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Palowsky takes aim at more defendants



MONROE, La. – Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III says he may expand his lawsuit against several Fourth Judicial District Court officials to show how the defendants and possibly other judges tried to influence a special appointed judge and tampered with witnesses.

Palowsky levied that volley in a pleading last week that asked a special appointed judge to stay or suspend all motions in his lawsuit until the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Shreveport hears an appeal in the case.

Palowsky’s lawsuit, Stanley R. Palowsky III and others v. Allyson Campbell and others, was initiated in 2015, or months after Palowsky first alleged that law clerk Allyson Campbell concealed or destroyed a handful of documents he filed at the court in a racketeering lawsuit against a former business partner in an environmental remediation enterprise.

In the Campbell lawsuit, Palowsky also accused five judges, including Fred Amman, Ben Jones, Wilson Rambo, Carl Sharp and Stephens Winters, of conspiring to conceal Campbell’s activities at the court. Amman, Jones and Sharp retired have retired since the lawsuit began in 2015, though Jones still serves as the court administrator.

Currently, the parties in the Campbell lawsuit are conducting discovery—gathering evidence ahead of a trial—and awaiting an opportunity to present arguments to the Second Circuit about a protective order restricting the discovery process.

As requested by Campbell and the defendant judges, retired Judge Jerry Barbera, of Thibodaux, issued a protective order in September 2019 that limits the public nature of information gleaned during discovery. Barbera is presiding over the Campbell lawsuit as an ad hoc judge.

Barbera’s protective order also compels Palowsky to notify the defendants of what questions they might face during depositions—out of court testimony—more than a week before any such deposition.

Recently, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to rule on the merits of Palowsky’s case—without a public trial. Summary judgment pertains to the legal claims, where there are no disputed facts.

According to Palowsky, the defendants sought summary judgment because they did not want any facts about their conduct brought to light.

Neither Campbell nor the defendant judges have been deposed.

That meant the defendants’ recent motion for summary judgment was simply an attempt to escape deposition before a higher court considered arguments about Barbera’s protective order, according to Palowsky’s April 19 motion to stay defendants’ motions for summary judgment.

“Such discovery has, now, panicked defendants into rushing to this court with summary judgment motions, prior to any further discovery in a hurried motion to have their dispositive motions heard prior to adequate discovery,” stated Palowsky’s memorandum.

Under the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is improper until “after adequate discovery.”

Thus far, Palowsky has deposed seven people as witnesses.

Palowsky’s memorandum also noted that Barbera previously issued a stay on all discovery so that Campbell and the five defendant judges could argue whether Palowsky could even sue them. Campbell and the judges’ legal attempts to establish judicial immunity as a shield to any civil damages failed at the appellate court level and at the state Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied the defendant judges’ request to grant them legal protection from Palowsky’s lawsuit.

“Meanwhile, for the last six years, defendants have used taxpayer monies to keep this case tied up with non-prevailing arguments in this court, Second Circuit Court of Appeal, First Circuit Court of Appeal, Louisiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, causing undue delays and expense,” stated Palowsky’s memorandum.

The defendants enjoyed the protection of a stay of all discovery to pursue their judicial immunity challenges in the court system, but Palowsky has not benefited from any such stay. Instead, Barbera has frequently urged Palowsky to continue discovery and has declined to delay the trial, which is currently set for August.

In his April 19 motion, Palowsky suggested the Second Circuit had no business considering his legal challenge of Barbera’s protective order.

That would be the case because Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Sharon Marchman—who was one of the seven witnesses deposed—testified that Second Circuit Chief Judge Milton Moore III, of Monroe, had exhibited bias toward Palowsky in previous cases.

According to Marchman’s testimony, Moore also called and scolded First Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Michael McDonald for ruling in Palowsky’s favor in the businessman’s lawsuit against local court officials. Marchman had testified that McDonald told her Moore called him at a time when Campbell had a pending motion before the First Circuit.

In light of testimony that Moore contacted a judge on a panel deciding a matter in Palowsky v. Campbell, Palowsky suggested an “en banc recusal of the Second Circuit may be in order.”

Palowsky’s motion last week also took aim at Monroe attorney Jon Guice, who represents the five defendant judges. Palowsky’s memorandum claimed Guice “orchestrated, if not, directed and counseled cover up and misprision” alleged in the Campbell lawsuit.

In his motion, Palowsky also appeared to allude to the addition of other judges to the Campbell lawsuit as defendants as well as the expansion of claims against Campbell and/or the judges.

“Lastly, plaintiffs show that upon information and belief, certain presently named defendants and/or potential defendant judges may have contacted ad hoc judge(s) and/or witnesses with the intent to influence the outcome of this or related litigation involving plaintiff,” stated Palowsky’s memorandum.

Once the Second Circuit ruled on Barbera’s protective order, Palowsky said he would proceed with discovery to expose “such wrongdoing” and possibly amend his lawsuit to assert additional claims.