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Wholesale Electric Supply Co. v. Honeywell International, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

May 11, 2017

WHOLESALE ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY, A BRANCH OF WHOLESALE ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO. OF HOUSTON, INC.
v.
HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL, INC.

         Appealed from the 19th Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Case No. C630349 The Honorable William A. Morvant, Judge Presiding.

          David L. Bateman Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Appellant Vector Electric & Controls, Inc.

          Jeffrey N. Boudreaux John C. Funderburk Joshua J. Coleman Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee Honeywell International, Inc.

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, THERIOT, AND CHUTZ, JJ.

          THERIOT, J.

         In this indemnity dispute, the appellant, Vector Electric & Controls, Inc. ("Vector"), appeals the trial court's ruling granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of the appellee, Honeywell International, Inc. ("Honeywell"). For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On May 9, 2014, Wholesale Electric Supply Company ("Wholesale")[1] filed suit against Honeywell, seeking to enforce three liens against Honeywell in accordance with the Louisiana Private Works Act ("LPWA"), La. R.S. 9:4801, et seq. Wholesale alleged that Honeywell had entered into a master service agreement ("MSA") with Vector to perform general construction work at Honeywell's chemical production facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Wholesale claimed that, as part of the MSA, Honeywell issued purchase orders to Vector for three separate projects at its facility ("the projects"). Wholesale claimed it furnished electrical supplies and materials to Vector for the projects that were subsequently incorporated into the immovable property owned by Honeywell. Wholesale alleged that despite amicable demand, it had not been paid for the supplies and materials it furnished to Vector. Wholesale claimed it therefore caused the aforementioned liens to be filed and recorded to preserve its rights and claims against Honeywell under the LPWA.

         On July 21, 2014, Honeywell filed an answer to Wholesale's suit with an incorporated third-party demand against Vector. See La. C.C.P. art. 1111.[2] In its role as a third-party-petitioner, Honeywell acknowledged Vector had supplied it with electrical and instrumental goods and services for the projects that had been incorporated into its property. Honeywell claimed that Vector was obligated to indemnify it to the extent it were found liable unto Wholesale. Honeywell claimed it was entitled to indemnification statutorily, i.e., by operation of law under the LPWA, and contractually, i.e., in accordance with the terms of the MSA, which required Vector to defend and indemnify Honeywell against any claims arising from Vector's negligence, willful misconduct, or breach of contract.

         On August 7, 2014, Vector filed an answer to Honeywell's third-party demand with an incorporated reconventional demand against Honeywell. In its role as a third-party-petitioner-in-reconvention, Vector acknowledged that it had provided Honeywell with labor and materials for the projects that had been incorporated into Honeywell's property. However, Vector also claimed that Honeywell negligently managed the projects in a manner that caused it to experience delays and labor inefficiencies. Vector asserted that as a result of Honeywell's actions and omissions, it was unable to properly plan and perform its obligations and incurred additional costs in performing the scope of its work on the projects. Vector alleged that Honeywell was therefore liable unto it for damages for breach of contract in the total sum of $2, 491, 295.85.

         On October 17, 2014, Wholesale filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of its principal demand against Honeywell. Wholesale argued that Honeywell was liable unto it in the principal sum of $1, 251, 397.56, plus legal interest from the date of judicial demand. Before trial on the matter, Wholesale and Honeywell agreed to settle their dispute and jointly submitted a stipulated judgment on the motion for summary judgment to the trial court. Therein, Wholesale and Honeywell acknowledged their agreement as to the following: Vector owed Wholesale an outstanding balance in the sum $1, 213, 321.30; Vector admitted in discovery that it did not express any dissatisfaction to Wholesale with respect to the materials supplied or dispute the amounts owed to Wholesale; Wholesale enjoyed a private right of action against Honeywell for the outstanding balance owed to it by Vector under the LPWA; summary judgment was proper; and judicial interest on the principal demand, calculated as of February 28, 2015, totaled $38, 427.38.

         On March 12, 2015, the trial court signed a judgment in accordance with the stipulated judgment submitted by Honeywell and Wholesale. The trial court granted Wholesale's motion for summary judgment; entered judgment in favor of Wholesale and against Honeywell in the principal amount of $1, 213, 321.30, plus judicial interest, through February 28, 2015, in the sum of $38, 427.38, for a total amount of $1, 251, 748.68; ordered that judicial interest continue to accrue until the judgment was paid in full; and ordered the dismissal, with prejudice, of all other claims that had been raised or that could be raised by Wholesale against Honeywell.

         On April 23, 2015, through its attorneys, Honeywell delivered a check to Wholesale in full satisfaction of the stipulated judgment. Thereafter, on May 5, 2015, upon the request and certification of counsel for Honeywell, the trial court signed a "Satisfaction of Judgment, " acknowledging Honeywell's full and complete satisfaction of the stipulated judgment.

         On January 29, 2016, Honeywell filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of its third-party indemnification demand against Vector. Honeywell argued that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Honeywell prayed that the trial court issue a judgment in its favor and against Vector in the sum of $1, 262, 531.73, plus judicial interest. Vector opposed the motion.

         On May 23, 2016, the trial court heard oral arguments from the parties on the motion for summary judgment. Following arguments on the matter, in open court, the trial court orally ruled in favor of Honeywell, reasoning that Honeywell was both statutorily and contractually entitled to indemnity from ...


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