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Bailey v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

July 29, 2015

OLIVIA BAILEY, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, WILLIAM BROWN, GRACE GUIDRY, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RAYMOND J. GUIDRY, MAXINE P. HARRIS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, DAMION D. HARRIS, MAXINE P. HARRIS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JOHN Q. HARRIS, III, LINDA DILLION, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, FRANCIS MENDS JOHNSON, HAYES J. LEPINE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RUTH L. LEPINE, STACY BUFFIR, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, GENEVIA T. MARSHALL, CHERYL NICHOLAS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, CALVIN R. NICHOLAS, ROBERT WASHINGTON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ROSIE H. PAIGE, JUE PAIGE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RUBY N. PAIGE, REBEKAH PAINE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, CHARLES S. PAINE, III, JANICE TOUPS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RAOUL C. TOUPS, THE SUCCESSION OF NOLA TOUPS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, NOLA M. TOUPS, ELVIRA AGUILARD, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ERNEST C. AGUILARD, KAREN RODRIGUE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, FELIX ALEXIE, BETTY ARCEMENT, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JULIEN J. ARCEMENT, JR., GENECE BAKER, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JOSEPH THOMAS BAKER, JESSIE TIGLER, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, WADE BETHLEY, HAROLD BOWIE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, CLARENCE S. BOWIE, LORETTA DEMMER, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, CECIL P. BREAUX, SR., RACHEL DELCAMBRE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ALVIN J. COMEAUX, GRACE COURSEY, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ROBERT COURSEY, MARY ARLENE THOMPSON CREDEUR, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, FREDDIE F. CREDEUR, CAROL WALTERS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, PARIS T. DARDAR, MARY BRADLEY DORIS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ANDREW J. DORIS, PORTER EDWARDS, JR., ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, PORTER EDWARDS, JOAN HAAS FOLSE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, LLOYD J. FOLSE, CARLA SIMMONS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, FRANK MORRIS, WYNESTA R. GASTON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, SHERMAN GASTON, ROSE LEE W. GASTON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RAYFIELD GASTON, JR., EVELYN GAUTHREAUX, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, MURPHY J. GAUTHREAUX, SHARON GAUTHREAUX, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, EARL GAUTHREAUX, JOYCE A. GEORGE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, CLARENCE GEORGE, JR., WAYNE GUIDRY, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, TILMAN A. GUIDRY, DOROTHY S. HARPER, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, L. J. HARPER, LEONTINE HARRIS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, FREDDIE HARRIS, ALINE HILL, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RAYMOND HILL, MYRTLE SHIELDS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JAMES JACKSON, SHIRLEY JACKSON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, H. L. JACKSON, JOYCE J. JOHNSON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JESSIE JOHNSON, JR., SHARLENE KELLUP, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ISIAH KELLUP, JR., OTILIA BATISTE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JOSEPH W. LEBLANC, SR., EVELYN BOUTTE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, STUART A. LIRETTE, SR., BEATRICE MATTHEWS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RICHARD MATTHEWS, JR., HERMINA MCCALL, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ROBERT MCCALL, EVELYN GARRISON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JIMMIE MCGEE, VIRGINIA DIMARCO, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, LESLIE W. MEAD, DONNA MEERMAN, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, LEONARDUS H. MEERMAN, JR., ROSEMARY CLARK, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, NOBLE MORTON, JR., VANESSA NAPOLEON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, CHARLES NAPOLEON, JR., AMELIA SIMONEAUX PAUGH, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, MARVIN R. PAUGH, LEOLA POLLARD, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, KEVIN J. POLLARD, LINDA PRICE, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, GARY I. PRICE, MARGIE STEVENSON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, FRANK RAYMOND, JR., PATRICE R. CLOFER, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JAMES H. ROUSSELL, DEBORAH DESERAUX, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, DETROIT ROY, OLIVE CROMWEL, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, AUBREY B. SMALLS, KIM TRAN, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, TONG B. TRAN, WILLIE MAE VALET, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, LEROY VALET, KEION WALKER, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, WILLIAM WALKER, SR., HARRIET HOVLAND WHELAN, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ARLEN A. WHELAN, JAMES WILLIAMS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, ALBERT WILLIAMS, ROSE WILSON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, FRED WILSON, JR., MYRNA YANCEY, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, STEPHEN C. YANCEY, LARRY BOURG, SR., ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, LARRY P. BOURG, JR., YVETTE BURKS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, YVETTE C. BURKS, WILLIAM COOK, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, JOYCE E. COOK, MARILYN FORET, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, STELLA C. LIRETTE, MAXINE STEVENSON, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, SEAN K. RAYMOND, DWAYNE WILLIAMS, ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED, RANIERE M. WILLIAMS
v.
EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION, EXXON MOBIL OIL CORPORATION, CHEVRON USA, INC., CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY, MARATHON OIL COMPANY, SHELL OFFSHORE, INC., SHELL OIL COMPANY, AMERICAN OIL COMPANY, BP EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION, INC., UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA, MAXUS BULGARIA, INC., PLACID OIL COMPANY, SWEPI LP, HUMBLE INCORPORATED, OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, TEXACO, INC., ALPHA TECHNICAL SERVICES, INC., THOMAS ENERGY SERVICES, INC., FRENCH JORDAN, INC., OFS, INC., INTRACOASTAL TUBULAR SERVICES, INC., PLASTIC APPLICATORS, INC., H.C. PRICE COMPANY, TUBOSCOPE VETCO INTERNATIONAL, INC., BREDERO PRICE COMPANY, BREDERO PRICE, INC

