Louissaint v. Miami-Dade County Et Al

Parties Involved

  • Plaintiff: Debbie Louissaint
    • Counsel for Plaintiff: Jianyin Liu | Michael Earl Van Cleve
  • Defendant: Miami-Dade County | Juan Perez | Alan Jenkins
    • Counsel for Defendant: William X. Candela | Leona Nicole McFarlane

Verdict Information

  • Verdict date: May 28, 2024
  • Total damages awarded to Plaintiff: $0.00

About the Case


Debbe Louissaint, a young Haitian-American woman who identified as Black, was a resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida. Louissaint worked as a police officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) from July 30, 2007, until June 21, 2019, primarily assigned to MDC’s Northwest District Uniform Patrol.

In April 2018, Alan Jenkins assumed the role of acting lieutenant in Louissaint’s district, becoming her commanding officer. Previously, Sergeant Sheri Bernabe, a white female officer, had overseen Louissaint’s work. Despite Bernabe not expressing concerns about Louissaint’s performance directly, she allegedly informed Jenkins of attendance issues and unaddressed service calls attributed to Louissaint. Subsequently, Jenkins initiated intensive scrutiny of Louissaint’s personnel files and activities, including surveilling her residence in July and August 2018, contrary to Miami Dade County’s Standard Operating Procedure, which recommends Internal Affairs handle allegations of police misconduct.

Despite Jenkins’s prior experience in Internal Affairs, he conducted an independent investigation into Louissaint. This investigation led to Louissaint’s removal from her uniform patrol duties on August 6, 2018, depriving her of opportunities for additional income through overtime and off-duty assignments. In January 2019, Jenkins issued Louissaint a Disciplinary Action Report, which indicated potential employment termination unless mitigating evidence was provided.

Louissaint formally objected to the report in writing on February 6, 2019, citing inadequate evidence to support Jenkins’s investigation. During a subsequent exit meeting with MDPD Director Juan Perez on May 17, 2019, Louissaint reiterated her objections to Jenkins’s handling of the investigation, alleging retaliation and discrimination. Director Perez assured her that termination was not imminent, but instead, she would face a 20-day suspension without pay, conditional upon signing a Memorandum of Understanding. This document required Louissaint to waive her right to appeal the Disciplinary Action Report and any future claims against MDC under state and federal employment laws.

Louissaint refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, arguing it mistreated her compared to other officers investigated by Internal Affairs for similar infractions. Despite a second offer, Louissaint maintained her refusal. Consequently, her employment with MDPD was terminated on June 21, 2019.


The Defendants had allegedly committed one or more prohibited discriminatory acts that infringed the Civil Rights Act of 1964(CRA), and Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. These actions were malicious and showed reckless indifference to Plaintiff’s rights. Consequently, the Plaintiff endured embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress, and other damages. This included lost income, benefits, seniority rights, mental anguish, loss of dignity, and other intangible injuries both in the past and projected into the future.


Louissaint sought a judgment in her favor against Defendant Juan Perez after a jury trial. She sought compensatory damages, including for emotional distress, to restore her to the position she would have held without the alleged unlawful discrimination. This included compensation for lost past and future wages and employment benefits, as well as the award of attorney’s fees, costs, lawful interest, and any other relief deemed just and proper by the Court.

Jury Verdict

On May 28, 2024, a Florida jury found that Debbe Louissaint’s sex, race, color, or national origin was not a motivating factor that prompted Miami-Dade County to discharge her from employment. Consequently, no damages were awarded to Louissaint.

Court Documents:

Available upon request