16th JDC Judge Vincent Borne, for whom Billy Broussard filed a formal Motion for recusal based upon “extreme bias” against Broussard and “a whole class of pro se litigants.”
Nine days ago, February 13, 2023, we published this feature wherein Billy Broussard provided a preview of a February 15, 2023 court hearing in the civil trial of Billy Broussard v. Mendy “Mob Boss” Girouard and Melissa Dubroc.
Just as a brief refresher, let us provide this abbreviated video derived from the above linked feature which highlights mainly actions of Defendant Mendy “Mob Boss” Girouard and the daughter of Melissa Dubroc, Joelle Dubroc, as well as her husband, Blake. Here’s that 6 1/2-minute video:
2/13/23: Video of highlights of actions of Mendy “Mob Boss” Girouard and Melissa Dubroc’s daughter, Joelle Dubroc, and her husband, Blake.
The most immediate result of the February 15, 2023 hearing on a Peremptory Exception for No Cause / No Right of action filed by the Defendants was Broussard filing this Motion and Order for the Recusal of the Judge overseeing the case.
That judge, Vincent Borne, according to the Motion/Order filed by Broussard, showed “extreme bias” against him and toward the attorney representing Dubroc and Girouard, Eric Timothy Haik, who practices with the firm of Haik, Minvielle, Grubbs, & D’Albor, LLP during that hearing.
In his filing, Broussard provided a complete courtroom transcript of the hearing (see Exhibit R-A on the preceding link for the Motion/Order) to evidence his contentions of bias. We believe Broussard’s filing speaks for itself, so let’s provide a few highlights at this time:
During that hearing, Judge Borne, as reflected by an official transcript of the hearing, which is attached hereto and made a part hereof as Exhibit “R-A,” showed repeated and extreme bias against Plaintiff which demonstrates a complete lack of objectivity to adjudicate any aspect of this case, including the Exception Hearing conducted on February 15, 2023.
Defense Counsel, Eric Haik, could have asserted LA CCP 971 (Special Motion to Strike) and thereby formally sought for the Court to award reasonable attorney fees from Plaintiff Under LA CCP 971(B), which states, in pertinent part: “In any action subject to Paragraph A of this Article, a prevailing party on a special motion to strike shall be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs.” Defense attorney Haik failed to file such a Motion; furthermore, the 90-day window for him to do so has now lapsed.
Defense Counsel Haik could also have filed for Sanctions against Plaintiff Under LA CCP 863, which is intended to protect against the filing of “frivolous” lawsuits. Defense Counsel Haik, knowing that the bar for any award of attorney’s fees pursuant to LA CCP 863 is so incredibly high (such that Defendants would have to demonstrate that they never even had any interactions with or involvement with Plaintiff or any activities in which he has engaged and that Plaintiff’s action was filed in complete bad faith), opted not to make such a filing. In short, he knew such a filing would be futile.
Plaintiff, in his Opposition Memorandum to Defendants’ Peremptory Exception of No Cause of Action (see bottom of Page 4 of Plaintiff’s Opposition Memorandum) stated that the Court, “should not dignify Defendants’ request that the Court ‘consider’ sanctioning Petitioner” because Defendants failed miserably to property place such a matter before the Court in the proper posture. For such “consideration” to be applicable, Defense Counsel Haik should have pursued one of the aforementioned filings. Instead, he reverted to the “consider” request and placed the onus totally upon the Court to initiate an action which Haik knew would be totally contradictory to Louisiana Law regarding which parties bear which costs in litigation.
Plaintiff found himself, as reflected in Exhibit R-A (the official court transcript of the hearing) in front of a judge bound and determined to demonstrate his extreme disdain, prejudice, and bias not only toward Plaintiff but what appears to be disdain to an entire class of pro se litigants.
Judge Borne, who began by admonishing Plaintiff in a harsh tone at the outset of the Hearing (see top of page two of Exhibit R-A) that, “You’re held to the same standards as any attorney,” nevertheless, in concert with Defense Counsel Haik, essentially treated Plaintiff as if he was nonexistent regarding being able to review any proposed judgment and pose any objections to it because Judge Borne made it clear that he intended to sign the judgment electronically the next day (Thursday, February 16, 2023) notwithstanding Local Rule 9.5 permitting Plaintiff five (5) working days to review any such proposed judgment and pose any objections which he may have.
Defense Counsel LeBlanc presented Plaintiff with a Proposed Judgment within 90 minutes of the Hearing’s conclusions, and she informed Plaintiff that he had until 3:30 p. m. that same day to pose any objections, or else it would be sent to Judge Borne for his signature as per Judge Borne’s desire expressed in court earlier that day.
Plaintiff indicated to Defense Counsel Haik that he wished to, “avail myself of the five days to which I am entitled pursuant to that Local Rule (9.5) to mull over the wording.”
Defense Counsel Haik responded, “It is not exactly up for discussion. You were in court and heard what the Court ordered. Please review so we can file it today, as Judge Borne requested.”
Plaintiff did pose objections to the judgment, and his objections are contained in Exhibit R-C, the most notable of which is that he sought for a paragraph to be added entailing the strong wording of Judge Borne regarding his stated intent regarding attorney’s fees should Plaintiff opt to amend his petition, the exception be re-urged, and ultimately the amended petition fail to state a cause of action.
