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Holloway Drilling Equip. v. Broussard

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

January 14, 2015

HOLLOWAY DRILLING EQUIPMENT, ET AL.
v.
ERIC BROUSSARD, ET AL

Page 165

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 166

APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-2011-2460. HONORABLE PATRICK LOUIS MICHOT, DISTRICT JUDGE.

REVERSED IN PART; AFFIRMEED IN PART; AND REMANDED.

William H. Parker, III, Allen & Gooch, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: John W. Wright, Ltd.

Michael A. Patterson, Latoya D. Jordan, Attorney at Law, Baton Rouge, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Eric Broussard.

L. Clayton Burgess, APLC, Angela B. Odinet, Attorney at Law, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Holloway Drilling Equipment, Inc., Holloway Rentals, Inc.

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

OPINION

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[14-668 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] SAUNDERS, Judge.

This is an appeal from the judgment of the trial court sustaining an exception of res judicata and denying an exception of peremption. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment sustaining the exception of res judicata and remand for further proceedings, but affirm the trial court's judgment denying the exception of peremption.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Danielle Bodin[1] (hereafter " Bodin" ) was employed as a bookkeeper and runner by Holloway Drilling Equipment, Inc. and Holloway Equipment Rentals, Inc. (hereafter collectively referred to as " Holloway" ) from 2002 to 2010. Holloway employed Inzerella, Feldman and Pourciau, APC (hereafter " the Inzerella Firm[2] " ) as its accounting firm until 2008. After terminating the Inzerella Firm, Holloway discovered a large discrepancy in the final bill from the Inzerella Firm. As a result, a dispute arose between Holloway and the Inzerella Firm regarding the final fee charged by the Inzerella Firm for its accounting services to Holloway. The Inzerella Firm claimed Holloway owed it $23,737.99 for its services.

On March 26, 2009, Holloway and the Inzerella Firm signed a Receipt and Release Agreement resolving the billing dispute. The parties agreed that Holloway would pay, and the Inzerella Firm would accept, the sum of $12,000.00 as a full and complete payment of any monies owed by Holloway to the Inzerella Firm for its services. The Agreement was notarized by Bodin and was signed by Gregory J. Inzerella, as President of the Inzerella Firm, and Rickey A. Holloway, as President of Holloway Drilling.

[14-668 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] On March 11, 2010, Holloway filed suit against Bodin, her husband, Kyle Bodin, and their business enterprise, Butterfly Bodies, LLC. Holloway alleged that Bodin, with the knowledge and assistance of her husband, Kyle Bodin, had embezzled substantial sums of money from Holloway while in its employ.

On February 28, 2011, Holloway filed a second Supplemental and 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 March 31, 2011, Holloway filed a complaint with the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants against John W. Wright, Ltd. (hereafter " Wright" ), the Inzerella Firm, and Eric Broussard (hereafter " Broussard" ) pursuant to La.R.S. 37:101 et. seq.[3]

The Inzerella Firm filed an exception of res judicata based on the Receipt and Release

Page 168

Agreement. The trial court granted the exception, which was affirmed on appeal 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 ( Holloway Drilling I ).

[14-668 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] On May 2, 2011, Wright filed a petition to establish a district court proceeding pursuant to La.R.S. 37:108. On July 1, 2011, following a joint motion to dismiss, an order of voluntary dismissal was signed dismissing Broussard without prejudice.

On March 7, 2012, Holloway filed its Fourth Supplemental and Amending Petition adding Gregory Inzerella, 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 Inzerella, individually, filed an exception of res judicata, asserting that the Receipt and Release Agreement of March 2009, barred Holloway's action against him, individually, essentially for the same reasons this court found it barred recovery against the Inzerella Firm. Holloway appealed and a panel of this court reversed the trial court's judgment sustaining the exception and remanded the matter for further proceedings in Holloway Drilling Equipment, Inc. v. Bodin, 14-248 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/26/14), __ So.3d __, ( Holloway Drilling II ).

On January 31, 2014, Broussard filed Exceptions of Res Judicata and Peremption. The trial court sustained the exception of res judicata, but denied the exception of peremption. It is from this lengthy and ...


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