APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 2010-1717. HONORABLE DURWOOD CONQUE, DISTRICT JUDGE.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
L. Clayton Burgess, Lafayette, LA, Attorney for Appellant: Holloway Drilling Equip., Inc.
William E. Wright, Jr., Charlotte C. Meade, Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, LLP, New Orleans, LA, Attorneys for Appellee: Gregory Inzerella.
Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Jimmie C. Peters, Marc T. Amy, James T. Genovese, and John E. Conery, Judges. Amy J., dissents and assigns reasons. Conery, J., dissents for reasons assigned by Judge Amy.
[14-248 La.App. 3 Cir. 1]
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Danielle Bodin (Bodin) was employed as a bookkeeper and runner by Holloway Drilling Equipment, Inc. and Holloway Equipment Rentals, Inc. (collectively " Holloway" ) from 2002 to 2010. Holloway employed the CPA firm, Inzarella, Feldman and Pourciau, APC (Inzarella Firm) as its accounting firm during the years of Bodin's employment until Holloway terminated the Inzarella Firm's employment in 2008. After ending its relationship with the Inzarella Firm, Holloway discovered a large discrepancy in the final bill from the Inzarella Firm. As a result, a dispute arose between Holloway and the Inzarella Firm regarding the final fee charged by the Inzarella Firm for its accounting services to Holloway. On March 26, 2009, Holloway and the Inzarella Firm signed a Receipt and Release Agreement resolving the billing dispute. The parties agreed that Holloway would pay, and the Inzarella Firm would accept, the sum of $12,000.00 as a full and complete payment of any monies owed by Holloway to the Inzarella Firm for its services. The Inzarella Firm claimed Holloway owed it $23,737.99 for its services. The Agreement was notarized by Bodin and was signed by Gregory J. Inzarella as President of the Inzarella Firm, and Rickey A. Holloway, as President of Holloway Drilling.
On March 11, 2010, Holloway filed suit against Bodin, her husband, Kyle Bodin (Kyle), and their business enterprise, Butterfly Bodies, LLC. Holloway alleged that Bodin, with the knowledge and assistance of her husband Kyle, had embezzled substantial sums of money from Holloway while in its employ. On February 7, 2011, Holloway amended its petition to add Iberia Bank Corporation as a defendant. On February 28, 2011, Holloway again filed a Supplemental and [14-248 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] Amended Petition adding as defendants " Eric Broussard, Individually, Inzarella, Feldman and Purciau, A Professional Corporation [,] and John W. Wright, Ltd., A certified Public Accounting Corporation." Holloway alleged that Broussard, acting " individually and/or in the course and scope of his employment with Inzarella, Feldman and Purciau," from " late 2002 through December 2008," and " individually and/or in the course and scope of his employment with Wright from January 2009 through March, 2010," as accountant for Holloway, had cooperated with and helped Bodin and her husband steal substantial sums of money from Holloway.
On April 19, 2011, the Inzarella Firm filed an exception of Res Judicata which was granted by the trial court. The trial court's judgment granting the Inzarella Firm's exception of res judicata was affirmed on appeal before this court in Holloway Drilling Equipment, Inc. v. Bodin, 12-355 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/7/12) 107 So.3d 699, writ not considered, 13-251 (La.3/8/13) 109 So.3d 353.
On March 7, 2012, while the Inzarella Firm's appeal was pending in this court, Holloway filed its Fourth Supplemental and Amending Petition adding Gregory Inzarella, individually, as a defendant in the matter alleging that he " as the owner and managing partner of the Inzarella Firm" acted " negligently and/or intentionally in assisting [Bodin] and/or [Eric] Broussard in" embezzling money from Holloway. On April 2, 2012, Gregory Inzarella, individually,
filed a Peremptory Exception of Res Judicata asserting that the Receipt and Release Agreement of March 2009, bars Holloway's action against him, individually, essentially for the same reasons this court found it barred recovery against the Inzarella Firm. Holloway appeals, asserting the trial court erred in sustaining [14-248 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] Gregory ...