moore.
“Many of Palowsky's filings went missing from the record and/or were withheld from Judge Rambo in status conferences and hearings,” Palowsky's suit states. “Such actions by Campbell of repeatedly and maliciously withholding and concealing 'missing' court documents were part of a proven pattern of misconduct outside the course and scope of her duties as a law clerk but under the color of law.”
Some situations described in Palowsky's lawsuit involve records that appear to have never reached Rambo's office. When Ward and Banks filed a motion to recuse Rambo with a supporting memorandum, Rambo held a status conference and “expressed his extreme displeasure” to counsel that Palowsky had filed a motion to recuse without a supporting memo, according to Palowsky's lawsuit.
“Counsel for AESI and Palowsky advised Judge Rambo that was exactly why they were asking him to recuse himself, i.e., because their filings were obviously being intercepted before he could read them,” Palowsky's suit states.
A list of missing records and the circumstances surrounding them is contained in Stanley R. Palowsky III vs. Allyson Campbell, which can be found online at www.ouachitacitizen.com
In Palowsky's lawsuit, he says he learned that Campbell had been investigated by Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Carl Sharp as well as by Judge Ben Jones, who retired from the bench and now serves as the district court's administrator. The investigations conducted by the two judges pertained to Campbell's involvement in the “destruction of court documents in another matter as set forth in a written complaint filed against her by Monroe attorney Cody Rials,” according to Palowsky's suit.
“Her (Campbell's) conduct was corroborated by an eyewitness interviewed by Judge Sharp who stated that Campbell boasted in a local bar that she had, indeed, shredded or withheld a court document in order to cause loss, injury, or inconvenience to Rials,” Palowsky's suit states. “This clearly showed Palowsky that Campbell, the law clerk assigned to his case, had aptly demonstrated that she was beyond supervision let alone discipline.”