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First Tower Loan, LLC v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

February 1, 2017

FIRST TOWER LOAN, LLC
v.
WILLIAM C. TAYLOR

         APPEAL FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON, NO. 87, 397, DIV. B HONORABLE VERNON BRUCE CLARK, DISTRICT JUDGE

         AFFIRMED.

          Mary K. Beaird Wes Bailey COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: William C. Taylor

          Sandy E. Clause Rogers, Carter & Payne, LLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: First Tower Loan, LLC

          Jordan B. Bird COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: First Tower Loan, LLC

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.

          SHANNON J. GREMILLION, JUDGE

         The plaintiff-appellant, First Tower Loan, LLC, d/b/a Tower Loan of Leesville (Tower Loan), appeals the judgment of the trial court entering a default judgment in favor of the defendant-appellee, William C. Taylor. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In December 2012, Tower Loan filed a petition to collect sums due by Taylor on a note executed in May 2012, and secured by moveable property. On February 22, 2013, Tower Loan through its manager, Sumer Duplechain, allegedly entered into an oral contract for the repayment of funds due Tower Loan by Taylor, with the caveat that if Taylor made the payments as agreed no further action would be taken against him. Tower Loan then obtained a judgment against Taylor on March 14, 2013, for $8, 253.04 with 28.47% interest and attorney fees. Taylor did not appeal the March 14, 2013 judgment. Taylor made payments of $150.00 in March, April, and May 2013. However, Tower Loan returned the May 2013 payment and instituted garnishment proceedings against Taylor. On October 4, 2013, the trial court signed an order for garnishment.

         On November 20, 2013, Taylor filed a petition pro se to enforce the February 22, 2013 agreement with instructions to serve Tower Loan through its attorney, Sandy Clause. Taylor filed a motion for preliminary default in January 2016, which was granted on February 1, 2016, reinstating the payment plan of $150.00 per month with a balance due of $8, 508.32. The judgment further dismissed the garnishment.

         On February 11, 2016, Tower Loan filed a motion to set aside the judgment and for a new trial. Tower Loan claimed that it agreed to accept $161.00 per month and that Taylor's $150.00 payment was insufficient, causing it to be returned to him in May 2013. On February 12, 2016, the trial court denied the motion. Tower Loan then filed a motion to reconsider the order denying its motion to set aside and for new trial and/or, in the alternative, to set the matter for hearing, arguing in part that it was not properly served as Clause is not the registered agent for service of process. The trial court denied the motion noting, "Service was made upon counsel of record." In March 2016, Tower Loan requested written reasons for judgment pursuant to La.Code Civ.P. Art. 1917.[1] Tower Loan now appeals.

         ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

         Tower Loan ...


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