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In re W.K.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

June 3, 2015

IN RE: W.K. & W.S.K., JR. APPLYING FOR INTRAFAMILY ADOPTION OF MINOR, W.S.K., III
v.
L.L., NATURAL MOTHER

APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. PARISH OF CALCASIEU, DOCKET NO. 7053. HONORABLE CLAYTON DAVIS, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Annette Roach, Roach & Roach, APLC, Rudie R. Soileau, Jr., Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South, Lake Charles, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Wilford Carter.

Walter M. Sanchez, The Sanchez Law Firm, L.L.C., Lake Charles, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR: W.K. & W.S.K., Jr.

Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Marc T. Amy, and James T. Genovese, Judges. Amy, J., concurs in the result and assigns separate reaons.

OPINION

Page 1281

[15-133 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] GENOVESE, Judge.

In this adoption proceeding, counsel for the natural mother, Wilford Carter,[1] appeals the trial court's award of sanctions, attorney fees, and court costs in favor of the prospective adoptive parent, W.K., and the natural father, W.S.K., Jr. For the following reasons, we reverse.

BACKGROUND

The instant matter instituted by W.K. and W.S.K., Jr., is predicated on an action involving the minor child, W.S.K., III, who is the biological child of L.L. and W.S.K., Jr. In February 2014, a Petition for Intrafamily Adoption was filed wherein W.K., the current wife of W.S.K., Jr., seeks to adopt W.S.K., III. An objection was filed pro se by L.L., the natural mother of W.S.K., III. Subsequently, Mr. Carter was retained to represent L.L. Trial on the adoption petition was set for April 7, 2014, before Judge Guy Bradberry (Judge Bradberry), duly elected judge of the Fourteenth Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Just prior to trial, however, Mr. Carter filed a Motion to Recuse Judge Bradberry from presiding over the adoption. Mr. Carter's recusal motion was referred for hearing before Judge Clayton Davis (Judge Davis), likewise a duly elected judge of the Fourteenth Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

On July 18, 2014, a hearing on Mr. Carter's request to recuse Judge Bradberry from hearing the adoption proceeding was conducted. The recusal was denied.

[15-133 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] On July 22, 2014, a Motion and Order Setting Art. 863[2] Hearing was filed by Judge Davis against Mr. Carter, asserting:

The Court[,] on its own motion and pursuant to [La.Code Civ.P.] art. 863 (D)

Page 1282

and (E)[,] sets a sanctions hearing . . . for the [15-133 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] purpose of determining sanctions, if any, to be assessed against [L.L.] and her counsel, Wilford Carter, for ...

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