JEFFERY J. ROBINSON, MARVIN DABNEY AND MARTIN AVILLA
COLON MOISES, EVENS BADIAU TRUCKING INC., PROTECTIVE INSURANCE COMPANY, FEDEX CUSTOM CRITICAL, INC., AND U-HAUL CO. OF LOUISIANA
APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 2013-06780, DIVISION " H-12" . Honorable Val P. Exnicios, Judge Pro Tempore.
Vernon Palmer Thomas, Attorney at Law, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS, JEFFREY J. ROBINSON, MARVIN DABNEY AND MARTIN AVILLA.
Glenn B. Adams, Leandro R. Area, PORTEOUS HAINKEL & JOHNSON, L.L.P., New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES, UHAUL CO. OF LOUISIANA AND REPWEST INSURANCE CO.
(Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano). LOVE, J., CONCURS IN PART AND DISSENTS IN PART AND ASSIGNS REASONS.
Roland L. Belsome, J.
[2014 1027 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] In this personal injury case, the plaintiffs appeal the trial court's dismissal with prejudice of defendants, U-Haul and Repwest. The plaintiffs also take issue with the trial court's refusal to rule on their petition for declaratory judgment before dismissing U-Haul from the lawsuit. For the following reasons, we affirm in part, reverse in part and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Jeffrey Robinson was driving a rented U-Haul truck with two passengers when it collided with a FedEx delivery truck on North Claiborne Avenue, in New Orleans. Mr. Robinson was not insured but he allegedly purchased " riskp-rotection" from U-Haul as outlined in the rental agreement.
As a result of the accident, the occupants of the U-Haul truck, Mr. Robinson, Marvin Dabney and Martin Avilla, filed a personal injury lawsuit. The named defendants were: Colon Moises, the driver of the FedEx truck; Evens Badiau Trucking, Inc., the owner of the FedEx truck; Protective Insurance Company, [2014 1027 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] FedEx's insurer; FedEx Custom Critical Inc.; and U-Haul Company of Louisiana. The plaintiffs' petition alleged that the cause of the accident was the negligence of Mr. Moises, who was driving the FedEx truck.
Mr. Moises, Evens, Protective, and FedEx attempted to remove the suit to the Eastern District of Louisiana (EDLA) based on the premise that U-Haul was improperly joined as a non-diverse defendant. However, the EDLA remanded the matter back to state court.
In state court, the plaintiffs amended their petition alleging Repwest Insurance Company, U-Haul's insurer and provided uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for Mr. Robinson. Thereafter, U-Haul filed an exception of no cause of action, and Repwest filed a motion for summary judgment. In response, the plaintiffs filed a petition for declaratory judgment seeking a declaration that UHaul's rental agreement with Mr. Robinson provided liability and UM protection. After a hearing, the trial court granted Repwest's motion for summary judgment, and U-Haul's exception of no cause of action. There was no ruling on the plaintiff's petition for declaratory judgment. Though the plaintiffs filed a request, the trial court did not issue written reasons for judgment. This appeal followed.
On appeal, the plaintiffs raise three principal assignments of error: 1) the trial erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Repwest; 2) the trial court erred in granting U-Haul's exception of no cause of action; and 3) the trial court [2014 1027 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] erred in granting U-Haul's ...