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Wegmann & Babst, LLC v. Feingerts

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

June 24, 2015

WEGMANN & BABST, LLC, AND JAMES A. BABST
v.
BRUCE L. FEINGERTS, ROBERT L. MANARD, PLC; ROBERT L. MANARD, III; PAUL E. MAYEAUX; DWIGHT W. NORTON; AND FAVRET, DEMAREST, RUSSO & LUTKEWITTE APLC, CONSOLIDATED WITH: BRUCE FEINGERTS
v.
AMERICAN CASUALTY CO. OF READING, PA

APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 2014-03745, C/W 2003-01073, DIVISION " D-16" . Honorable Lloyd J. Medley, Judge.

CIVIL DISTRICT COURT JUNE 6, 2014 JUDGMENT VACATED; OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION ADMINISTRATION JUNE 4, 2014 JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.

James A. Babst, PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS, Pro se, New Orleans, LA.

Michael C. Darnell, Edwin R. Murray, MURRAY DARNELL & ASSOCIATES, L.L.C., New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, BRUCE L. FEINGERTS.

(Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Sr., Judge Terri F. Love).

OPINION

Dennis R. Bagneris, Sr., J.

Page 1132

[2014-1185 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] This matter involves an ongoing dispute over attorney's fees and costs between Mr. Bruce L. Feingerts and his attorney, Mr. James A. Babst, arising out of a workers' compensation case. For the following reasons, we hereby vacate the Civil District Court's June 6, 2014 judgment that granted the exception of improper venue, and affirm the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration's June 4, 2014 judgment.

FACTS

The underlying facts of this case are set forth in this Court's previous opinion Feingerts v. American Casualty Co. of Reading, 13-701, 132 So.3d 994 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/23/2013), whereby this Court[1] affirmed an October 25, 2012 workers' compensation judge's (" WCJ" ) decision to award Mr. Feingerts' workers' compensation attorneys collectively $10,000.00 in attorney fees upon his $50,000.00 settlement, and ordered Mr. Babst to pay Mr. Feingerts $5,000.00 for attorney's fees plus all costs incurred in connection with his having to file and successfully pursue his petition for nullification of judgment obtained through fraud or ill practices. In accordance with the final October 25, 2012 judgment, [2014-1185 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] counsel for Mr. Feingerts sent two letters to Mr. Babst, dated April 11, 2014 and April 15, 2014, requesting that he immediately pay Mr. Feingerts any funds due to him currently being held in Mr. Babst's

Page 1133

trust accounts. Thereafter, on April 15, 2014, Mr. Babst filed a petition for concursus in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans regarding the dispute of attorney's fees and costs, and transferred Mr. Feingerts' settlement funds to the concursus proceeding.

On April 24, 2014, Mr. Feingerts filed a motion to enforce judgment and for sanctions in the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration (" OWCA" ) alleging that it had the exclusive jurisdiction to hear the underlying concursus proceeding. The OWCA granted Mr. Feingerts' motion to enforce and ordered that Mr. Babst appear and show cause on May 13, 2014 why he should not be sanctioned to pay all fees and costs incurred by Mr. ...


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