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State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Chardonnay Vill. Condo. Ass'n, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 21, 2015

STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY (AS REAL PARTY IN INTEREST AND SUBROGEE OF THEODORA LOURIE)
v.
CHARDONNAY VILLAGE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. AND UNDERWRITER'S AT LLOYD'S LONDON C/W THEODORA LOURIE
v.
CHARDONNAY VILLAGE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. AND UNDERWRITER'S AT LLOYD'S OF LONDON

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 707-912 C/W 708-149, DIVISION " O" . HONORABLE ROSS P. LADART, JUDGE PRESIDING.

J. KENDALL RATHBURN, KAILEY L. LEBOEUF, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, Metairie, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS.

ASHLEY L. BELLEAU, JEREMY D. RUSH, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

Panel composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Robert A. Chaisson, and Robert M. Murphy.

OPINION

Page 302

[14-959 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] JUDE G. GRAVOIS, J.

Plaintiffs/appellants, David Lourie and Walter Lourie, appeal the trial court's grant of summary judgment which dismissed their claims against defendant/appellee, Chardonnay Village Condominium Association, Inc. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 14, 1997, appellants' mother, Mrs. Theodora Lourie, purchased Unit 26C of Chardonnay Village Condominiums in Kenner, Louisiana. On November 8, 2010, a fire occurred in the kitchen of Mrs. Lourie's condo unit. As a result of the fire, Mrs. Lourie's insurer, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (" State Farm" ), paid her $28,200.00 for damages to her condo unit, plus $34,330.07 for damages to the contents of her condo unit and $16,645.88 for living expenses.

On November 7, 2011, Mrs. Lourie filed a petition for damages against appellee, Chardonnay Village Condominium Association, Inc. (" the Association" ), [14-959 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] and its insurer, Underwriters at Lloyd's, London (" Lloyd's" ).[1] The petition alleged that pursuant to La. R.S. 9:1123.112 of the Louisiana Condominium Act, the Association's insurance policy with Lloyd's provided coverage for the damages at issue, and thus the Association and/or Lloyd's must reimburse Mrs. Lourie not only for the payments State Farm made to her or on her behalf, but also for additional damages sustained to her condo unit not covered under the State Farm policy. Alternatively, the petition asserted that the Association was liable in negligence and breach of

Page 303

duty should it be shown that it did not obtain the insurance coverage required by the Louisiana Condominium Act. Mrs. Lourie prayed for judgment in her favor in the sum of $113,000.00.[2]

The Association filed a motion for summary judgment on June 3, 2014, arguing that it was not liable for the damages occasioned by the fire. According to the Association, it properly exempted itself from insuring the interior of Mrs. Lourie's condo unit by notifying her on multiple occasions that it would not be maintaining insurance on the interior of her condo unit. The Association alleged that notice was provided in the 1981 Bylaws and the Rules and Regulations, both of which made up the " Declaration of the Association" at the time Mrs. Lourie purchased her condo and which the sale of her condo was made subject to. The Association also argued that Mrs. Lourie was additionally put on notice when the Association's property manager hand-delivered the Association's revised 2009 [14-959 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] Rules and Regulations to her. Alternatively, the Association argued it was not liable for the betterments and/or improvements in Mrs. Lourie's unit as provided for in La. R.S. 9:1123.112(A)(1).

A hearing was held on the matter on August 5, 2014. At the end of the hearing, the trial court granted the Association's motion for summary judgment; the trial court signed a judgment to that effect that same day. In its written reasons for judgment issued on August 8, 2014, the trial court found that Mrs. Lourie had both constructive and actual notice that the Association would not provide insurance coverage for individual condo units. According to the trial court, Mrs. Lourie was given constructive notice pursuant to the public records' law. The court also found that it was uncontroverted that she was hand-delivered the Association's 2009 revised Rules and Regulations, and ...


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