LSP Col. Lamar Davis (left), LSP attorney Tunde Animashaun (middle), and LSP attorney Gail Holland (right) appear at the Louisiana State Police Commission meeting of April 14, 2022 to try and sort out how they plan to handle the impending appeal of fired LSP Trooper Carl Cavalier.
Well, the soap opera that now is the handling of fired LSP Trooper Carl Cavalier regarding his Federal litigation and his potential appeal before the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) to attempt to reclaim his job took several twists and turns last week.
Let’s provide a brief history for those who may be unfamiliar with all that has gone on regarding Cavalier:
1. On September 30, 2021, Cavalier filed this pro-se lawsuit against LSP after LSP Col. Lamar Davis terminated him over his authorship of a book (the link to purchase the book is no longer active) and conducting interviews with the media to provide his take on the Ronald Greene arrest which transpired on or around May 9, 2019.
2. On November 10, 2021, LSP filed this notice of removal to have Cavalier’s lawsuit transferred from 19th JDC (State Court) to Federal Court (Middle District of Louisiana).
3. On December 9, 2021, attorney Jill Craft filed this Motion to Enroll as Cavalier’s legal counsel.
4. On December 30, 2021, LSP filed this Motion to Dismiss Cavalier’s lawsuit.
5. The litigation dragged on during 2022 while Cavalier simultaneously sought a hearing before the LSPC to get his job back. Craft fought vigorously for Cavalier to have his day before the LSPC. To demonstrate just how vigorously she fought, let’s review a brief three-minute video clip of the April 14, 2022 and May 14, 2022 LSPC meetings during which Craft chastises LSP officials for stalling Cavalier on having that hearing and, in the process, costing him a ton of money:
4/14/22 & 5/14/22 LSPC Meetings during which Craft laments LSP officials’ stall tactics costing Cavalier a ton of money both in expense and foregone opportunities to engage in his long-haul trucking position.
6. On July 12, 2022, LSP filed this Motion to Stay Discovery pending its 12/30/21 Motion to Dismiss the litigation.
7. On August 17, 2022, Magistrate Judge Richard Bourgeois issued this Order Granting LSP’s Motion to Stay Discovery.
8. On October 13, 2022 (the day of an LSPC meeting), Sound Off Louisiana provides WBRZ’s Chris Nakamoto with the following Federal Court documents via email: parameters of a Settlement Conference having taken place on October 6, 2022; a Federal Court Order indicating the matter is settled as of October 6, 2022 pursuant to that Settlement Conference; and this October 7, 2022 General Order applicable to documents for all cases similar to Cavalier’s.
9. Nakamoto wastes no time whatsoever in producing, later that same day, October 13, 2022, this bombshell feature wherein Nakamoto uncovered that LSP offered Cavalier $200,000 in the settlement. Nakamoto also provided Cavalier’s typed quotation which he’d also provided to us indicating that he was not interested in settling and wanted his hearing to commence before the LSPC.
10. Following up on Nakamoto’s feature, Sound Off Louisiana published this feature indicating that, as a result of “irreconcilable conflict,” attorney Jill Craft was filing this Motion to Withdraw as Cavalier’s attorney effective October 13, 2022. We feel it noteworthy to point out that LSP Defense Counsel opposes Craft’s withdrawal on the basis that Craft’s continued involvement is necessary to fully consummate the settlement referenced above. At the date of this publication (Sunday, October 23, 2022), the Motion remains pending before the Court.
Okay. That brings everyone quickly up to speed. Now let’s focus on what transpired last week (i.e. from October 17, 2022 through October 21, 2022):
A. The week started with Craft filing, on Monday, October 17, 2022, this Motion to Withdraw as Cavalier’s counsel with the LSPC.
B. Craft’s action prompted LSP to file this Motion to Continue (Postpone) Cavalier’s Hearing and Voicing Objection to Craft’s Motion to Withdraw on October 19, 2022. We note the fact that Cavalier strongly objected to LSP’s Motion for Continuance indicating that he’s been seeking his hearing for a protracted period (see video above) and that he had instructed the LSPC to, “leave that hearing up because I will represent myself if I have to.” Nevertheless, the LSPC removed the docketed hearing from its website.
C. The LSPC, acting through Referee Lenore Feeney on October 20, 2022, Granted LSP’s Motion to Continue (postpone) Cavalier’s Hearing Without Date, which means Cavalier’s long-awaited hearing is delayed yet again without even a future date scheduled for it to be heard. We note that Feeney struck through LSP’s Order for Craft’s Withdrawal Motion to be Denied and indicated to, “See order granting withdrawal.”
D. Feeney also, on October 20, 2022, formally granted Craft’s Motion to Withdraw as Cavalier’s Counsel for the LSPC, leaving him unrepresented by legal counsel for LSPC-related matters.
Here is our take on the matter. If Cavalier reached a settlement under the mistaken belief that settling the Federal litigation had no impact upon his ability to obtain his job back (i.e. agree never to work for LSP again), and we don’t know whether that’s the case or not and are not about to ask Cavalier if that is the case, then, in our minds, there never was a required “meeting of the minds” at the Settlement Conference for which the $200,000 can literally be crammed down his throat and him be told, “That’s it for you ever working for LSP again.”
As part of the Cathy Derbonne (former LSPC Executive Director) settlement, she had to execute a document which specified that she would never seek employment with the LSPC again. If Cavalier reached agreement on the $200,000 settlement but didn’t understand that it also meant he could not continue to pursue employment with LSP, then our own opinion, for what that’s worth, is that he is on sound ground for the settlement to be rejected based on a lack of full and complete “meeting of the minds.”
That may explain why Craft is apparently so unhappy about recent developments and the state of the current matter. After all, we have no doubt that she tapped upon and spent a ton of her sizeable political capital to get the $200,000 offer on the table.
According to paragraph four (4) of LSP’s Motion on Item-B above, a Federal Court hearing will transpire on Thursday, October 27, 2022, to iron out Craft’s Motion to Withdraw and the status of the whole settlement. We feel certain that Court Hearing will be closed to the public; however, once we know more about its outcome, we commit to communicate that knowledge to our subscribers and casual site visitors.
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