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Hopkins v. Coco

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

July 29, 2015

DAVID HOPKINS AND GWENDOLYN HOPKINS
v.
JUANITA COCO, DANE RUFFINS, GBS PROPERTIES, LLC, D/B/A PRUDENTIAL GARDNER, REALTORS, ABC INS. CO. AND DEFINS. CO

APPEAL FROM ST. BERNARD 34TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. NO. 113-480, DIVISION " A" . Honorable Robert A. Buckley, Judge.

Alan J. Yacoubian, Neal J. Favret, Jason M. Freas, JOHNSON, YACOUBIAN AND PAYSSY, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

Michael Jay Begoun, Mark Reed Wolfe, WOLFE, BEGOUN & PICK, L.L.C., New Orleans, LA; Jonathan L. Schultis, Joseph S. Pappalardo, Jr., Michael S. Ricci, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

(Court composed of Judge Paul A. Bonin, Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Madeleine M. Landrieu). BONIN, J., CONCURS IN THE RESULT.

OPINION

Page 202

Madeleine M. Landrieu, Judge.

[2014-1191 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Plaintiffs, David and Gwendolyn Hopkins, appeal the trial court's judgment granting motions for summary judgment in favor of defendants, GBS Properties, LLC, d/b/a Prudential Gardner Realtors, Dane Ruffins, and Juanita Coco. For the reasons below, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

David and Gwendolyn Hopkins listed for sale a residential property they owned, located at 412 Sable Drive in Arabi, Louisiana (" the property" ). They entered into an Agreement to Purchase with Juanita Coco, the buyer, who was represented by Dane Ruffins, a real estate agent for GBS Properties, LLC d/b/a/ Prudential Gardner Realtors (" Prudential" ). Ultimately, the Act of Sale did not take place as Ms. Coco was unable to secure financing.

Following the failed sale, Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins filed a Petition for Damages against Ms. Coco, Ms. Ruffins, and Prudential, in its capacity as Ms. Ruffins' employer. The petition alleged that Ms. Coco failed to make a good faith effort to secure financing and that Ms. Ruffins failed to timely notify Ms. Coco's lender that [2014-1191 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] they had agreed to reduce the purchase price to the appraised value of the property. Ms. Coco, Ms. Ruffins, and Prudential filed motions for summary judgment, all of which were granted by the trial court. This appeal followed.

DISCUSSION

In their sole assignment of error, Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins assert that the trial court erred in granting these motions for summary judgment because there are genuine issues of material fact as to (1) whether Ms. Coco acted in good faith in her efforts to secure financing as required by the agreement; (2) whether Ms. Coco and Ms. Ruffins had a duty to seek an extension of the Act of Sale date; (3) whether Ms. Ruffins' actions and/or inactions constituted fraud or negligent misrepresentation; and (4) whether Ms. Ruffins' actions breached her duty to act in good faith to get the agreement to the Act of Sale.

We review the trial court's granting of a motion of summary judgment de novo using the same criteria applied by the trial court to determine whether summary judgment is appropriate. Fleming v. Hilton Hotels Corp., 99-1996, p. 2 (La.App. 4 Cir. 7/12/00), 774 So.2d 174, 176. At the time of the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure article 966(B)(2) provided that summary judgment

... shall be rendered forthwith 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 ...

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