Rodock v. Eaves et al
MEMORANDUM RULING re 14 MOTION for Hearing re 7 MOTION to Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim Judge C. Anthony Eaves MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction , 8 MOTION to Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim filed by Pauli ne Moss Rodock, 22 MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint, MOTION for Audio Recording Order for Evidence filed by Pauline Moss Rodock, 7 MOTION to Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim Judge C. Anthony Eaves MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Ju risdiction filed by Anthony Eaves, 8 MOTION to Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim filed by State of Louisiana, 13 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Pauline Moss Rodock, 21 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order MOTIO N for Preliminary Injunction filed by Pauline Moss Rodock, 15 MOTION to Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim Judge C. Anthony Eaves and State of Louisiana MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction filed by Anthony Eaves, State of Louisiana, 2 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Pauline Moss Rodock. Signed by Chief Judge S Maurice Hicks, Jr on 12/4/2017. (crt,McDonnell, D)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LAKE CHARLES DIVISION
PAULINE MOSS RODOCK
CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-0825
JUDGE S. MAURICE HICKS, JR.
C. ANTHONY EAVES, ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE KAY
This matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay for
Report and Recommendation. After an independent review of the record and a de novo
review of the objections, this Court concludes that the Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation is correct and adopts the findings and conclusions therein as its own.
The Court writes below to address the objections raised by Plaintiff Pauline Moss Rodock
(“Rodock”) (Record Document 19) and the remaining issue raised in Defendants’ Second
Motion to Dismiss (record Document 15).
The only specific objection Rodock raises to the Report and Recommendation
involves paragraph forty-five of her Amended Complaint where she describes the
circumstances of Defendant Judge C. Anthony Eaves’ (“Eaves”) 1 phone call to her
physician. 2 Rodock claims that Eaves called her physician for the purpose of learning
her personal information, and that such action was nonjudicial and, thus, does not provide
is the presiding judge in Rodock’s child custody case in the 30th Judicial District
Court, Parish of Vernon, State of Louisiana. See Record Documents 1 and 13.
Court notes that Rodock cites this Court’s treatment of Viator v. Wendell, 2:03-cv1273, in support of her arguments for injunctive relief, asserting that her claims are
identical to a majority of claims in that case. See Record Document 19 at 3-4. However,
the claims in Viator involved harassment and discrimination claims arising from a personal
relationship between the parties outside of the confines of court proceedings presided
over by the defendant judge. See Complaint (Record Document 1), 2:03-cv-1273.
Accordingly, the Court does not find Viator persuasive.
Eaves with judicial immunity. See Record Document 19 at 2-3. Rodock alleges the
following pertinent facts in her Amended Complaint. On August 8, 2017, she received an
order from Eaves for a status hearing in her case, scheduled for the next day. See Record
Document 13 at 19. The next day, Rodock’s physician faxed a “notice of bed rest/home
bound” to the Vernon Parish Court. See id. at 19-20. Eaves’ secretary called Rodock’s
physician “for additional information.” Id. at 20. According to Rodock, when Eaves’
secretary did not obtain the additional information, Eaves himself called the physician
from his cell phone and demanded to know the what was Rodock’s illness. See id. When
the physician did not provide the information, Eaves threatened to send a subpoena. See
id. Rodock claims that Eaves said that she was “out and about” and also told her
physician that “there’s no motion to continue … she has to be in court today …[.]” Id.
Rodock contends that such action on the part of Eaves was not a judicial action. See id.
As aptly stated in the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, to
determine whether an action was judicial, Fifth Circuit courts look to the following factors:
(1) Whether the precise act complained of is a normal judicial
function; (2) whether the acts occurred in the courtroom or
appropriate adjunct spaces such as the judge’s chambers; (3)
whether the controversy centered around a case pending
before the court; and (4) whether the acts arose directly out of
a visit to the judge in her official capacity. The test factors
should be broadly construed in favor of finding that immunity
Jones v. Louisiana, No. 13-379, 2013 WL 5125279, at *2 (M.D. La. Sept. 12, 2013) (citing
Adams v. McIlhany, 764 F.2d 294, 297 (5th Cir. 1985)). Under the first factor, the Court
“examine[s] the ‘nature and function’ of the act, not the act itself. The Court is to look to
the particular act’s relation to a general function normally performed by a judge.” Malina
v. Gonzales, 994 F.2d 1121, 1124 (5th Cir. 1993).
It is clear from Rodock’s recitation of the facts that the call involved elements
related to the court’s scheduling and case management function, a normal judicial
function. See La. C. Civ. P. § 1551. Thus, the first factor is met. The remaining factors
are met because: (a) the controversy centered around a status hearing before Eaves,
scheduled for the same day; (b) the act arose directly out of the receipt of Rodock’s
physician’s fax to the court stating that Rodock was on bed rest; and (c) though Rodock
emphasizes that Eaves called from his cell phone, considering the fact that the matter
was a scheduling issue involving the future attendance of Rodock in court that day,
considering the fact that the first call was made by Eaves’ secretary who was
unsuccessful in obtaining the information sought, and considering the technologically
modern times in which we live, the location of Eaves upon making the call does not defeat
immunity. Accordingly, Rodock’s attempt to state a claim against Eaves for his call to her
physician fails because Eaves has judicial immunity.
Finally, to the extent that Rodock attempts to make a claim in her Amended
Complaint for injunctive relief to prevent Eaves from communicating with her due to the
pendency of the instant lawsuit (Record Document 13 at 18-20), the Court notes that this
claim was raised in Defendants’ second Motion to Dismiss (Record Document 15) and
not addressed in the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation as to Defendants’
first Motions to Dismiss (Record Documents 7 and 8). The Court finds that such claims
are rendered MOOT by the dismissal of Rodock’s other claims and will GRANT
IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Defendant C. Anthony
Eaves’ Motions to Dismiss (Record Documents 7 and 15) are GRANTED and all claims
against him are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Defendant State
of Louisiana’s Motions to Dismiss (Record Documents 8 and 15) are GRANTED and all
claims against it are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE for lack of jurisdiction.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that placeholder
Defendant John Doe shall be stricken from the docket sheet as Rodock raises no claims
against this defendant and does not object to such action.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Rodock’s Motion
for Injunctive Relief (Record Document 2), Amended Motion for Injunctive Relief (Record
Document 13), Motion for Hearing on Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss (Record Document
14), Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Motion for Preliminary Injunction
(Record Document 21), and Motion to Amend/Correct Complaint and Motion for Audio
Recording Order for Evidence (Record Document 22) are DENIED AS MOOT.
The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.
THUS DONE AND SIGNED, in Shreveport, Louisiana, this 4th day of December,
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