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M&M Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Hayes

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

June 5, 2015

M& M FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.
v.
SHEILDA R. HAYES, JERRY L. RICHARD, AND NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE INSURANCE COMPANY

On Appeal from The 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana. Trial Court No. 607651. The Honorable Wilson Fields, Judge Presiding.

G. Thomas Arbour, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for Plaintiff/Appellee, M& M Financial Services, Inc.

R. Vaughn Cimini, David P. Sirera, Lucie E. Thornton, Metairie, Louisiana, for Defendants/Appellants, National Automotive Insurance Company and Jerry L. Richard.

BEFORE: McDONALD, CRAIN, AND HOLDRIDGE, JJ.

OPINION

[2014 1690 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] CRAIN, J.

The holder of a secured promissory note seeks recovery from a third party

Page 1173

who allegedly damaged the collateral for the note. The trial court denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants and granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, awarding the full amount requested. We find that the secured party has no claim against the alleged tortfeasor, reverse the summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, and render summary judgment in favor of the third party and his insurer.

FACTS

The accident giving rise to this litigation occurred when a vehicle driven by Jerry Richard crossed the center line and struck a vehicle owned and operated by Sheilda Hayes. The plaintiff, M& M Financial Services, Inc., held a security interest in the Hayes vehicle and filed suit against Richard and his insurer, National Automotive Insurance Company, seeking to recover $11,446.80, which was the balance due on the promissory note, plus legal interest and attorney fees.

Richard and National defended the suit by asserting that M& M Financial was barred from the requested relief by Louisiana's " No Pay, No Play" law, Louisiana Revised Statute 32:866, because the Hayes vehicle was uninsured at the time of the accident. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. Richard and National sought to have the claims dismissed pursuant to Section 32:866, and M& M Financial requested a judgment for the full amount of its claim. After hearing both motions, the trial court denied the defendants' motion and granted the plaintiffs motion, awarding M& M Financial the sum of $11,446.80, plus legal interest and attorney fees of 25% of the principal and interest. M& M Financial appealed and assigns as error the trial court's finding that the lien holder of an uninsured motor vehicle was not barred from recovery by the No Pay, No Play law.

[2014 1690 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] DISCUSSION

A motion for summary judgment shall be granted only if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions, together with the affidavits, if any, admitted for purposes of the motion for summary judgment, show that there is no genuine issue as to material fact; and that the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 966B(2). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of proving an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 966C. If the movant satisfies the initial burden, the burden shifts to the party opposing summary judgment to present factual support sufficient to show he will be able to satisfy the evidentiary burden at trial. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 966C(2); Suire v. Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, 04-1459 (La. 4/12/05), 907 So.2d 37, 56. The summary judgment procedure is favored and is designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 966A(2). In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, appellate courts review evidence de novo under the same criteria that govern the trial court's determination of whether summary judgment is appropriate. In re Succession of Beard, 13-1717 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/6/14), 147 So.3d 753, 759-60.

No material facts are at issue in this matter. M& M Financial held a security interest in the Hayes vehicle, and the parties agree that the vehicle was uninsured at the time of the accident. Given these facts, M& M Financial's right, if any, to recover damages from Richard and ...


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