LSP’s efforts to cram $200k down fired Trooper Cavalier’s throat get major advance as Magistrate Judge recommends enforcement of alleged settlement on his Federal lawsuit.

May 14, 2022 meeting of the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC), at which fired LSP Trooper Carl Cavalier’s former attorney, Jill Craft, vents frustration that high-ranking officials of LSP dishonored her subpoenas to appear before the LSPC as she fought on Cavalier’s behalf for him to be reinstated with LSP.  The camera to the left (which Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns references in the first audio clip of this feature) was a CNN camera as part of a crew CNN sent to cover Cavalier’s LSPC hearing.

Since our publications of Sister Khadijah Rashad’s feature regarding her concerns about New Iberia law enforcement, and also since our recent feature on Police Officer Brett Lang’s lambasting of DCFS officials [for which the hits are through the roof and was even picked up by KLFY (Channel 10 in Lafayette)], we’ve gained many new subscribers from the Acadiana area.  We welcome them all aboard!

Consequently, those new subscribers may not be familiar with our extensive reporting on fired Louisiana State Police (LSP) Trooper Carl Cavalier, who went very public with his knowledge and concerns regarding the LSP in-custody death of Ronald Greene, on which we first exposed that LSP cover-up on September 10, 2020.

To enable these new subscribers to get up to speed on Cavalier’s legal status, and since Burns had to bring a whole host of radio listeners in and around the Washington, DC area up to speed on the January 24, 2023 Carl Nelson program, what we’re going to do is produce below the 3-minute segment of Nelson’s show at which Burns succinctly informed everyone where everything stood through that January 24, 2023 broadcast:

Three (3) minute segment of 1/24/23 Carl Nelson radio broadcast wherein Burns provides quick overview of where fired LSP Trooper Carl Cavalier’s efforts to obtain his job back stood at that time.

Anyone is welcome to listen to those audio files Burns references in the audio clip above of Cavalier recording his then-attorney, Jill Craft, by clicking here.  Also, regarding LSP officials simply not honoring subpoenas issued by Craft for their appearance before the May 14, 2022 LSPC meeting, anyone is welcome to watch Craft voice her frustration at that development by clicking here.

Nelson soon followed up on Burns’ summation above by asking Cavalier himself if he could add more and if he was optimistic of being able to win his case and get his job back.  Let’s take just two (2) more minutes to listen in on what Cavalier had to say:

Two (2) minute segment of 1/24/23 Carl Nelson radio broadcast during which Cavalier follows up on Burns’ summation and responds to Nelson’s inquiry of whether he is “optimistic” about his legal case going forward.

As is obvious by Cavalier’s response, he indicated a high level of optimism entailing his litigation going forward, to include him being able to appear before the LSPC for the purpose of obtaining his job back.  That optimism may have taken a severe blow, however, when, one month after the above-linked broadcast, on February 24, 2023, Federal Magistrate Judge Richard Bourgeois recommended to Federal Judge John deGravelles that the “agreement” between LSP and Cavalier be enforced.

When we first saw the filing by Bourgeois and downloaded it, the first thing we did was to go to any reference Bourgeois made entailing there being a “meeting of the minds” in this matter because that’s an essential element of a binding contract, and we have contented from the outset that it was simply not present in this instance.

Obviously, however, our opinion is of no consequence, whereas Bourgeois’ opinion is of major consequence.

With that in mind, let’s highlight the rationale by which Bourgeois contends there was a “meeting of the minds” and thus recommended the enforcement of the oral agreement to Judge John deGravelles, who is the actual judge overseeing Cavalier’s case:

