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DIVISION"

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RONDALLREYNOSO

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9TH JUDICIAIJ DISTRICT COURT I

P ARlSH OF ~IDES

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STATE OF LOJlJISIANA i I·

VERSUS

LOUISIANA COLLEGE

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PETITION FOR DAMAGES AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

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NOW INTO COURT, through undersigned counsel, co~tes plaintiff herein,

Randall Reynoso, who, with respect, shows the Court: : i

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I. PARTIES I

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1. Plaintiff herein, Randall Reynoso (HReynoso" or "Plaintiff'), is of the age

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of majority and is a resident and domiciliary of Rap ides Parish, Louisiana.

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2. Defendant herein, Louisiana College ("LC"or "Defendant") IS a

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Louisiana non-profit corporation, which may be served through its 'duly registered agent I

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for service of process, Dr. Joe Aguillard, 1140 College Drive, Pineville, Louisiana 71359.

II. FACTS'

3. At all times pertinent herein, Reynoso was a full-time faculty member in

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the Art Department at LC under contract until May 14, 20 II.

4. On April 1, 2011, Reynoso received a letter from L~ advising that his

employment with LC had been terminated effective April 1,2011 due: to the contents of a

letter sent to various persons, as is Reynoso's, First Amendment Right, all without any

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due process rights afforded Reynoso under law orin conjunction wit~ LC's own Faculty

Handbook. This communication also requested that Reynoso sign the document, which also precluded certain conduct even after termination. That letter is attached as "Exhibit

A."

5. When Reynoso refused to sign the letter (Exhibit "A")? Reynoso received

a letter from Dr. Tim Searcy ("Searcy"), Vice President of Acad~mic Affairs, dated April 5, 2011, which advised Reynoso advising that his employment was severed effective

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April S, 2011. (A copy of that letter is attached hereto as ExhIbit "B")

Re~oso v. LC STAMP tOPY ~ElURKED

Petition 05-05-11P019 ti-CEDL

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5, 2011, which advised Reynoso advising that his employment was severed effective !

April 5, 2011. (A copy of that letter is attached hereto as Exhibit "~"~

6. Searcy did not have the legal authority to fire Reynoso (only recommend

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termination), nor was Reynoso provided any due process rights of appeal in Exhibit "B"

as provided for by law and pursuant to the Louisiana College Handho~k.

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6. The LC Faculty Handbook provides for the due iprocess rights to be

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afforded a faculty member who is recommended for termination] by LC. Pertinent

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provisions of that Faculty Handbook (~2.7.4) are attached as Exhibit 'lC."

Paragraph 2.7.4 provides for the following process:

(a)

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After discussions with the Administration havelnot resolved the

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issue, the Vice President of Academia Affairs shall give the faculty

member a letter informing him of his "proposed" dismissal.

(b)

The faculty member then has seven (7) days from receipt of the letter to request a hearing before the Faculty Affairs Advisory Committee.

(c)

At such hearing, the faculty member has the following rights:

(i) the right to receive notice of such hearing at least 72 hours in advance;

(ii) the right to be present at the hearing;

(iii) the right to testify and present witnesses on his behalf;

(iv) the right to have outside counsel presentbut said counsel cannot present his client's case (a further violation of the faculty member's right to counsel in the defense of a property right).

(v) the right to written notice of the Committee's decision within 48 hours of the conclusion ofthe hearing;

(vi) the right to receive a copy of a typewritten transcript of the hearing without cost with 7 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing.

