By Zach Parker firstname.lastname@example.org
BATON ROUGE — Whether a “non-lawyer law clerk” at Fourth Judicial District Court in Monroe can be sued for destroying court documents was at the heart of questions discussed by a panel of judges at the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge last week.
The three-judge panel, including Chief Judge Vanessa Whipple as well as judges John Michael Guidry and Page McClendon, was assigned to preside over last week’s hearing in Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III’s lawsuit against Fourth Judicial District Court officials.
Palowsky’s July 2015 lawsuit accused law clerk Allyson Campbell of concealing or destroying court documents he filed with the court in a separate lawsuit against his former business partner, Brandon Cork. Palowsky sued Fourth Judicial District Court judges Fred Amman, Wilson Rambo, Carl Sharp, Stephens Winters and retired Judge Ben Jones, who now serves as the court’s administrator. According to Palowsky’s lawsuit, the five judges conspired to cover up Campbell’s activities.
“Is it a function of a law clerk to destroy pleadings?” said Guidry, of the First Circuit, while discussing the propriety of a “non-lawyer law clerk” enjoying the same judicial immunity as a judge. “Is that a function of judges to destroy public records?”
During last week’s hearing, the judges asked for parties to distinguish or whether a law clerk should enjoy the same protection from lawsuits as judges under the standard of judicial immunity.