Federal law governing settlement agreements applies the general common law principles of contracts. See In re Deepwater Horizon, 786 F.3d 344, 354 (5th Cir. 2015). To form a settlement agreement, there must be an offer, an acceptance, consideration, the inclusion of all material or essential terms, and a meeting of the minds among the parties. See id. at 355-60. An offer and acceptance “is judged by the parties’ overt acts and words, not by the subjective or secret intent of the [parties].” Id. at 355. For there to have been a meeting of the minds, the parties must have “knowingly and voluntarily” entered into the agreement. Bowers v. Abundant Home Health, L.L.C., 803 F. App’x 765, 767 (5th Cir. 2020). So long as these requirements have been met, “[federal law does not require settlement agreements to be reduced to writing.” EEOC v. Philip Servs. Corp., 635 F.3d 164, 167 (5th Cir. 2011).  Plaintiff agreed to a compromise following the judicial settlement conference. The parties made mutual concessions to resolve the litigation and affirmed their agreement before the Court.  (See R. Doc. 40). Although Plaintiff now states that he was under duress, he concedes that he “did agree to the Settlement, even though he did not actually agree to the terms.” (R. Doc. 52-2 at 5; see also R. Doc. 70 at 4 (“Mr. Cavalier caved and agreed to an oral version of the settlement even though he never really agreed either to the dollar figure or the non-economic issues.”)). As purported evidence that Plaintiff never actually agreed to the compromise, Plaintiff cites to
earlier communications with his attorney in which he stated that he would not agree to the proposed terms. (See R. Doc. 52-3). However, Plaintiff’s prior statements do not negate that he expressly agreed to the terms during the settlement conference. Plaintiff’s “reluctance… does not diminish the fact” that he agreed to the terms of the compromise. Preston Law Firm, L.L.C., 622 F.3d at 391; see also Klebanoff, 978 So. 2d at 604 (“[R]eservations about the commitment … [do] not alter the showing of consent and mutual concessions.”).

The parties are bound by their compromise despite Plaintiff’s contention that they only entered into an unenforceable, oral agreement.

Here’s the conclusion section of Bourgeois’ Report and Recommendation:

IV. Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, IT IS RECOMMENDED that the Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement (R. Doc. 56) and ORDERS the parties to comply with the terms of their settlement agreement.

IT IS FURTHER RECOMMENDED that Intervenor’s Motion to Deem Privilege Waived (R. Doc. 77) and Intervenor’s Consent Motion for Leave to Review Exhibits In Camera (R. Doc. 78) be DENIED AS MOOT.

Signed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on February 24, 2023.

As is made obvious at the bottom of the first page of the Report and Recommendations, Bourgeois made it crystal clear that, under no circumstances, will there be an extension of the time to file written objections to the Report and Recommendations beyond the 14-day period once served.

Obviously, neither Craft nor LSP have any need to object.  Cavalier’s attorneys may file an objection as part of their legal obligation to Cavalier, but it would seem a foregone conclusion that Judge deGravelles is going to adopt Bourgeois’ Report and Recommendation and issue an Order to that effect.  In fact, given the strong wording of Bourgeois’ report, we highly doubt that a hearing will even transpire on the matter.

To the extent there is anything further to report on Cavalier, we’ll certainly do so but, assuming there’s nothing unforeseen  (e.g. our TOTAL speculation that maybe any insurance company may have rescinded its commitment to fund which we expressed at the conclusion of this feature but again stress that was 100 percent, T-total speculation), this would appear to largely conclude his quest to obtain his job back.

If so, all we can say is what a sad episode this entire saga has turned out to be!

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4 thoughts on “LSP’s efforts to cram $200k down fired Trooper Cavalier’s throat get major advance as Magistrate Judge recommends enforcement of alleged settlement on his Federal lawsuit.”

    1. I don’t. I think she meant what she said about it being one of the highest offers she’s ever attained. The problem is that Cavalier made it clear as far back as September 2, 2022 that he did NOT want to do this, but it all fell on deaf ears. In the end, the CLIENT is the boss (NOT the attorney), and even though she strongly disagreed with Cavalier’s sentiments, she had an obligation to say, “Carl, I think this is as good as it is ever going to get and I cannot stress enough how strongly I believe it’s in your best interest to accept this, but in the end, the decision rests with you, and I will honor your decision.” That is most certainly NOT what happened, and all of those audio recordings Cavalier astutely recorded back up that fact in a very authoritative manner!

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