APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-20131610. HONORABLE PATRICK LOUIS MICHOT, DISTRICT JUDGE.
Marcus A. Bryant, LLC., Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Leonard Blackwell.
Mark R. Pharr, III, Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith, PLC, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Waste Management of Louisiana, LLC.
Lindsay L. Meador, Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith, PLC, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Waste Management of Louisiana, LLC.
Court composed of Jimmie C. Peters, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.
[14-560 La.App. 3 Cir. 1]
Leonard Blackwell brought suit against Waste Management of Louisiana, LLC to recover damages to the parking lot of his Lafayette, Louisiana apartment complex. He appeals the trial court grant of a summary judgment dismissing his suit. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's judgment in all respects.
DISCUSSION OF THE RECORD
Mr. Blackwell is the owner of an apartment complex known as the Blaine Street Apartments and located at 120 Blaine Street in Lafayette, Louisiana. In 1998 he entered into a Commercial Service Agreement (" the Agreement" ) with Waste Management of Louisiana, LLC (" Waste Management" )
wherein Waste Management agreed to provide and service a large commercial waste dumpster container located at the apartment complex. The Agreement had an initial term of three years, and Mr. Blackwell and Waste Management have renewed the Agreement under the same terms and conditions every three years following the initial term. It is not disputed that the Agreement was still in force and effect at the time this litigation arose.
On March 27, 2013, Mr. Blackwell filed suit seeking to recover damages from Waste Management based on assertions that its employees had destroyed portions of the apartment complex parking areas by driving the heavy dumpster trucks used in the collection process on the areas. In his petition, Mr. Blackwell asserted that this activity constituted both negligence and a breach of the Agreement by using an area of the apartment complex not designed to accommodate heavy equipment. The damage, according to Mr. Blackwell's petition, was of such an extent that the parking area could no longer be used by those residing in the apartment complex.
[14-560 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] Waste Management answered the petition denying liability for the damage. On November 5, 2013, Waste Management filed a motion for summary judgment wherein it asserted that there were no genuine issues of material fact in the litigation and that the terms of the Agreement precluded recovery of Mr. Blackwell's claims for damages. The trial court set the motion for hearing on December 2, 2013. On November 25, 2013, Mr. Blackwell filed his own motion seeking summary judgment relief, asserting that the record supported his claim that he was entitled to recover damages. Mr. Blackwell's motion is entitled " PLAINTIFF'S CROSS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT." The filing was not of two different documents, but a single filing incorporating the memorandum in the summary judgment motion itself.
At the December 2, 2013 hearing, counsel for Waste Management orally requested that the trial court not allow Mr. Blackwell's counsel to argue the motions based on his failure to submit his client's opposition to its summary judgment at least eight calendar days before the hearing, in violation of the provisions of La.Dist.Ct.R. 9.9. Counsel for Waste Management also requested that the trial court not consider a repair estimate and certain photographs attached to Mr. Blackwell's opposition to its summary judgment motion because the documents were not authenticated by affidavits as required by La.Code Civ.P. art. 966(B)(1).
The trial court refused to consider the repair estimate and photographs, denied Mr. Blackwell's counsel the opportunity to argue, granted Waste Management's motion for summary judgment, and dismissed Mr. Blackwell's suit. On January 6, 2014, the trial court executed a judgment corresponding to its ruling. [14-560 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] Thereafter, Mr. Blackwell perfected this appeal, asserting that the trial court erred in granting the summary ...