Billy Broussard, who, on Monday, January 30, 2023, indicated that a lawsuit against St. Martin Parish Sheriff Becket Breaux for alleged violations of Broussard’s constitutional rights may be in the offing in the near future.
It has been a while since we reported upon any of the three (3) defamation lawsuits filed by Billy Broussard.
That fact is largely attributable to the fact that 16th JDC Judge Roger Hamilton recused himself from the two cases which were assigned to him in asserting that he had represented Broussard in the past and worked with Louisiana State Police Trooper Scott Lopez during Hamilton’s tenure as Assistant District Attorney in 15th JDC. Basically, all hearings previously set wherein Hamilton was judge had to be reset to other dates upon the matters being assigned to new judges.
On Thursday, February 2, 2023 the first hearing of all the defamation cases will be argued before Judge Lewis Pitman. That hearing entails the suit in which Broussard sued LSP Trooper Scott Lopez and his son, Benjamin. Broussard is pro se, while Lopez and Lopez retained attorney Eric Timothy Haik to represent him. Attorney Ali LeBlanc, who appears to be “of counsel” with Haik’s firm also later enrolled as co-counsel to go head-to-head with Broussard.
In the suit, Lopez and Lopez filed a Motion to Compel certain financial records from Broussard as well as a full listing of Broussard’s trucks in his possession.
Broussard, in turn, on Monday, January 23, 2023, filed this Memorandum in Opposition to Lopez & Lopez’s Motion to Compel.
Broussard sat down with us on Monday, January 30, 2023 and talked about the upcoming hearing and, importantly, spoke very candidly about the fact that he has in no way ruled out a lawsuit against St. Martin Parish Sheriff Becket Breaux (himself a former LSP Trooper). Broussard is dismayed by what he assesses as Breaux’s alleged violation of Broussard’s constitutional rights. Broussard alleges Breaux (or underlings in his office for whom Breaux maintains accountability for such actions) engaged in those alleged constitutional rights violations via Breaux’s (underlings’) role(s) in allegedly colluding with Defendant Scott Lopez to effectuate what Broussard asserts is a baseless and groundless arrest of him in May of 2022.
Let’s take a few minutes to present just what all Broussard wanted to get off his chest entailing Breaux and/or his underlings and much more which he incorporated into the above-lined Opposition Memorandum by way of including the totality of Broussard’s discovery responses as an exhibit to the Memorandum:
1/30/23: Broussard reviews his litigation against LSP Trooper Scott Lopez and is candid in indicating that SMP Sheriff Becket Breaux may soon be hit with a lawsuit from Broussard as well.
Now let’s wrap this feature up with highlights from Broussard’s above Opposition Memorandum:
Despite Plaintiff’s extensive efforts to comply with Defendants’ Discovery Requests, Defendants continued to assert that they are entitled to financial documents which stretch beyond the dates that even the IRS is entitled to audit and for which Plaintiff is required to maintain!
In an abundance of cooperation and attempts to appease Defendants, Plaintiff provided the name of his CPA. Defendants are presently attempting to serve a subpoena upon Plaintiff’s CPA for the records sought, and Defendants have indicated via email that, with that subpoena and associated deposition of Plaintiff’s CPA scheduled for Monday, February 13, 2023, the matter of Plaintiff’s financial records for purposes of this Motion to Compel should be considered “moot,” and Plaintiff has indicated to Defendants a willingness to do just that.
As a result of that vote, largely influenced by Defendants’ blatantly defamatory statements, and the resulting confirmation by the full St. Martin Parish Council, a likely-illegal Temporary Restraining Order was issued against Plaintiff on or around March 6, 2022. Absent those votes, which were heavily impacted by the defamatory, false, and malicious statements by Defendant Scott Lopez, that Restraining Order would simply not have been issued and Plaintiff could have continued his activities unabated.
The Restraining Order and the ensuing Preliminary Injunction, all of which were heavily influenced by Defendants’ blatantly defamatory and malicious statements made about Plaintiff at the January 6, 2022 St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning meeting, have resulted in Plaintiff having to increase his bids on jobs from the effective date of the likely-illegal Restraining Order through the present date. Plaintiff submits an itemization of the jobs entailing bids lost as a result of the necessity of having to increase those bids to offset the higher haul off costs associated with the bids, all of which resulted in Plaintiff not obtaining the jobs associated with those bids.
That itemization of jobs lost and the incorporated gross profit margin of those lost jobs (at a rate of 65 percent, which is Plaintiff’s historical average profitability on jobs he obtains) is attached hereto and made a part hereof as Exhibit “B.” The final itemization of damages incurred through October 22, 2022 totals $443,975 in lost jobs, with the profitability thereof totaling $287,163.75.