7. The following day, Reynoso received a letter from Shannon Tassin,

Director of Human Resources / Payroll at LC, advising that Reynoso's medical coverage

had been terminated, despite the lack of due process afforded to determine whether

Reynoso should be terminated. A copy of that letter is attached as Exhibit "D." ( 6c.h;b:.F' E" J

8. Counsel herein for Reynoso sent a letter to Searcy dated April D, 201i

contrary to due process rights

afforded at law and pursuant to the LC Faculty Handbook; (2) Searcy had overstepped his

Reynoso v. LC Petition

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authority by outright terminating Reynoso (rather than just recomm'pnd termination); (3) , 1

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that the letter (Exhibit "D") did not state with "reasonable particularity" the basis for his

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termination as required under the Faculty Handbook; and (4) gavYlnotice of Reynoso's

desire to fully exhaust his administrative remedies afforded under ili~ Faculty Handbook.

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9. In response, Searcy, in an undated letter received by Reynoso on April13,

2011 (Exhibit "f') setting forth in some "particularity" the bUis for the intended 1

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termination of Reynosa. ! I

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10. On April 25, 2011, Counsel for Reynosa wrote a resP!onse letter to Searcy

once again advising of Reynoso's desire for the hearing before the Faculty Affairs

( r. h' \ ,+1\ n ")

Advisory Committee. eX Itl' ~

The hearing before the Faculty Affairs Advisory Coriuhittee began on May

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12. Numerous illegal and unconstitutional actions bt ~epresentatives and

counsel on behalf ofLC occurred on the first day of hearing, to-wit:' I

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Despite a property right being at issue, and desJite the deprivation of constitutional rights afforded at law and befote the Faculty

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Handbook; LC has compelled Reynosa to put' fqrth his evidence

first, rather than in defense ofLC's intended termination;

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Without subpoena power, Reynoso cannot call ~tudents on his behalf to testify for fear of recrimination and.retaliation against

them by the administration or faculty at LC; I

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4,2011 and was continued until 12:00 p.m. on May 5,2011.

(a)

(b)

(c)

That a member of the committee has recused himself for fear of retaliation and claims of insubordination by the ~dministration at 1

LC; I

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That LC case is being presented by President Joe Aguillard, who

would review the case following the decision ofthe Committee;

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That hearsay evidence was going to be excluded] despite its admissibility at all administrative proceedings; 'i.

(d)

(e)

(t)

The Committee was not given LC's statement of charges against Reynoso until after the proceedings had begun. '

III. CAUSES OF ACTION

A.

Violation of Freedom of Speech and Expression

Reynoso v. LC Petition

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13. The allegations of paragraphs 1 through 12~ inclusive, are incorporated

herein as set forth in extenso.

14. LC's allegations against Reynoso violate his First lJnendment rights of

freedom of speech and expression.

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B. Violation of Procedural and Substantive Due Prucess'Rights under the

United States and Louisiana Constitutions i II .

15. The allegations of paragraphs 1 through 12, inclusite, are incorporated

herein asset forth in extenso. ' l

16. LC' s actions deprive Reynoso of due process safegu~~s so that he and the

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Committee are given notice of the charges and an opportunity to t fairly and adequately

defend against intended termination without threat of recrimination L retailiation by LC

against witnesses or committee members.

D. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

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The allegations of fact contained in paragraphs 1 through 13, inclusive, are

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incorporated herein as though set forth herein in extensor.

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18. Through the extreme and outrageous conduct of LC herein, Plaintiff has

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suffered injury to their personal, public and professional reputation, embarrassment,

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mental anguish, suffering as well as pecuniary loss and loss of income, for which they

seek damages against defendants, in solido, for such amounts as this court, or the ultimate

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finder of fact, may deem appropriate.

C. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

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19. The allegations of paragraph 1 through 44, inclusive, are incorporated

herein as set forth in extenso.

20. In the alternative, Reynoso avers that LC has caused great emotional harm

and mental distress to him.

21. As a result of the negligent actions . referenced above, defendants have

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breached a lawful duty pursuant to LSA-C.C.§2315"and as a result, Reynoso has suffered

injury to . her personal, public and professional reputation; embarrassment, mental

Reynoso v. LC Petition

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anguish, suffering as well as pecuniary loss and loss of fUhu-e inco~e arid/or impairment i

of earning capacity as a result of his unjustified and unlawful termin~tion of employment,

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for which she seeks damages against LC for such amounts as this! bourt, or the ultimate

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finder of fact, may deem appropriate.

