BIOSONIX, LLC AND WILLIAM H. LEWIS
BENJAMIN ASHER LUKE, ET AL
APPEAL FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF RAPIDES, DOCKET NO. 244,629. HONORABLE MARY L. DOGGETT, DISTRICT JUDGE.
James L. Maughan, The Maughan Law Firm, L.L.C., Baton Rouge, LA, ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Biosonix, L.L.C. and William Lewis.
James H. Gibson, Stacy N. Kennedy, Allen & Gooch, Lafayette, LA, ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Benjamin Luke and Benjamin A. Luke, Attorney at Law, L.L.C.
Court composed of Sylvia R. CooZnnon J. Gremillion and David Kent Savoie, Judges.
[14-1207 La.App. 3 Cir. 2]
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On May 18, 2012, Plaintiffs, Biosonix, L.L.C. and Williams Lewis, filed a legal malpractice suit against Benjamin Luke, an attorney who resides and works in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Plaintiffs alleged Luke was negligent in drafting security agreements on behalf of Sports Design & Development, Inc. (SDD) and that his representation of SDD created conflicts of interest. They further alleged Luke's ongoing representation of SDD violated Rule 1.9 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. SDD is a licensed Louisiana corporation with its principal place of business in Rapides Parish.
The damages were allegedly caused by affirmative acts that occurred in Rapides Parish while Luke was representing SDD in litigation involving claims and defenses substantially related to matters involved in Luke's prior representation of Lewis and Biosonix. The Plaintiffs maintained the wrongful conduct occurred in Rapides Parish when Luke traveled there to engage in activity in breach of his fiduciary duties. Plaintiffs also maintained they suffered damages in Rapides Parish because Lewis' immovable property in Rapides Parish was seized and they were subject to additional litigation in Rapides Parish as a result of Luke's actions.
In response to Plaintiffs' suit, Luke filed an exception of improper venue as to Rapides Parish, arguing since he resides and
works in Avoyelles Parish, the Plaintiffs' assertions against him involve allegedly wrongful acts which would have occurred at his law office in Avoyelles Parish. On October 22, 2012, an evidentiary hearing was held, at which Luke testified. He stated that all of the drafting of documents and communications with SDD occurred at his law office in Avoyelles Parish. The trial court sustained Luke's exception of improper venue [14-1207 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] and transferred the matter to Avoyelles Parish. Plaintiffs then filed for supervisory writs with this court.
On May 22, 2013, this court granted in part Plaintiffs' writ application, and instructed they should be given an opportunity to amend and cure any defect prior to transferring the matter to Avoyelles Parish. We stated in pertinent part:
We find the trial court erred when, after sustaining the respondent's declinatory exception of improper venue, it failed to order that the relators are permitted a time within which to amend their petition to remove the grounds of the exception as required by La.Code Civ.P. art. 932. See also M and M Gaming, Inc. v. Storey, 01-545 (La.App. 4 Cir. 5/30/01), 788 So.2d 1230. We hereby grant the relators thirty days from this court's ruling within which to amend ...