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Matte v. Brown

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 10, 2014

RICKY J. MATTE, ET AL.
v.
ROBERT BROWN, ET AL

APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF ST. LANDRY, NO. 07-C-1815-A. HONORABLE JAMES P. DOHERTY, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE.

AFFIRMED.

Thomas A. Thomassie, IV, Domengeaux Wright Roy & Edwards, LLC, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Robert Brown, Doris Brown, Samuel Brown.

David J. Ayo, Allen & Gooch, a Law Corporation, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Paul E. Brown, Paul E. Brown, Attorney At Law, LLC.

Bruce A. Gaudin, Opelousas, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLEES: Ricky J. Matte, Larry Joseph Matte, James Terry Matte, Charles Kenneth Matte, Jeanelfia Brown Matte.

John H. Pucheu, Pucheu, Pucheu & Robinson, LLP, Eunice, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Dorris Lynn Fontenot.

Court composed of John D. Saunders, Jimmie C. Peters, and James T. Genovese, Judges.

OPINION

Page 775

[14-644 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] PETERS, J.

Robert Brown, Doris Brown, and Samuel Brown (hereinafter sometimes referred to as " the Browns" ) appeal a trial court judgment granting summary judgment in favor of Paul E. Brown (Paul Brown) and Paul E. Brown, Attorney at Law, LLC (Brown LLC), dismissing their demands for damages. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court judgment.

DISCUSSION OF THE RECORD

The issue before us involves the execution of a cash sale deed on November 9, 2006, wherein Louis Merhige sold Robert and Doris Brown, who are husband and wife, a 2.22 acre tract of land located in Section 30, Township 6 South, Range 2 East of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Paul Brown, who is a Eunice, Louisiana attorney and the nephew of Robert Brown, acted as the notary public in the execution of that cash sale deed, and the property description contained in the deed was derived from an August 26, 2006 survey plat prepared by Ryan J. Fuselier, a land surveyor. The survey plat had been prepared by Mr. Fuselier for Samuel Brown, the son

Page 776

of Robert and Doris Brown; was referenced in the property description contained in the cash sale deed; and a copy was attached to, and made a part of, the document. At some point later, Samuel Brown moved a structure onto a part of the 2.22 acres.

This property transaction gave rise to an April 11, 2007 petitory action filed against the Browns[1] by five landowners,[2] who claimed in their petition that the 2.22 acre tract of land acquired by the Browns was located within a 4.44 acre tract of [14-644 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] land owned by them. The landowners further asserted in their petitory action that they and their ancestors in title had enjoyed uninterrupted possession of the 4.44 acres since 1928.

Paul Brown and Brown LLC initially represented the Browns in the petitory action, but withdrew as their counsel of record on May 22, 2008. The pleadings giving rise to the issue now before us arise in the form of third-party demands against Paul Brown and Brown LLC, which were incorporated into the answers filed by the Browns in response to the landowners' pleadings.[3] The basic assertion in the third-party demand filed by Robert and Doris Brown is that Paul Brown and Brown LLC are liable to them in damages because they relied on his legal advice in purchasing the property and in placing a structure on the property. Samuel Brown's third-party demand asserted that Paul Brown and Brown LLC were liable to him in damages for the same legal advice given to his parents.

On July 29, 2010, the trial court executed a judgment dismissing the landowners' principal demand against the Browns based on a compromise agreement entered into by the litigants. However, the litigants did not file a copy of the compromise in the record.

Paul Brown and Brown LLC responded to the third-party demands and filed two unsuccessful motions for summary judgment before filing the motion now before this court.[4] On January 16, 2014, Paul Brown and Brown LLC filed the [14-644 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] summary judgment motion now before us. In that motion, they asserted that the Browns' third-party demands should be dismissed because they ...


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