III. REMEDIES SOUGHT

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Plaintiffs seek and are entitled to those damages Wh~C~l are just and true in

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these premises, including, but not limited to:

(a) mental anguish and grief, past present and future;

(b) emotional distress, past present and future;

( c) lost wages;

(d) impairment of future income;

(e) injury to public reputation;

(f) embarrassment and humiliation.

35. Reynoso seeks and is entitled to specific performance and adherence to

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the Faculty Handbook,

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complete adherence to her

23. Reynoso seeks and is entitled to full and

substantive and procedural due process rights afforded under i.the United States

Constitution and the Louisiana Constitution.

24. Reynoso seeks and is entitle to damages for infringem,ent and deprivation

of her rights to free speech, guaranteed under the 1 st Amendment t6 the United States

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Constitution and Article 1, Section 7 of the Louisiana State Constitutidn.

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25. Because LC's actions have caused immediate. and irreparable harm,

Reynoso seeks and is entitled to the issuance of a temporary injunction directed to LC

ordering LC (including any and all administrative employee, faculty member, member of

the Board of Trustees, attorney, agent or any other employee or servant of LC) to do or

not to do the following acts:

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(a) Stay the hearings currently before the Faculty Affairs Advisory

Committee, until a formal hearing" can be had to address the constitutional and due process rights of Reynoso before further deprivation of those rights occurs; and

Reynoso v. LC Page 5 of 1 I

Petition

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(b) Compel LC to continue payment of all wages: 'i and benefits previously available to Reynoso pursuant to his contract,

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26, Reynoso is entitled to the issuance of a preliminaryiinjunction against LC

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(including any and all administrative employee, faculty member, member of the Board of

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Trustees, attorney, agent or any other employee or servant of LC) 4rrering it to do or not

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to do the following: I 'I

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(a)

Stay the hearings currently before the Faculty Affairs Advisory Co~itt~e, until a formal hea~ng can be had ~dl address the constitutional and due process nghts of Reynoso lbefore further

. deprivation of those rights occurs; and ! I

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Compel LC to continue payment of all wages. 'land benefits

previously available to Reynoso pursuant to his contra1pt.

(b)

IV. REQUEST FOR TRIAL BY ~Y

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41. Reynoso alleges that damages that she has suffered a,n~ endured to date, as

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well as into the future, greatly exceed the jurisdictional amount for trial by jury, therefore,

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Reynoso requests that all issues herein be tried by jury.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs pray:

1. That defendant be served with a copy of the Petition and be duly cited to appear and answer same.

2. That after due proceedings are had and trial hereof, there be judgment herein in favor' of plaintiffs and against defendant, for all damages which are deemed to be just, due and owing in these premises, as well as legal interest on all sums from

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date of judicial demand until paid, with all costs of court and

reasonable attorney fees being assessed against defendants.

3. That a temporary restraining order issue herein to defendant herein, Louisiana College, compelling it to do or not to do those acts set forth in this petition.

4. That defendant be ordered to show cause on a date and time set by this Honorable Court why a preliminary injunction should not issue compelling defendant to do or notto those acts set forth above in the petiton.

5. That a permanent injunction issue ultimately issue to defendant in the same form and effect as tile preliminary injunction.

6. For all just, full and equitable relief.

Reynoso v. LC Page 6 of 11

Petition

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7. That all issues be tried by jury.

Respectfully submitted;

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SOOTER & ASSOCIA.TES a ility Cornp I

BY: ~~~~~~~~~~

Victor H. Sooter I

Bar Roll No. 12263 P.O. Box 1671. I Alexandria, LA] 71309

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(318) 448-8301! I

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAlINTIFF

Reynoso v. LC Petition

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