Louisiana appeals and writs

Louisiana law on perfecting and timeliness of appeals and writs is a mine filled trap even for the experienced.

This case provides a hornbook law guide to judgments and interlocutory rulings.   It doesn’t answer all the myriad issues, such as when a written judgment is required, when do the delays run..from a ruling in open court or upon notice of judgment, etc.

It is a good starting point to navigating the hell that the Louisiana landscape is on timeliness and perfecting appeals and writs.

Pollard v Alpha Technical, 2013-CA-1239 (LaApp 4 Cir 2013).

Another case out of the third circuit involves a complicated morass of multiple lawsuits and myriad trial court rulings affecting some and sometimes all parties.

As most civil lawyers should know, when a judgment of a Louisiana trial court does not dispose of the entire action, the lawyer must determine whether the judgment is a partial final judgment (which must be promptly appealed), or an interlocutory judgment (which may be immediately reviewable through a supervisory writ application or subject to review in a subsequent appeal from a final judgment at the end of the district court proceedings).

This case involved consolidated cases and a myriad of rulings and provides good analysis of the appeals and writ process.  Rhyne v. Omni Energy, 14-711 (3d Cir 2014).  It discusses what is and what is not a final judgment or a final partial judgment that is immediately appealable.

“Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 1915(A) states in pertinent part: ‘A final judgment may be rendered and signed by the court, even though it may not grant the successful party or parties all of the relief prayed for, or may not adjudicate all of the issues in the case, when the court:

(1) Dismisses the suit as to less than all of the parties, defendants, third party plaintiffs, third party defendants, or interveners.’

“Therefore, when “one party is completely dismissed from a suit, the judgment is final under Article 1915(A)(1), and there is no requirement to have it designated as final.” Jeansonne v. New York Life Ins. Co., 08-932, p. 9 (La.App. 3 Cir. 5/20/09), 11 So.3d 1160, 1168. The judgment dismissing OMNI, White, Kaufman, Recatto, and Eckert was final under 1915(A) because these parties were completely dismissed from the suit, and was even designated as final by the district court judge in the 2011 Judgment.

“The judgment as to the remaining defendants, Sciotto, Colson, and Gerevas, was an interlocutory judgment and not immediately appealable. Under Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 1915(B)(1), “a partial judgment as to one or more but less than all of the claims, demands, issues, or theories against a party . . . shall not constitute a final judgment unless designated as a final judgment. . . .” There was no such designation by the judge in this case. The 2011 Judgment dismissed only those claims against Sciotto, Colson, and Gerevas in their capacity as directors, but left any claims against them outside that capacity to be litigated. The judgment as to these remaining parties was interlocutory and not final. “An interlocutory judgment is appealable only when expressly provided by law.” La.Code Civ.P. art. 2083. However, the 2011 Judgment cannot be considered now on appeal even though it was an interlocutory judgment as to the parties then. The 2011 Judgment dismissed claims against the remaining defendants, now appellees, in their capacity as directors because of improper venue and lis pendens. In order to challenge a venue decision, if the judgment is not otherwise appealable, a timely supervisory writ must be sought with the court of appeal. Land v. Vidrine, 10-1342 (La. 3/15/11), 62 So.3d 36. “[L]itigants are required to seek review via supervisory writs. Failure to timely file a writ application on a venue ruling amounts to a waiver of any objection thereto.” Id at 40.

“Plaintiffs did not seek a supervisory writ for the venue issue at any time in this litigation and, therefore, the 2011 Judgment dismissing those claims against appellees in their director capacity because of improper venue is final. Based upon the foregoing, the only judgment properly before this Court is that of April 14, 2014 in the Lafayette Parish II suit, in which Sciotto, Colson, and Gerevas remain in a non-director capacity, as well as claims against XL Specialty Insurance Company. Appellants’ assignments of error and arguments addressing the 2011 judgment are hereby ordered stricken from appellants’ brief.”

Another excellent source for understanding Louisiana appellate and supervisory writ process is this blog by Raymond Ward

Raymond Ward’s blog on the appellate and review process is a must bookmark sign up for email alerts source. He posts about cases as they come out. And he graciously uploaded seminar materials he prepared and presented on the process as well as a bar journal article he wrote.

This is a link to another seminar presentation on the appellate and supervisory review process.

A few of the pertinent provisions of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure are

art. 1911, art. 1913art. 1914, art. 1915, art. 2083

see also this link for a list of provisions that may be apposite, depending on the issue.

also, be sure to check the appellate court rules available online at the Louisiana Supreme Court website

 

This is area of law is ever changing. By the time you read this, all of these materials may be out of date. Stay current.

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