Upon Plaintiff’s CPA being able to provide Defendants Scott Lopez and Benjamin Lopez with the 2022 profit and loss statement as they seek along with the same statement for 2021, Defendants will be taken aback as they see first-hand the devastating adverse financial impact their blatantly false, defamatory, and malicious statements about Plaintiff had on his livelihood in 2022 vis-à-vis 2021, a year in which Plaintiff suffered no financial impact whatsoever because St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars permitted the 2021 Restraining Order to dissolve in fourteen days. Cedars further indicated that he merely wanted Plaintiff to go through the “process” of obtaining a Zoning Variance, which Plaintiff’s then-counsel, Michael Adley, emphatically indicated was in no way required because Plaintiff’s offloads of vegetative materials were all transpiring more than 500 feet from the road. Prior court testimony by St. Martin Parish Government attorney Allan “Sprinky” Durand has indicated that St. Martin Parish Government has zoning only for distances up to 500 feet from the road, and Durand further indicated that, beyond 500 feet from a road, there, “is no zoning.”
At any rate, in an attempt to appease Parish officials, most notably Parish President Chester Cedars, Plaintiff agreed to go through the “process” as a mere courtesy and, as Plaintiff’s then-attorney, Michal Adley, indicated, “an attempt at compromise.” Further, on the very day after the 2021 Temporary Restraining Order was permitted to dissolve (i.e. on or around September 15, 2021), then-St. Martin Parish Administrator Calder “Pop” Hebert, told Plaintiff and his then-attorney, Michal Adley, that, “We may have some token opposition, but we will be able to handle that.” Further, St. Martin Parish President, Chester Cedars, in an apparent belief that Plaintiff and he had essentially concluded the entire matter by Plaintiff merely going through the “process,” visited with Plaintiff and his then-attorney, Michael Adley, on that same date, on or around September 15, 2021, at which time Cedars stated to Plaintiff, “Mr. Broussard, I’m really glad we were able to get this situation worked out.”
Unfortunately, Defendants Scott Lopez and Benjamin Lopez badly tainted that “process” which Plaintiff agreed to embark upon as a courtesy to Parish officials when, on January 6, 2022, they made their false, malicious, and blatantly defamatory statements about Plaintiff at the St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning Committee meeting of that same date.
Thus, Plaintiff has instructed his CPA to provide Defendants with the 2022 profit and loss statement at the earliest possible date because Defendants are going to rue the day they ever asked for those statements, and Plaintiff is eager for them to be prepared by his CPA and provided to Defendants to demonstrate unequivocally the drastic impact their actions have inflicted upon Plaintiff.
With the financial statements aspect of the Motion to Compel mutually being considered “moot” by both Plaintiff and Defendants, Plaintiff now moves on to the one remaining item which forms the basis of Defendants’ Motion to Compel before this Honorable Court.
That item calls for an itemization of Plaintiff’s trucks in terms of registration forms to include color. Defendants claim they need that material in order to rule out the possibility that Plaintiff owns a “purple truck.” Defendants are unwilling to accept Plaintiff’s attestation to the fact that he owns no “purple truck.”
The importance of the “purple truck” is that Defendant Scott Lopez, among the many other falsehoods he uttered at the St. Martin Planning and Zoning meeting on January 6, 2022, stated that Plaintiff had permitted other tree service companies to haul in vegetative materials and had charged them for doing so. His statement was blatantly false and, when called upon by St. Martin Parish Government attorney Allan “Sprinky” Durand to back up his statement, Defendant Scott Lopez emphasized, with a camera rolling and capturing his every word, the fact that he had a picture of a “purple truck” which he falsely portrayed that Plaintiff had permitted to offload materials, and further falsely stated that Plaintiff had charged the owner of the truck to offload those vegetive materials.
That is the case because Defendant Scott Lopez has never one time challenged that the truck he (falsely) represented to the Committee was in fact the “purple truck” which he himself provided a photo of to St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning officials, namely former Chief Administrator Calder “Pop” Hebert via text (along with many other such texts to Hebert which will most certainly be introduced as evidence at trial). Never!
Sure sounds like Broussard is more than anxious for his CPA to get his financials into Haik’s hands, no?
Okay. Those are highlights from Broussard’s Opposition Memorandum. Now let’s proceed to some interesting responses to Haik’s discovery requests for which Broussard answered extensively. Let’s take a look:
INTERROGATORY NO. 6:
Please state whether you were using subject property located at 1675 Duchamp Road, Broussard, Louisiana, 70518, for commercial activity of any kind.
RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 6:
Plaintiff has stated on videotape at meetings of the St. Martin Parish Council that, “there is no commercial activity transpiring on this property.” Please refer to Sound Off Louisiana feature of September 6, 2021 which Defendant Scott Lopez notified St. Martin Parish Director of Administration Calder “Pop” Hebert of on the very next day, September 7, 2021 via text, with Hebert replying to Defendant Lopez’s text with, “Wasn’t much content for the length of production.”
INTERROGATORY NO. 7:
Please state whether an officer with the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Department served you with an arrest warrant as a result of a criminal investigation involving Defendant, BENJAMIN COLE LOPEZ.
RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 7:
As is evidenced by public records responses from the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, that office has, “no records responsive” to any investigation for “simple assault” notwithstanding the fact that Defendant Scott Lopez stated numerous times on Deputy Baily Romero ‘s body-cam video of April 25, 2022 that Plaintiff, “damn near assaulted my son.” Romero specifically stated to Plaintiff that Defendant LSP Trooper Scott Lopez, “wants you arrested for simple assault,” and Romero will be called as a witness at trial to substantiate that fact. Further, Ms. Mendy Girouard stated on body-cam video of St. Martin Parish Deputy Mathiew Alexander on or around May 4, 2022 that Plaintiff committed, “aggravated assault,” which is a statement she could have made only in speaking with either Defendant Scott Lopez and/or Defendant Benjamin Cole Lopez, either of whom would have engaged in blatant defamatory statements about Plaintiff in making any such claim about Plaintiff. While Plaintiff was arrested for a misdemeanor for one count of violation of LA R. S. 14:100.1 (Obstruction of Public Passage), District Attorney Duhe’ almost immediately declined to prosecute that charge; furthermore, retired law enforcement officers and attorneys with whom I have consulted, and whom I anticipate calling as witnesses at trial, have described that arrest as “baseless,” “trumped up,” and as, “a member of one law enforcement agency (the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Baily Romero) doing a ‘favor’ for another member of another law enforcement agency (Louisiana State Police’s Trooper Scott Lopez) and that such an action would have ‘never’ have been engaged in had the complaint Benjamin Cole Lopez’s father, Scott Lopez, not been an LSP Trooper who actively sought Plaintiff’s arrest.” Further, Plaintiff anticipates calling a retired Louisiana State Police Trooper who will testify to the fact that St. Martin Parish Deputy Baily Romero conducted a flawed interview of Benjamin Cole Lopez on April 25, 2022 when he asked him very leading questions of Benjamin Cole Lopez, and those questions and their responses (most especially, “He could have,”) are all captured on Deputy Baily Romero’s body-cam video, and that video will most certainly be introduced as evidence at trial in this matter. That retired LSP Trooper will further testify that the proper procedure would have been to take the matter to the DA; however, fearing the DA would decline to sign off on an arrest warrant application, St. Martin Parish Deputy Baily Romero opted to bypass the DA’s Office and instead submit the application directly to the judge assigned to hear this case, Judge Lewis Pittman. When Judge Pittman declined to approve the arrest warrant application, Deputy Romero then submitted the application to Judge deMahy who, for reasons only she can provide, opted to sign off on the arrest warrant within five (5) minutes of it being placed in front of her a little after 9 p.m. to seemingly indicate a sense of urgency in the need for my arrest. Public records requests of the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office have demonstrated only approximately three (3) instances in which the DA was bypassed and the arrest warrant directly submitted to the judge over the last several years, and every one of those entailed drug possession and/or possession with intent to distribute. That is the class of folk the collusion activities of Defendant Scott Lopez and St. Martin Parish Deputy Baily Romero debased Plaintiff into! In any event, Plaintiff continues to evaluate the possibility of pursuing a lawsuit against the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office for a blatant violation of Plaintiff’s Constitutional Rights entailing that arrest made possible only by the acts of collusion on the parts of Defendants Scott Lopez and Benjamin Cole Lopez and, in particular Defendant Scott Lopez’s collusion with St. Martin Parish Deputy Baily Romero to perhaps include individuals higher up on the food chain at the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office.
INTERROGATORY NO. 8:
Please state whether you are involved in any capacity with Robert Burns.
RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 8:
Mr. Burns is a video blogger and has been for seven years. Plaintiff discovered him when he Googled “FEMA fraud,” and an interview Burns conducted with Mr. Corey delaHoussaye came up. Plaintiff watched the video interview (which is about an hour in length) at a time with Mr. delaHoussaye was still facing criminal charges in 21st JDC. Plaintiff then contacted Mr. Burns, whom he had never before spoken with in his life, using the contact information readily available on his blog website which invites anyone to contact him if that individual, “has a concern about a Louisiana government operation.” That is how Plaintiff met Robert Burns, and Plaintiff’s involvement with him is identical to many other individuals with whom he has featured on his blog, all of which is readily assessable at www.SoundOffLA.com and which Defendant Scott Lopez is integrally familiar given the sheer number of texts that he sent to St. Martin Parish Director of Administration Calder “Pop” Hebert together with the commentary of either those two individuals accompanying texts with links for those features.
INTERROGATORY NO. 9:
Please state whether you are involved in any capacity with the media outlet “Sound Off Louisiana.com”. If so, please state your capacity.
RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 9:
As reflected in the response to Interrogatory # 8 above, Plaintiff’s involvement in Sound Off Louisiana is limited to being featured as the subject matter on posts of that blog no differently than many other individuals to include, but not be limited to: Corey delaHoussaye, Murphy Painter, Chester Cedars, Mendy Girouard, Congressman Garret Graves, U. S. Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana ACLU Legal Director Nora Ahmed, Community Activist Belinda Parker-Brown, Louisiana State Police Commission Member Jared Caruso-Riecke, Louisiana State Police Commission Member Eulis Simien, former Louisiana State Police Commission Executive Director Cathy Derbonne, former newspaper reporter Dwayne Fatherree, dentist C. Ryan Haygood, Mona Hardin (mother of Ronald Greene), numerous Louisiana State Troopers appearing before the Louisiana State Police Commission, attorney Jill Craft, convicted felon attorney Larry S. Bankston, former Cosmetology School Owner Nedla Dural, Cosmetology attorneys Sheri Morris and Celia Cangelosi, Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology Chairman Edwin Neill, Defendant Scott Lopez, State Rep. Richard Nelson, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Joelle Dubroc, Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street. There are many more, but this list will serve as a good start. Defendants can easily scroll through past posts to see many others at www.SoundOffLA.com.
INTERROGATORY NO. 10:
Please state whether you have assisted Sound Off Louisiana in writing disparaging and defamatory comments about Defendants, SCOTT MICHAEL LOPEZ and/or his son, BENJAMIN COLE LOPEZ.
RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 10:
Plaintiff denies having made any statement about either of the referenced defendants that is not fully and completely backed up by videos of Scott and Benjamin Lopez, documents executed by Scott and/or Benjamin Lopez, statements made to others (e.g. Blake Dubroc and Mendy Girouard) which are well documented by St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s reports; furthermore, Plaintiff’s complaint against Defendant Scott Lopez entailing his statements made on January 6, 2022 wherein Plaintiff contended Defendant Scott Lopez engaged in “Conduct Unbecoming of a Louisiana State Trooper” was in fact sustained by his employer, Louisiana State Police, and Trooper Lopez declined to pursue an appeal of that disciplinary decision by Louisiana State Police. If either Defendants are of the belief that Defamatory statements were made, they have the same remedy available to them that Plaintiff is presently pursuing the in the instant matter.
INTERROGATORY NO. 11:
Please state whether the attached Judgment (Exhibit A) was rendered against you ruling that you were using the subject property in a commercial capacity.
RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 11:
The judgment is the best evidence of its present contents; moreover, that judgment constitutes a Preliminary Injunction (notwithstanding Mendy Girouard’s false statements captured on videotape that, “the judge signed a Permanent Injunction earlier today”). Plaintiff is supremely confident in his ability to annul that judgment upon Plaintiff pursuing (on his own timetable) the Permanent Injunction hearing. Rest assured that, at that Court Hearing, Defendant Scott Lopez will be placed on the witness stand and grilled on all of the false and defamatory statements that he has made about Plaintiff, many of which are captured on videotape (e.g. “purple truck,” “damn near assaulted my son”) along with video refuting that outrageous and defamatory accusation entailing Defendant Benjamin Cole Lopez as evidenced by his act of driving back by Plaintiff and taunting him with his sarcastic statement (after rolling down his window of), “Hope you got a good picture (of me).”
We will point out one fact of which Broussard was not aware when he drafted the above responses, particularly as it concerns his response to Interrogatory # 10.
As we revealed on June 1, 2022, LSP’s newly-installed Captain of Internal Affairs, Saleem El-Amin, sustained Broussard’s contention that Lopez engaged in “Conducting Unbecoming an LSP Trooper” on January 6, 2022. However, subsequent public records requests made of LSP have resulted in the following feedback from Capt. Nick Manale regarding the ultimate disposition of that matter regarding Lopez:
From: Nick Manale <Nick.Manale@la.gov>
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2022 10:51 AM
Subject: RE: Is There a Pending Appeal of Any Discipline for LSP Trooper Scott Lopez Regarding 5/25/22 Citing for Engaging in Conduct Unbecoming?
