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Aldridge v. Akula

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

February 11, 2015

ALICE M. ALDRIDGE
v.
SHIVA A. KUMAR AKULA, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF AND SHIVA KLTMAR AKULA, LLC

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 732-064, DIVISION "M" HONORABLE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

DEBORAH A. VILLIO, ATTORNEY AT LAW, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

Panel composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Marc E. Johnson, and Hans J. Liljeberg

HANS J. LILJEBERG JUDGE

Defendant appeals the ruling of the district court granting a permanent injunction from eviction in favor of plaintiff. For the following reasons, we dismiss the appeal and remand.

Procedural and Factual History

On October 17, 2013, plaintiff, Alice M. Aldridge ("Ms. Aldridge"), filed a Petition for Breach of Contract, for Injunctive Relief, and for Specific Performance. Ms. Aldridge alleged in her petition that sometime around the year 1999, she and her son-in-law, Shiva A. Kumar Akula, individually and on behalf of/and Shiva Kumar Akula, LLC ("Dr. Akula"), entered into an oral lease for the immovable property located at 3701 Clearview Parkway in Metairie, Louisiana.[1]The petition alleges that the residential lease was for the fixed term of Ms. Aldridge's lifetime with an option to purchase the home. Ms. Aldridge maintained that she resided at the Clearview residence for over 13 years and exercised her rights under the lease agreement to renovate the property, repair the property following Hurricane Katrina, and to otherwise maintain the property at her expense, including but not limited to maintaining homeowner's insurance in her name, paying all property taxes, and obtaining an SBA Disaster Loan in her name for repairs to the property. In total, Ms. Aldridge alleged that she spent $200, 000.00 in renovations, maintenance and repairs in addition to the $27, 000.00 SBA loan to complete post-Katrina repairs, all of which Ms. Aldridge alleged to be payment of rent for the property.

Ms. Aldridge further maintained that she believed Dr. Akula intended to breach the residential lease as indicated by pleadings filed in a separate domestic proceeding between Dr. Akula and her daughter, Jamie Akula, [2] wherein Dr. Akula sought, among other things, the exclusive use and occupancy of the Clearview residence should he not be granted the use and occupancy of his marital home, located at 426 Tudor Avenue in River Ridge, Louisiana.[3] [4]

Consequently, Ms. Aldridge sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief preventing Dr. Akula from attempting to improperly evict her from the Clearview property as she was entitled to enforcement of the lease agreement and specific performance of all terms of the lease. Ms. Aldridge additionally sought damages for breach of contract, and in the alternative, compensation for expense, or the enrichment of the property, should the district court determine no lease existed between the parties.

On December 18, 2013, the district court granted Ms. Aldridge's request for preliminary injunction enjoining Dr. Akula from evicting her pending the trial. On January 8, 2014, Dr. Akula filed a reconventional demand seeking damages for past and future hotel, restaurant and storage bills; postal box and laundry costs; attorneys' fees and court costs; emotional distress and anguish; and loss of enjoyment of life. Thereafter, a hearing on the merits of Ms. Aldridge's petition was heard by the court, at the conclusion of which, the district court found the existence of a valid lease between the parties. On February 6, 2014, the district court rendered judgment granting Ms. Aldridge's request for a permanent injunction from eviction from the property located at 3701 Clearview Parkway. The district court denied Dr. Akula's motion for new trial. Dr. Akula now appeals.

Discussion

Upon review of the record, we find the judgment appealed is not a valid, final judgment; therefore, this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider defendant's appeal. While the instant judgment grants plaintiffs request for permanent injunction, it does not dispose of all claims asserted by plaintiff in her petition. Specifically, the judgment does not address whether plaintiff is entitled to damages for breach of contract. The judgment further fails to address defendant's demand in reconvention.

Since the district court rendered a partial judgment as to less than all the claims asserted, and the judgment has not been designated as a final judgment by the court "after an express determination that there is no just reason for delay, " the judgment of the court is not a final judgment under La. C.C.P. art. 1915, and is not appealable as one "in which appeals are given by law" under La. C.C.P. art. 2083. See Claiborne Medical Corporation, et al v. Gulnaz Dissiqui, 12-759 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2/28/13), 113 So.3d 1109, 1113, citing Laviolette v. Dubose, 07-916 (La.App. 5 Cir. 3/25/08), 983 So.2d 160, 162.

Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal without prejudice and remand the matter to the district court for further proceedings.

APPEAL DISMISSED; REMANDED


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