The fact that Judge Borne would so blatantly tag-team with Defense Counsel Haik in a concerted effort to cram a Proposed Judgment down a pro se litigant’s throat is merely one small element of the universe of reasons for which Plaintiff asserts that Judge Borne is clearly biased against Plaintiff in the subject matter. Judge Borne could have stated, “Present your proposed judgment to Mr. Broussard pursuant to Local Rule 9.5 and, Mr. Broussard, you’ll have five working days to pose any objections to that proposed judgment, after which time Defense Counsel may submit the proposed judgment to me for signature.” Instead, Borne directed Defense Counsel to have the proposed judgment in that very day so that he could “electronically sign it since I won’t be here tomorrow.”
Judge Borne also went far beyond merely “considering” sanctioning Plaintiff regarding the imposition of attorney fees. In fact, he flat-out repeatedly used the imposition of such a sanction as a point-blank threat to Plaintiff not to amend his Petition (as Plaintiff pointed out by supplement to his original Opposition Memorandum that he had the statutory right to do if the Motion was granted).
What a clearly-biased Judge Vincent Borne attempted to do was to exploit his perception that Plaintiff would not be knowledgeable of the Court’s inability to impose such a sanction against Plaintiff but would nevertheless strategically exploit that perceived lack of knowledge to threaten and intimidate Plaintiff, thus showing his extreme bias against Plaintiff and toward Defense Counsel Haik in the process.
The following excerpts from the official court transcript, Exhibit R-A, demonstrate Judge Borne’s threats and attempts at intimidation as referenced in Paragraph 28 above:
Page 3, beginning at line 30 (after first stating on line 12 that, “You need to pay attention to what I’m about to tell you.”):
“If you seek to amend and re-file to attempt to state a cause of action after I’ve admonished you that on its face it doesn’t appear to state a cause of action I will consider awarding attorney’s fees to this date and to anything incurred based on coming back to hear this motion. Do you understand that?”
Page 4, beginning at line 29: (after having first warned of how “costly” it could become – see line 20):
“I’m electing to allow you to do that (amend the petition). And if you choose to do that and come back and it still doesn’t state a cause of action, I’m going to tell you now I’m going to award them attorney’s fees for what they ask for up to today and then. So you need to understand. I know you’re not an attorney. You obviously had an attorney involved in this circumstance. That’s – it may be significant cost.”
A. A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. As used in this Code, “impartiality” or “impartial” denotes absence of bias or prejudice in favor of, or against, particular parties or classes of parties, as well as maintaining an open mind in considering issues that may come before the judge. [Louisiana State Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2].
As is evidenced by the contents of this Motion to Recuse, together with the accompanying Exhibits (R-A, R-B, and R-C), Trial Judge Vincent Borne has not only failed, but failed miserably, to uphold Louisiana State Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2 as itemized in Paragraph 31.
C. Recusation. A judge should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned….. [Louisiana State Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3].
LA CCP 151(A)(4) states, in pertinent part:
Art. 151. Grounds
- A judge of any trial or appellate court shall be recused upon any of the following grounds:
(4) The judge is biased, prejudiced, or interested in the cause or its outcome or biased or prejudiced toward or against the parties or the parties’ attorneys or any witness to such an extent that the judge would be unable to conduct fair and impartial proceedings.
Plaintiff asserts that Trial Judge Vincent Borne, through his actions and statements of Wednesday, February 15, 2023, as reflected in Exhibit R-A, has demonstrated bias against Plaintiff that clearly meets the criterion outlined in LA CCP 151(A)(4), thus prompting Plaintiff to file this Motion and Order for such recusal.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff/Mover, BILLY BROUSSARD, prays that JUDGE BORNE recuse and disqualify himself from this matter; or, alternatively, that a hearing be set to another judge or to a judge ad hoc, as provided in LA CCP 154(B).
As we indicated, the Motion (with accompanying Order) speaks for itself.
About the only other concluding commentary we’ll add is that Judge Borne seemed heavily preoccupied with the fact that Broussard was previously represented by legal counsel regarding “the circumstances” (see trial transcript, page 7, beginning on line 1). We’re unsure of the relevance of that fact (and it is a fact), but here’s video of that very attorney, Michael Adley of the law firm Gibson Law Partners LLP making a brief statement on Broussard’s behalf at the January 6, 2022 St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning meeting:
January 6, 2022: Broussard’s Attorney, Michael Adley, states to the St. Martin Parish Planning and Zoning Commission that Broussard is, “not opening a dump!” He further indicates that he, “hopes the Commission will confine its discussions to what Mr. Broussard is asking for (Rezoning to Ag-2) and not these other rumors that I’ve heard.”
Broussard has pointed out that, contrary to the “rumors” Adley references above, he was never “opening” anything! He was merely seeking to continue doing what he’d been doing for the prior 16 months. He emphasized that, had anyone bothered with looking at the required public notice which was advertised in the local newspaper (vs. relying upon a false and defamatory flyer prominently imploring citizens to “stop the dump”), they would have known exactly what he was requesting. Furthermore, Ms. Morgan Allemond, Planning and Zoning Coordinator, stated to Broussard that she informed numerous callers complaining about a “dump” to please read the public notice and, just as Adley indicates in the video above, she informed all of those callers that, “Mr. Broussard is not opening a dump!”
Regrettably, the Commission most certainly did not confine its deliberations of Broussard’s request to what he sought and instead permitted those who perpetrated wild, blatantly-defamatory rumors over Defendant Mendy “Mob Boss” Girouard’s Neighborhood Facebook page to run absolutely rampant!
What follows is just one particular example of those wild rumors Adley referenced, which was posted by Facebook Group Member Keith Landry on December 5, 2021, a mere 32 days prior to Adley’s admonition to the Commission:
As always, we’ll keep our subscribers and casual site visitors apprised of further developments on this Broussard litigation as well as the others in which he’s involved entailing his 33-acre property in Broussard, Louisiana.
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