GERALD P. MOORE AND GM ENTERPRISES, L.L.C.
CHEVRON USA, TRMI HOLDINGS INC., STAR ENTERPRISE, STATE OF LOUISIANA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTALQUALITY, EVANGELINE STREET TEXACO, INC.
Appeal from the 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East
Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana Trial Court No. C574O63, The
Honorable Michael Caldwell, Judge Presiding.
J. Ware New Orleans, Louisiana Attorney for
Plaintiffs/Appellants Gerald P. Moore and GM Enterprises,
Richard D. McConnell, Jr. Chelsea Gomez Caswell Samuel O.
Lumpkin Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for
Defendants/Appellees Chevron Environmental Management
Company, Texaco Inc., Star Enterprise, and TRMI Holdings,
Michael A. Patterson Mark L. Barbre S. Brooke Barnett-Bernal
Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Defendant/Appellee,
State of Louisiana, Department of Environmental Quality.
BEFORE: WELCH, CRAIN, AND HOLDRIDGE, JJ.
the appeal of a judgment granting summary judgments and
dismissing plaintiffs' claims for property damages and
redhibition. We affirm.
January 7, 2009, Gerald P. Moore instituted this suit for
damages arising from the alleged environmental contamination
of immovable property he owns in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Chevron Environmental Management Company, Texaco Inc., Star
Enterprise, TRMI Holdings, Inc., (collectively, "the
Chevron defendants"),  and the Louisiana Department of
Environmental Quality (LDEQ) were included as defendants in
the suit. Moore contends the contamination was caused by
leaking underground storage tanks and the mishandling of
hazardous substances during the operation of a gas station on
the property by a previous owner. Moore alleges environmental
site assessments performed in 2003, as a requirement for
financing to build his own gas station on the property,
revealed contamination. Moore alleges both LDEQ and Chevron
Environmental Management Company were notified of the site
assessment results and investigated the alleged contamination
until 2008, when LDEQ issued a report concluding no further
action was required.
2016, the Chevron defendants and LDEQ filed motions for
summary judgment seeking dismissal of the suit based upon
prescription. After a request for a continuance was denied,
and evidence submitted by Moore was excluded, the trial court
granted summary judgment and dismissed Moore's suit.
Moore now appeals.
an opportunity for adequate discovery, a motion for summary
judgment shall be granted if the motion, memorandum, and
supporting documents show there is no genuine issue as to
material fact and mover is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 966A(3). A "material
fact" is one that potentially ensures or precludes
recovery, affects a litigant's ultimate success, or
determines the outcome of the legal dispute. A "genuine
issue of material fact" is a material fact about which
reasonable people can disagree; if reasonable people can
reach only one conclusion, there is no need for trial on that
issue and summary judgment is appropriate. Jackson v.
City of New Orleans, 12-2742 (La. 1/28/14), 144 So.3d
876, 882. For purposes of summary judgment, the materiality
of facts is determined by the substantive law applicable to
the case. Jackson, 144 So.3d at 882.
prescription is a method of barring actions when there is
inaction for a period of time. La. Civ. Code art. 3447.
Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of
one year, which commences to run on the date the injury or
damage is sustained. La. Civ. Code art. 3492. However,
"[w]hen damage is caused to immovable property, the
one[-]year prescription commences to run from the day the
owner of the immovable acquired, or should have acquired,
knowledge of the damage." La. Civ. Code art. 3493. Thus,
the one-year prescription applicable to claims for damage to
immovable property is triggered by actual or constructive
knowledge of damage. Hogg v. Chevron USA, Inc.,
09-2632 (La. 7/6/10), 45 So.3d 991, 997; Rebstock v.
Seismic Exchange, Inc., 13-0540, 2013WL5915140, p.2
(La.App. 1 Cir. 11/1/13).
knowledge sufficient to begin prescription is "whatever
notice is enough to excite attention and put the injured
party on guard or call for inquiry." Hogg, 45
So.3d at 997. Stated another way, it "is the acquisition
of sufficient information, which, if pursued, will lead to
the true condition of things." Marin v. Exxon Mobil
Corp., 09-2368 (La. 10/19/10), 48 So.3d 234, 246
(quoting Young v. International Paper Co., 179 La.
803, 155 So. 231 (La. 1934)). Whether a party had
constructive knowledge is ultimately determined by the
reasonableness of the party's action or inaction in light
of the surrounding circumstances. Hogg, 45 So.3d at
997-998. A plaintiff is deemed to know ...