MARSHA A. WILLIS
EAN HOLDINGS DBA/ENTERPRISE RENT A CAR, ELCO INSURANCE GROUP, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, AND TROY DAVID THIBODAUX
Appeal from the 19th Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Trial Court No.
614, 425 Honorable R. Michael Caldwell, Judge Presiding
A. Willis, Plaintiff-Appellant, In Proper Person
A. Salley A. Jacob Culotta, Jr., Attorneys for
Defendant-Appellee, EAN Holdings, LLC
W. Darling, Attorney for Defendant-Appellee, Empire Fire
& Marine Insurance Co.
Powe Green, Attorney for Defendant-Appellee, Rental Insurance
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, THERIOT, AND CHUTZ, JJ.
Ms. Marsha Willis (Ms. Willis), appeals the trial court's
grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee,
Rental Insurance Services, Inc. (RIS), and dismissal of her
claims with prejudice.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
August 3, 2011, Ms. Ida Mae Willis entered into a rental
agreement with EAN Holdings, LLC d/b/a Enterprise Rent A Car
(Enterprise) for the use of a Toyota Corolla. The next day,
Ms. Ida Mae Willis' daughter, Ms. Willis, was driving the
vehicle when she was involved in an accident with Mr. Troy
Thibodeaux. After the accident, on June 23, 2012, Mr.
Thibodeaux filed a petition for damages in the 19th Judicial
District Court against Ms. Willis and RIS (hereafter referred
to as the Thibodeaux litigation). RIS made Ms. Willis aware
through a phone message that it was not providing a defense
for her because she was not an authorized driver under the
rental agreement. However, RIS negotiated a settlement
agreement with Mr. Thibodeaux whereby Mr. Thibodeaux
dismissed his claims against all parties, including Ms.
Willis, in exchange for payment made by RIS.
Ms. Willis sought discovery responses from RIS and Mr.
Thibodeaux, but, because of the agreement settling all the
claims of Mr. Thibodeaux, the trial court signed an order
suspending discovery. The trial court also awarded sanctions
related to an answer filed by Ms. Willis in favor of RIS
under La. Code Civ. P. art. 863. Ms. Willis appealed the
trial court's judgments awarding sanctions and suspending
discovery. The judgments were affirmed by this court. See
Thibodeaux v. Rental Ins. Services, Inc., 2013-1947
(La. App 1st Cir. 4/24/15) 2015 WL 1882456 (unpublished),
writ denied, 2015-1213 (La. 9/25/15) 178So.3d567.
litigation forming the basis of this appeal by Ms. Willis
began on August 6, 2012, when she filed a Petition for
Damages naming Enterprise, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Mr.
Thibodeaux as defendants. Subsequently, Ms. Willis filed an
amended and supplemental petition adding as defendants RIS
and Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company (Empire). In her
petition, Ms. Willis set forth several theories of recovery
against RIS including state law claims of fraud and breach of
contract, and federal law claims under the Fourteenth
Amendment as well as civil right violations under 42 U.S.C.A.
§1985 and 42 U.S.C.A. §1983, and equal rights
violations under 42 U.S.C.A. §1981. Ms. Willis contends
that RIS, in informing her that she was not an authorized
driver more than one year after the accident, and settling
the Thibodeaux litigation without her permission, prevented
her from being able to prove that the accident was not her
fault, and placed her in a position in which it appeared she
owed Mr. Thibodeaux money through the settlement agreement.
April 21, 2015, RIS filed a motion for summary judgment
contending that no genuine issues of material fact exist
regarding any of the causes of action Ms. Willis set forth in
her petition. RIS' motion for summary judgment was heard
by the trial court on June 1, 2015, after which the trial
court concluded that Ms. Willis "has no evidence to
support any issues of material fact against [RIS]" and
"has shown no basis for recovery against [RIS]." On
June 16, 2015, judgment was signed granting RIS' motion
for summary judgment and dismissing Ms. Willis' claims
against RIS with prejudice. It is from this judgment that Ms.
Willis appeals raising four assignments of error.