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Billiot v. Wiltz

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

May 24, 2017

JOHN A. BILLIOT, JR.
v.
KENDALL WILTZ

         APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-2016-1796 J HONORABLE KRISTIAN EARLES, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Charlotte C. McDaniel McGehee Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: John A. Billiot, Jr.

          Kendall Wiltz In Proper Person COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Kendall Wiltz

          Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, John D. Saunders, and Marc T. Amy, Judges.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE

         This case involves a writ of quo warranto filed for by an individual who was appointed to a board. The individual's appointment was not placed on the meeting agenda of the board and was not considered by the president of the board despite the CEO and president of the board having knowledge of the individual's appointment with ample time to place the item on the agenda.

         The board president's term ended three months prior to the meeting as the individual seeking to be sat on the board had been appointed in the president's place by a newly elected official. The trial court granted the individual's writ and awarded the individual damages under La.R.S. 42:82 in the form of costs and attorney's fees.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

         On March 18, 2016, John A. Billiot, Jr. (Billiot) was appointed by Mayor-President, Joel Robideaux, as the representative of the Mayor-President to the St. Martin-Iberia-Lafayette Community Action Agency (SMILE) Board. SMILE is a corporation organized under the law of the State of Louisiana, domiciled and doing business in the Parishes of St. Marin, Iberia, and Lafayette. Billiot's appointment to the SMILE Board was memorialized in a letter written that day.

         Later that same day, Billiot met with Royal Hill, the CEO of SMILE. According to Billiot, Hill informed him that his appointment to the SMILE Board would not be accepted because that board membership was currently being held by Kendall Wiltz, the current President of the SMILE Board.

         On Monday, March 28, 2016, there was a meeting of the SMILE Board wherein Billiot's appointment to the SMILE Board was not addressed. According to Wiltz, it was not addressed because it was not placed on the agenda by Hill, and Wiltz failed to obtain unanimous consent to amend the agenda to include Billiot's appointment. Wiltz was still acting as President of the SMILE Board despite his term ending the preceding January.

         On April 6, 2016, Billiot filed a petition for writ of quo warranto against Wiltz, individually, and acting as president of the SMILE Board. Billiot's petition contended that the SMILE Board met on March 28, 2016. According to Billiot, Wiltz retained physical possession of the office of SMILE Board President and refused to surrender it or the books and papers associated with the position into Billiot's custody despite Wiltz's term on the board ending in January 2016. Further, Billiot averred that Wiltz continued to usurp the prerogatives of the office illegally and without authority.

         A trial was held on the merits of Billiot's writ for quo warranto. The trial court ruled in favor of Billiot and found that he was entitled to attorney's fees and costs from Wiltz as the damages he suffered under La.R.S. 42:82. Wiltz appeals and assigns four errors.

         ASSIGNMENTS ...


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