A special assistant attorney general who faces claims in Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman's lawsuit in federal district court argued Marchman has failed to explain how the attorney is continuing to violate her constitutional rights.
That was the gist of a pleading filed last week by Lawrence Pettiette, a Shreveport attorney, who is a defendant in Sharon Ingram Marchman v. Brian Crawford and others.
Marchman filed her lawsuit in U.S. District Court in April, accusing Pettiette, law clerk Allyson Campbell, some judges of the Fourth Judicial District Court and others of conspiring and retaliating against her. Marchman claims the defendants targeted her because of her efforts to uncover payroll fraud and the destruction of court documents, allegedly committed by Campbell.
Pettiette was appointed as a special assistant attorney general by then-Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to represent Campbell in a lawsuit pursued against the law clerk by Monroe businessman Stanley R. Palowsky III in Fourth Judicial District Court. Palowsky accused Campbell of taking pay for unworked hours and of destroying or concealing documents that Palowsky’s attorneys had filed with the court in another matter.
In her lawsuit in federal court, Marchman named Pettiette and Caldwell as defendants, claiming the two joined an effort to retaliate against her and did so by filing pleadings that falsely accused her of illegal acts. Pettiette argues those alleged actions occurred and do not represent any continuing violations.
Pettiette filed his motion to dismiss Marchman's claims against him earlier this month. Marchman responded by amending her original petition in federal court as well as by submitting a memorandum specifically challenging the motion to dismiss. Marchman claimed Pettiette's violations “remain ongoing.”
Pettiette claimed the 11th Amendment protected him from civil claims since he was acting on behalf of the state. In her response, Marchman argued state officials cannot enjoy immunity when they are accused of breaking federal laws.
Pettiette also contends Marchman's request for injunctive relief against him has no legal grounds because he's not involved in any ongoing violations of her constitutional rights, according to his Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss, filed May 20.
“(Marchman) does not allege any substantial and immediate irreparable harm from the supposed ongoing violations, the inadequacy of any remedy at law, nor does she describe the alleged violations she hopes to proscribe,” Pettiette's reply memorandum stated.
According to Pettiette, Marchman amended her petition to concede that most of her claims against Pettiette in his official capacity were “not cognizable” in federal court.
“She alleges discrete past acts of behavior she asserts violated the U.S. Constitution, but fails to sufficiently allege any ongoing violation of her constitutional rights which would allow this Court to exercise its limited jurisdictional grant,” Pettiette's reply memorandum stated.
Other defendants in Marchman's lawsuit in federal court are Fourth Judicial District Court judges Carl Sharp, Fred Amman, Wilson Rambo and court administrator Ben Jones as well as Monroe attorneys Brian Crawford and Jon Guice.