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Marable v. Empire Truck Sales of La., LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

April 27, 2015

WAYNE MARABLE, ET AL.
v.
EMPIRE TRUCK SALES OF LOUISIANA, LLC, ET AL. CONSOLIDATED WITH: WAYNE MARABLE , ET AL.
v.
EMPIRE TRUCK SALES OF LOUISIANA, ET AL

ON APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 2012-10471 C\W 2012-10523, 2013-04560, DIVISION " I" . Honorable Piper D. Griffin, Judge.

C.G. Norwood, Jr., Patrick J. O'Cain, McGlinchey Stafford, PLLC, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR RELATOR/DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA LLC.

John B. Davis, Andrew C. Kolb, Mackenzie S. Ledet, Robert L. Blankenship, Baker Donelson Berman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, OUNSEL FOR RELATOR/KLLM TRANSPORT SERVICES, LLC.

Caleb H. Didriksen, Erin B. Saucier, Didriksen Law Firm, PLC, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR RESPONDENT/WILLIAM JONES, IV AS COCURATOR FOR CONNIE MARABLE.

Andrew D. Weinstock, Sheryl Howard, Joseph G. Glass, Duplass, Zwain, Bourgeois, Pfister and Weinstock, Metairie, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR RESPONDENT/FIREMAN'S FUND INSURANCE COMPANY.

Court composed of Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Sr., Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Rosemary Ledet. LEDET, J., DISSENTING WITH REASONS.

OPINION

Roland L. Belsome, J.

Page 1070

[2014-1082 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] In compliance with the directive of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Wayne Marable, et al v. Empire Truck Sales of Louisiana, LLC, et al,[1] remanding this matter for consideration on the merits, we consider the relators' request for review of the trial court's denial of their exceptions of res judicata.

Standard of Review

In Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP v. Thomas, 12-1304 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/20/13), 113 So.3d 355, 357, writ denied, 13-0894 (La. 5/31/13), 118 So.3d 397, this Court articulated that appellate courts review issues of fact in connection with an exception of res judicata under a manifest error or clearly wrong standard; however, appellate courts review issues of law de novo. Additionally, because the legal doctrine of res judicata is stricti juris, any doubt regarding its applicability must be resolved against its application. Fletchinger v. Fletchinger, 10-0474 (La.App. 4 Cir. 1/19/11), 56 So.3d 403. Finally, the moving party bears the onus of proving the essential elements of res judicata. Porter v. Louisiana Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., 11-0101 (La.App. 4 Cir. 8/31/11), 72 So.3d 946.

Page 1071

[2014-1082 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Facts and Procedural History

The facts of this case are not in dispute. The only question before this Court is whether a comatose interdict was properly before the trial court when motions for summary judgment were granted, dismissing the relators, Daimler Trucks North American, LLC (DTNA) and KLLM Transport Services, LLC (KLLM), from the suit with prejudice.

Connie Marable (Connie) was seriously injured in an accident when her husband's freight truck allegedly shifted into forward gear, and dragged her underneath the vehicle.

Connie was rendered comatose and subsequently interdicted. Her husband Wayne Marable (Wayne) was appointed curator. The interdiction proceeding was filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court and was allotted to Division " D" . Following the interdiction, Wayne filed suit personally and on behalf of Connie against Empire Truck Sales (Empire) and its general manager Curtis Hudspeth (Hudspeth) in Orleans Parish Civil District Court (Marable suit), alleging that Empire's faulty work or failure to work on the truck caused the accident which injured Connie. That suit was allotted to Division " I" .

Later, Bill and Engelique Jones (the Jones plaintiffs), Connie's adult children from a previous marriage, filed suit on their own behalf in Orleans Parish Civil District Court (Jones suit) against not only Empire and Hudspeth, but also: Wayne; Great West Casualty Company, Wayne's insurer; and DTNA and KLLM. More specifically, the petition claimed that DTNA was negligent in the defective design of the truck, and that KLLM, as Wayne's employer and lessor of the freight truck, was responsible for ...


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