United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
ROBERT G. JAMES, District Judge.
Pending before the Court is a "Motion for Statutory Penalties and Attorney Fees Pursuant to La. R.S. 22:1892(A)(4)" ("Motion for Statutory Penalties") [Doc. No. 649] filed by Plaintiff Hollybrook Cottonseed Processing, LLC ("Hollybrook"). Pursuant to La. Rev. Stat. 22:1892(A)(4) and (B)(1), Hollybrook moves the Court for an award against Defendant American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Company ("AGLIC") of statutory penalties in the amount of 50% of the judgment, plus reasonable attorney's fees. AGLIC opposes the motion, contending that it is contrary to law.
For the following reasons, Hollybrook's Motion for Statutory Penalties is DENIED.
I. PERTINENT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
In 2006, Hollybrook renovated a cotton gin to manufacture biodiesel, cotton lint, and cottonseed meal. In December 2006, Hollybrook began its operation with equipment purchased from various manufacturers, including (1) $381, 042 worth of equipment from Lummus Corporation and Carver, Inc., and Carver-Gump ("Carver"); (2) $807, 707 worth of equipment from Insta Pro International, Triple F, Inc., and Heartland Agri Partners, LLC ("Triple F"); and (3) $197, 395 worth of equipment from Andritz Sprout, a division of Andritz, Inc. ("Andritz").
Hollybrook's plant operated unprofitably until March 14, 2008, when the plant caught fire, and Hollybrook ceased operations and closed the plant.
On February 5, 2009, Hollybrook commenced this lawsuit against the three groups of manufacturers: Carver, Triple F, and Andritz. Hollybrook brought suit for breach of contract and in redhibition, alleging that the equipment all contained rehibitory defects.
On May 7, 2009, Defendants removed the case to this Court.
On October 28, 2009, in its First Amended Complaint, Hollybrook added Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company ("MMMIC"), the insurer of Triple F, as a Defendant.
On August 27, 2010, Hollybrook filed a Second Amended Complaint naming Carver's primary insurer, Sentry Insurance Company, and its secondary insurer, AGLIC, as defendants under the Louisiana's Direct Action Statute, LA. REV. STAT. 22:1269. Hollybrook later settled with Carver and Sentry.
As a result of Court rulings and settlement, Heartland, Triple F, and MMMIC were all dismissed. [Doc. Nos. 32, 33, 131 & 137]. Because no claims remained against it, Insta Pro was terminated as a party on August 12, 2010.
After the Court granted summary judgment and dismissed Hollybrook's claims against Andritz in redhibition and under the Louisiana Civil Code, Hollybrook settled with Andritz.
On September 14, 2010, the case was reassigned from the undersigned to Judge Elizabeth Foote ...