Louisiana Record

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Appeals court upholds dismissal of lawsuit tied to Amite City Police employee's firing

Lawsuits

By Carrie Salls | Sep 26, 2018


Gerald Melancon sued the town after the city council fired him in 2009.

BATON ROUGE –– A former Amite City police officer cannot bring a whisteblower lawsuit against the town, an appellate court ruled on Sept. 24.

The First Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a lower court's order dismissing the case brought by Gerald Melancon Jr. against the town of Amite City.

According to court documents, Melancon sued the town after the city council fired him in 2009. Melancon claimed the police department terminated him, because he complained to the Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about state law violations within the department. He alleged the police department protected drug dealers and destroyed evidence. 

He sought damages under the Louisiana Whistleblower Act. 

The 21st Judicial District Court ruled Melancon could not prove his accusations and dismissed the suit. Melancon appealed. 

The First Circuit Court of Appeal noted the city council, on recommendation of the police chief, fired Melancon for running unauthorized background checks on 13 people, including council members, police officers, civilian police department employees and his own wife. When questioned about the background checks as an employee, Melancon denied the accusation. 

However, Melancon later admitted to running the checks.

In their ruling, the three-judge panel agreed with the lower court’s finding that Melancon was unable to prove that his termination was related to communications with the MCC and FBI.

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Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal Metropolitan Crime Commission

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