Real Estate Law and Litigation
- In Partition of real estate suit, successfully obtained dismissal of claim for damages for alleged fraud in terminating Trust. Hendricks v. Bryant, 2017 CA 1063 (La. App. 1 Cir., 4/6/18)
- In Citizens Savings Bank v. G & C Development, LLC et al, we skillfully assisted a real estate development company and its two owners in litigation against their bank following a foreclosure on their development. We were able to avoid a substantial deficiency judgment against our clients. The owners had guaranteed the company’s loan; because the real estate development company was defunct, the individual owners/guarantors would have otherwise been responsible for the company’s debt of $2,000,000.00+, without the favorable judgment we secured in this case. 113 So.3d 1085 (La. App. 1 Cir. 2013).
- At issue in Solar General Contractor, Ltc. v. Urban Redevelopments, Inc. was the purchase of a property which was saddled with accessibility issues due to separate litigation threatened against the property. Where an agreement to purchase was entered in contemplation of immediate occupancy and use, the court held that our client the purchaser was not compelled to accept title to the property when the title was threatened with serious future litigation and access issues. The court held in our client’s favor that the title at issue was not ‘merchantable’ which was a requisite for the act of sale. 345 So.2d 558 (La. App. 4 Cir. 1977).
- In Junior Money Bags, Ltd. v. Segal, we represented the holder of a chattel mortgage whose interest, in the New Orleans Gondola System over the Mississippi River after the Louisiana World’s Fair, was recorded and perfected prior to the items being placed on the lessor’s land. The court held that our client’s prior-perfected rights primed the lessor’s rights, which arose only when the gondola tower was erected on the leased land. The court found that while our client had a right to remove the gondola towers, he was not required to remove “all or nothing” and thus could not be required to remove the towers’ foundations which were anchored by underground pilings. Because the lease at the time it was purchased by our client (as the seizing creditor) could have been dissolved at any time by lessor, we established that our client was not bound to personally discharge any of the lessee’s obligations under the lease. 970 F.2d 1 (5th Cir. 1992).
- We represented a landowner in the case Holmes v. Parish of St. Charles, in which we protected a landowner’s right to revoke a conditional donation of land to the parish, when the land after eight years had not been put to the use proposed by the parish government. The parcel of land conveyed to the parish government for a proposed roadway was held to be a conditional onerous donation inter vivos and not a dedication to public use. The court found that the donation’s reference to a Parish Ordinance incorporated the Ordinance by reference, which recognized the conditional purpose of the donation. As a result, the donation of the land to the parish could be revoked for failure of the parish to fulfill the condition contained in the donation. The Parish was also ordered to lift restrictions on our client’s adjoining property to allow for resubdivision. 653 So.2d 653 (La. App. 5 Cir. 1995).
- In Corinne Park Civic Ass’n et al v. Police Jury of St. Bernard et al, we represented a civic association and property owners in their claim against the Parish Police Jury concerning drainage. We determinatively established that the Parish Police Jury had assumed maintenance responsibility for a drainage system, including a drainage canal which was flooding our clients’ property. The court held that the drainage canal was an essential part of the drainage system. 416 So.2d 106 (La. 1982).
- Representing a commercial lessee in Saladino v. Rault Petroleum Corp. et al, we successfully defended a commercial lessee from having its lease terminated by a lessor who failed to properly notify the lessee of default. Because we established that the lessor failed to comply with the methods of notification required by the lease, the lessor’s action to accelerate rental payments and terminate the lease was premature. This effectual defense allowed our client the commercial lessee to continue in its lease of the property. 436 So.2d 714 (La. App. 4 Cir. 1983).
Business Counseling and Corporate Litigation
- In Brennan’s House of Printing, Inc. v. Brennan we represented certain stockholders who claimed a controlling ownership interest and asserted that the family business had issued stocks in addition to the initial stock issuance allowing our clients to have shareholder control of the company. Because the company records were informal, we accomplished proof of the later stock issuance and our clients’ percentage ownership by secondary means through the use of evidence including tax returns and filings with the secretary of state proved that our client’s claim was valid. 924 So.2d 1067 (La. App. 5 Cir. 2006).
Succession and Trust Litigation
- We represented a succession in recovering the ownership of a business that was claimed to have been donated to the son by his father in the case of Succession of Ackel v. Ackel. The court held that the decedent could not donate the whole of a community property asset, such as the business, without consent of his wife. As a result, the court found that the corporation was an asset of the estate and was not owned by the son. 595 So.2d 739 (La. App. 5 Cir. 1992).
- We accomplished the removal of an appointed succession representative (executrix) on our clients’ behalf for the executrix’s failure to file annual accountings, in the case Succession of Cucchero, 845 So.2d 450 (La. App. 2003). The court pointed out that annual accountings would have allowed the trial court to easily compare payments made for attorney fees to the value of the succession’s assets, which would have been particularly relevant considering concerns over the amount of attorney fees incurred.
Significant Cases in Other Practice Areas
Banking Law and Litigation
- In Knauf v. Bank of LaPlace, where the defendant bank was selectively processing its customer checks presented for payment when the customer’s scheme was uncovered. The bank declined to pay the check payable to our client while paying others on the same day. The bank erroneously dishonored and returned one check stating that it was missing an endorsement though the bank had processed and paid other checks identically endorsed. We established a cause of action against the bank; the court held in favor of our client that the bank owed the payee a general obligation of good faith and ordinary care in handling checks. 567 So.2d 182 (La. 5 Cir., 1990).
Governmental Litigation and Contractual Rights
- We obtained a judgment in favor of our client and against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The court found soverign immunity did not apply in order to protect HUD as to, and our client could recover, certain interest reduction payments that were denied arbitrarily and capriciously by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Johnson v. Sec’y of and U.S. Dep’t of Hous. & Urban Dev., Federal Hous. Admin., 710 F. 2d 1130 (5th Cir. 1983).
Individual Civil Rights Litigation
- We successfully obtained an injunction to prevent the chief deputy sheriff from making statements referring to our client as the murderer, a criminal, a thug, a con artist, and the sheriff was further enjoined from circulating investigative reports and other civil rights violations. Babineaux v. Stassi 86,010 16th Judicial District Court.
Judicial Impartiality and Fairness
- In 730 Bienville Partners, Inc. v. Seiler we successfully challenged a local district court rule on behalf of our client who sought a preliminary injunction. The local district court rule provided that the division which would hear a motion for preliminary injunction would not be randomly allotted as required by the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, but rather would be assigned to the duty judge who signed the Temporary Protective Order. The local Court Rule stated that the duty judge would hear the Preliminary Injunction instead of the randomly allotted judge. The local Court Rule was struck down, as the local rule’s assignment method allowed “what random assignment was designed to prevent – predictability and forum shopping.” The court further held for our clients regarding the use of ordinary proof at a preliminary injunction hearing. 703 So.2d 1386 (La. App. 4 Cir. 1997).