Federal judge denies issuing restraining order against three Vermilion Parish School Board members
Superintendent Jerome Puyau asked Federal Judge Robert R. Summerhays to grant a temporary restraining order against three school board members.
After 45 minutes of hearing attorney arguments, Summerhays denied issuing a temporary restraining order against board members Laura LeBeouf, Kibbie Pillette and David Dupuis.
Had the judge approved the restraining order, LeBeouf, Pillette and Dupuis could not vote on anything dealing with Puyau.
Summerhays said for him to grant a restraining order against the three board members, someone would have to convince him the three were going to harm Puyau.
“I do not see harm,” said the judge. “As far as restriction of speech? I do not see any restrictions.”
Judge Summerhays sent the case to a magistrate judge to hear the motion for a preliminary injunction. A date for that hearing has not been set.
Brett Grayson is Puyau’s attorney. He tried to convince the judge that his civil rights were violated when the board ordered Puyau not to speak to school employees during his suspension, which began in July.
School board attorney Ty Manieri explained to the judge that the school board told Puyau not to act as the superintendent or speak to school employees as the superintendent because he was suspended by the school board.
“He is not allowed to speak as a superintendent but can speak as a citizen,” Manieri told Judge Summerhays.
Before the judge’s ruling, Grayson also tried to convince the judge that Puyau feared that he would be fired after being put on paid leave for 90 days while an investigation took place against the superintendent.
Summerhays did not agree. The school board has never begun actions to fire Puyau, school board attorney Ty Manieri told the judge. “There has been no action to terminate him (Puyau),” said Manieri.
Judge Summerhays encouraged Manieri to advise the school board not to try and fire Puyau until the civil lawsuit is finished.
There is a special board meeting Thursday and the one agenda item states for the board to move into executive session to discuss the pending litigation of this federal lawsuit and the state lawsuit that the board has filed against Puyau.
Manieri explained to the judge that a special meeting was being called in order for him to update the board on the hearing that took place on Wednesday. He said there was nothing on the agenda to go into executive session to speak about possibly firing Puyau.
LeBeouf, Pillette and Dr. Dupuis were not in the courtroom.