PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - A year-long anticipated trial expected to last three days with several witnesses came to a quick halt after just one hour in court. Within an hour, the lawsuit trial against the city of Port Allen and its former mayor started, it adjourned for the day with some issues being dismissed by the judge.
Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain sued then Mayor Deedy Slaughter for wrongfully firing her and interfering with her job beginning in February 2013.
Judge Alvin Batiste dismissed the retaliation claim, saying there is no cause of action granted. Proceedings adjourned for the day a little after 10 a.m. The judge's ruling is as follows:
Retaliation Claim: DISMISSED with Prejudice
Whistle blower Claim: McCain and attorneys have 15 days to amend their petition and come back before the judge
Abuse of Rights: McCain and attorneys have 15 days to amend their petition and come back before the judge
Defamation: McCain and attorneys have 15 days to amend their petition and come back before the judge
Intentional Emotional & Negligent Distress: DENIED
1983 Claim (Compensation for monetary claims): DISMISSED with Prejudice
Batiste set a Sept. 16, 2014 trial date for a ruling on the contempt claim and any remaining claims from Tuesday's court proceedings.
McCain's attorneys Seth Dornier and Cy D'Aquila. They said they can still fight for compensation with rule of contempt.
"The city just wanted more or less in legal terms, clarity as to what specific instances we're alleging the mayor did that they're aware of," said D'Aquila.
"In realistic terms, they punted," said Dornier. "It's a delay tactic."
J. Arthur Smith, the city attorney for Port Allen, argued McCain has no basis for her allegations of Slaughter's conduct being "extreme and outrageous." He also said there is no allegations of any particular characteristic involved, such as sex or gender based and added there is no legal basis to proceed with this case. In regards to the compensation claim dismissed, Smith said, "Everybody went through a hard time with Mrs. Slaughter's administration. Certainly, the council members did but it's quite another thing to say the taxpayers should have to pay a large judgement to an individual because of that."
Smith said he had heard that the suit was a "cat fight," but didn't know how he felt about it. "I don't know if I want to endorse that view, but I don't know if I want to disagree with it."
Meanwhile, after the verdict, Slaughter said she felt good and was hopeful this would be the end of it all.
"Sometimes, things get in the way to make a person that is a good person look like a bad person but in all reality, that person is not that person the accusations and the false claims was made against. I love the City of Port Allen," said Slaughter.
When asked what she would say to Audrey McCain, if anything, Slaughter said, "I love you as a child of God. God loves us all."
In reference to the retaliation and defamation claims, Slaughter said, "It is what it is at the end of the day. Just have to continue to move on." She refused to comment when asked if she felt any of those claims were true.
Judge Batiste did uphold the intentional emotional and negligent distress claim, but Slaughter said in response, "I did not distress any staffer of the City of Port Allen."
Slaughter arrived with her husband before the 9 a.m. start time of the trial. Her attorney, Ron Johnson, was smiling as he entered the courthouse.
Batiste entered around 9:15 a.m. to start the trial, and the trial wrapped up shortly after 10 a.m.