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Rain & Hail, LLC v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 20, 2015

RAIN AND HAIL, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
DEXTER DAVIS, Defendant-Appellant

Appealed from the Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Carroll, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 21,996. Honorable John D. Crigler, Judge.

DEXTER DAVIS, In Proper Person.

POWERS, SELLERS, & CHAPOTON, LLP, By: John D. Powers, Steven H. Watterson, HAMILTON & HAMILTON, By: John C. Hamilton, Counsel for Appellee.

Before BROWN, CARAWAY, and PITMAN, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1205

[49,813 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] BROWN, CHIEF JUDGE

This is a suit to collect on a promissory note which represents unpaid insurance premiums on a multi peril crop insurance (" MPCI" ) policy. The instant appeal was filed by defendant, Dexter Davis, from the trial court's October 17, 2013, judgment granting a motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiff, Rain and Hail, L.L.C., ordering Davis to pay the amount sought by plaintiff, which included unpaid premiums, accrued contractual interest, legal interest, attorney fees and costs of the proceedings. It is from this judgment that defendant, Dexter Davis, has appealed.

Procedural Background

According to plaintiff's petition, which was filed on January 16, 2013, and amended on March 7, 2013, defendant owes the

Page 1206

unpaid balance of a promissory note which reflects crop insurance premium assessments for MP Policy No. 0696368 for the policy period October 1, 2011 - November 1, 2012, together with interest and costs.[1] The promissory note is incorporated into and is part of the insurance policy itself. On February 8, 2013, Davis, appearing pro se, filed a responsive pleading in which he asserted that he did not owe plaintiff the amounts sought and noted that there was no signed promissory note attached to plaintiff's petition to evidence the alleged obligation.

On June 3, 2013, Rain and Hail filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking judgment in its favor and asserting that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that plaintiff was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. [49,813 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] In support, plaintiff filed a memorandum together with exhibits and an affidavit; the complete insurance documents evidencing Davis's signature were not attached thereto. On June 12, 2013, Davis filed a response, urging that plaintiff had not attached to either its petition or motion for summary judgment a signed promissory note evidencing his obligation to pay the alleged indebtedness. Defendant urged the court to deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and to dismiss the case with prejudice. A hearing on the motion for summary judgment was set for August 8, 2013.

On that date, at the time set for the hearing, plaintiff's counsel and the trial court noted that Davis was late, and the court allowed counsel to begin his argument in support of the motion. Defendant appeared 20-30 minutes into the hearing and related that his tardiness was due to an automobile accident. When the judge asked Davis whether he was prepared to go forward, defendant responded, " No, that's why I was trying to get here quickly to continue this." The trial court noted defendant's request to continue, but then stated that he had some questions about the merits of the motion for summary judgment, so would consider both issues.

The court stated that while plaintiff's petition was to recover indebtedness on a promissory note and that there was an insurance contract containing the promissory language attached thereto, Rain and Hail had not attached any documentation bearing defendant's signature to indicate his indebtedness. Instead, the blank for Davis's signature on the insurance contract/promissory note contained the notation " See Attached." Counsel for plaintiff conceded the defect and attempted to introduce a document entitled [49,813 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] " Production Reporting Form Spring Crop Year 2010," and purportedly signed by Davis in conjunction with and on the same date as the insurance contract/promissory note sued upon. The court did not allow plaintiff's ...


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