I apologize for the delayed response, but I was out of the office yesterday at an event in Kenner and any information regarding disciplinary records must be confirmed with our internal affairs staff. I do not have possession of these records and we must coordinate with the appropriate section to obtain the responsive information. As you can imagine, this is also a shortened holiday week and many staff are out of the office.
I was able to confirm that Trooper Lopez received a Letter of Counseling for the incident on January 6; however, letters of counseling are not considered “public” and would not have been released with his disciplinary file. There is no other pending discipline at this time.
Thank you and we hope you have a Happy New Year.
So, what we have is LSP Col. Lamar Davis installing a newly-appointed Captain of Internal Affairs who renders the above ruling on Lopez, only to be overturned by Davis himself! We think that buttresses the claims that fired LSP Trooper Carl Cavalier made on the Carl Nelson radio broadcast of Tuesday, January 22, 2023 when Cavalier indicated that, while he had initial high hopes that Davis’ appointment would represent a turnaround at LSP (so did we), he soon came to the realization that Davis and his newly-appointed command staff were, “doing the same old song and dance to continue the cover-up from the previous administration.”
Quite frankly, we could not have stated it better than Cavalier did himself, and Sound Off Louisiana‘s Burns let Manale know his take on the Lopez situation, which follows:
From: Robert@SoundOffLA.com <Robert@SoundOffLA.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2022 11:48 AM
To: ‘Nick Manale’ <Nick.Manale@la.gov>
Cc: ‘Tom Aswell’ <email@example.com>; ‘Bucky Millet’ <firstname.lastname@example.org>; ‘Billy Broussard’ <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Is There a Pending Appeal of Any Discipline for LSP Trooper Scott Lopez Regarding 5/25/22 Citing for Engaging in Conduct Unbecoming?
Thank you for the response. So, the bottom line is that Captain Comeaux originally handled the matter via Letter of Counseling, Captain Saleem El-Amin deemed Lopez’s conduct on January 6, 2022 to warrant a sustaining of the allegation of Lopez engaging in conduct becoming (www.laboards-commissions.com/Lopez_Sustain_CU.pdf) which is deemed merely worthy of yet another “Letter of Counseling” (sort of like the Captain at Troop F deeming appropriate for a Trooper in the Ronald Greene matter being cited only for “playing the radio too loud” when he was in pursuit?) for Scott Lopez? I assume these letters of counseling are deemed cheaper by the dozen for Lopez.
On top of that, recently-resigning LSP Troopers have told me that what Captains are doing is writing up a trooper engaging in misconduct, placing it in a fie maintained at the troop, then, if the trooper goes six months without an infraction, the write-up is destroyed. So the public really has no way whatsoever to hone in on just what a reckless operation LSP is, no?
So, Lopez gets a mere Letter of Counseling for his 11 minute plus tirade in front of an entire Parish Council Committee, but since the complainant is a private citizen, LSP deemed no disciplinary measure applicable when an LSP trooper conducts himself in this manner.
Meanwhile, when a Trooper sends out a tweet of, “What country in Africa are you from?” when the complainant is a black female Louisiana State Police Trooper who just so happens to be the niece of a sitting State Representative, well, that warrants a full-blown 24-hour suspension for which Col. Davis is willing to appear before the LSPC and be adamant that 24-hour suspension was warranted (not to mention Chairman Simien, also happening to be black, conducting himself on numerous occasions at that meeting in a most inappropriate and inexcusable manner toward the trooper sending out the tweet).
I think I have the picture of what all is going on at LSP down pretty well, and it helps explain why so many troopers who have left in the last 18 months have vented to me over the phone about Col. Davis’ actions. I think any fog that may have remained on my mirror has been cleared, and I thank you for doing that via this email.
Again, thank you for supplying this response. It will enable me to provide a much more informative article early next year.
You have a Happy New Year too!
Robert Edwin Burns, founder and author
SOUND OFF LOUISIANA
So, there’s the update on Broussard v. Lopez. We wish we could attend tomorrow’s court hearing and report upon it soon thereafter, but Burns will be in Houston, and he’ll only be able to be informed remotely how it turned out. Nevertheless, we’ll soon report on this court hearing and several others in coming days entailing Billy Broussard and that infamous January 6, 2022 meeting of the St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning Commission.
If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops). Supply your email address within the subscribe box. You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.