Page 1262

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 670-803, DIVISION " J" . HONORABLE BRADY M. FITZSIMMONS, JUDGE A.D. HOC PRESIDING.

MOTION TO DISMISS APPEAL GRANTED; REMANDED.

TIMOTHY J. FALCON, JEREMIAH A. SPRAGUE, JARRETT S. FALCON, JUAN C. OBREGON, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, Marrero, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

FRANK M. BUCK, JR., ATTORNEY AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

GLEN M. PILIE, MARTIN A. STERN, VALERIA M. SERCOVICH, RAYMOND P. WARD, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Marc E. Johnson, and Hans J. Liljeberg.

OPINION

HANS J. LILJEBERG

Page 1263

[15-377 La.App. 5 Cir. 6] Appellees, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation and Humble Incorporated, filed a motion to dismiss the appeal filed by appellants, Karen Alexie Rodrigue, Hermina McCall and Edna Raymond. For the following reasons, we grant appellees' motion to dismiss the appeal and remand this matter back to the trial court to enter a written judgment on appellants' motions to dismiss with prejudice.

On January 13, 2015, appellants each filed a motion to dismiss their wrongful

Page 1264

death claims with prejudice. Appellees opposed these motions because they sought to limit the dismissal to the wrongful death claims as opposed to a " complete dismissal with prejudice of all of Plaintiff's claims in the case." The trial court set appellants' motions to dismiss for hearing and then took them under advisement on January 22, 2015. On February 29, 2015, the trial court issued " Reasons for Judgment" indicating its intent to deny each of the appellees' motions to dismiss with prejudice. The trial court did not enter any written judgments with respect to the motions to dismiss.

On April 29, 2015, appellants filed a motion for devolutive appeal which stated appellants were moving " for a devolutive appeal in this matter regarding [15-377 La.App. 5 Cir. 7] the ruling of this trial court on January 22, 2015, granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment." On that same day, appellants filed a motion to designate the record, seeking to limit the record to their motions to dismiss with prejudice, motions for summary judgment filed by appellees and other defendants, the January 22, 2015 hearing transcript and the " Judgment and Reasons for Judgment signed February 19, 2015." Appellants also filed an assignment of errors pursuant to La. C.C. P. art. 2129, which alleged, inter alia, that the trial court wrongfully denied their motions to dismiss with prejudice. On May 6, 2015, appellees filed a counter-designation of record.

In their motion to dismiss the appeal, appellees argue the trial court's reasons for judgment denying the motions to dismiss with prejudice are not final appealable judgments. Appellees also note the motion for devolutive appeal only refers to the trial court's January 22, 2015 ruling granting a summary judgment motion which did not address any of appellants' claims.[1]

In their opposition to the motion to dismiss the appeal, appellants agree they intended to appeal the denial of their motions to dismiss with prejudice, not the granting of a summary judgment.[2] They further agree the trial court's denial of their motions to dismiss with prejudice are not final appealable judgments and request that this Court convert their appeal into an application for a supervisory writ.

[15-377 La.App. 5 Cir. 8] The parties agree this appeal is improper due to the absence of a final appealable judgment. However, we further find the record does not contain a written judgment which formally rules upon appellants' motions to dismiss with

Page 1265

prejudice. La. C.C.P. art. 1914(B) provides that an " interlocutory judgment shall be reduced to writing . . . if the court takes the interlocutory matter under advisement." Furthermore, it is well settled a trial court's judgment and reasons for judgment are two separate and distinct legal documents, and a request for appellate review must be taken from the judgment, not the written reasons for judgment. See McCalmont v. Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, 99-940 (La.App. 5 Cir. 1/12/00), 748 So.2d 1286, 1290, writ denied, 00-0679 (La. 4/20/00), 760 So.2d 1160; Parish of St. Charles v. Young, 99-411 (La.App. 5 Cir. 12/15/99), 750 So.2d 276.

For these reasons, we dismiss appellants' appeal and remand this matter to the trial court to enter written judgments on the motions to dismiss with prejudice filed by appellants.

MOTION TO DISMISS APPEAL GRANTED; REMANDED.


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