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Devillier v. Farmers Ins. Exch.

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 14, 2015

DAINE DEVILLIER, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
FARMERS INSURANCE EXCHANGE and KIM BROUSSARD, Defendants-Appellees

Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 2013-1631. Honorable H. Stephens Winters, Judge.

BREITHAUPT, DUNN, DUBOS, SHAFTO, & WOLLESON, LLC, By: P. Scott Wolleson, Russell A. Woodard, Jr., Counsel for Appellant.

KINCHEN, WALKER, BIENVENU, BARGAS & REED, LLC, By: Valerie Briggs Bargas, Benjamin H. Dampf, Counsel for Appellees.

Before BROWN, DREW, and LOLLEY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 994

[49-562 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] BROWN, CHIEF JUDGE

Plaintiff, Daine Devillier, filed the instant action for damages arising out of the alleged negligent misrepresentation and professional negligence of his Tennessee insurance agent, Kim Broussard, and his insurance company, Farmers Insurance Exchange (" Farmers" ). From the trial court's judgment granting an exception of lack of personal jurisdiction filed by Ms. Broussard, and exceptions of forum non conveniens and nonjoinder filed by Farmers, we amend and, as amended, affirm.

Facts and Procedural Background

Daine Devillier works in the music industry and has homes in Nashville, Tennessee, and West Monroe, Louisiana. In his petition, Devillier claims Tennessee residency and domiciliary status. Devillier's 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 was stolen from his home in West Monroe on October 17, 2012. The car was insured under a policy issued by Farmers. Ms. Broussard, who is a resident of Nashville, is Devillier's insurance agent. The agency

Page 995

is located in Nashville. On October 24, 2012, proof of loss was presented to Farmers, together with proof of the vehicle's value, stated to be $88,000. On December 7, 2012, Farmers informed Devillier that the policy provided comprehensive limits of $50,000. According to plaintiff, this was the first time he was aware of the alleged coverage limitation. Farmers paid Devillier $50,000 for his stolen car.

Thereafter, on May 21, 2013, plaintiff filed the instant action in the 4th JDC in Monroe, Louisiana, against Ms. Broussard and Farmers, seeking damages for negligent misrepresentation and professional negligence; damages for bad faith and penalties for failure to pay plaintiff's claim [49-562 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] timely; damages arising out of the uninsured loss of his vehicle; financial hardship and emotional distress damages; and an award of attorney fees.

On September 11, 2013, Ms. Broussard filed an exception of lack of personal jurisdiction, urging that she is a resident and domiciliary of Tennessee and that " any and all information and representations occurred in the State of Tennessee, ... any actions or inactions by the agent did not occur in the State of Louisiana ... any and all advice and any and all duties arose and occurred in the State of Tennessee." On September 23, 2013, Farmers filed exceptions of improper venue and nonjoinder, asserting that the 4th JDC is an improper venue under La. C.C.P. art. 123, and that Ms. Broussard, a party needed for proper adjudication, cannot be joined due to the court's lack of jurisdiction over her.

A hearing on the exceptions was held on February 18, 2014, and on March 10, 2014, judgment granting the exceptions filed by defendants was rendered. It is from ...


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