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Maggio v. Parker

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

June 2, 2017


         On Appeal from the 23rd Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Ascension State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 113, 206, Honorable Alvin Turner, Jr., Judge Presiding

          Scott M. Emonet Greg A. Rozas Baton Rouge, LA, Attorneys for Plaintiff-Respondent, Kerry Maggio.

          Nicholas C. Gristina Gordon P. Guthrie, III Leandro R. Area New Orleans, LA, Attorneys for Defendant, James Parker.

          Geoffrey C. Hingle, Jr. Lance B. Williams Quincy T. Crochet Covington, LA, Attorneys for Defendants-Relators, Sandwich Kings, LLC d/b/a Jimmy John's, and Republic-Vanguard Insurance Company.


          HIGGINBOTHAM, J.

         In this matter arising out of an automobile accident, defendants-relators, The Sandwich Kings, LLC (d/b/a Jimmy John's) and Republic-Vanguard Insurance Company filed an application for supervisory writs to this court to review the trial court judgment denying their motion for summary judgment based on a release entered into by plaintiff-respondent, Mr. Kerry Maggio.


         On January 14, 2015, Mr. Maggio was involved in a motor vehicle accident with Mr. James Parker on Airline Highway in Gonzalez, Louisiana. After the accident on June 19, 2015, Mr. Maggio filed a petition for damages naming as defendants: Mr. Parker, the driver of the vehicle; Sandwich Kings, Mr. Parker's employer, contending that Mr. Parker was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident; Republic-Vanguard, Sandwich King's automobile insurer; and Metropolitan Property Casualty Insurance Company, Mr. Maggio's uninsured motorist insurer.

         Less than a month after filing suit, on July 6, 2015, Mr. Maggio entered into a "Final Release and Settlement of Claim" (the release) with Brenda Parker, Mr. Parker's mother, and Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, the automobile liability insurer of the vehicle driven by Mr. Parker and owned by Ms. Parker. Farm Bureau and Ms. Parker were not named defendants in the suit filed by Mr. Maggio. In the release, for consideration of the payment of $25, 000.00, Mr. Maggio released Ms. Parker and Farm Bureau, as well as, "all other persons, firms, or corporations who are or might be liable" for the January 14, 2015 accident. After obtaining a copy of the release, on March 30, 2016, Sandwich Kings and Republic-Vanguard (relators) filed a motion for summary judgment contending that the release effectively released all persons who might be liable for the injuries Mr. Maggio incurred as a result of the January 14, 2015 accident, including relators. Mr. Maggio opposed the motion for summary judgment, arguing that relators were not a party to the release and did not provide any consideration for the release, and therefore, cannot claim a benefit from it.

         The district court denied relators' motion for summary judgment, and relators filed for supervisory writs with this court seeking review of the district court's decision. On October 7, 2016, relators' writ was denied by this court, and relators filed for supervisory writs with the supreme court. On December 16, 2016, the supreme court granted relators' writ application and remanded the matter to this court for briefing, argument, and full opinion. Pursuant to the supreme court's remand and the recent revisions to summary judgment law, we now consider the district court's judgment denying relators' motion for summary judgment. The issue is whether Mr. Maggio relinquished his rights to pursue a claim against relators based on the terms of the release.


         On appeal, summary judgments are reviewed de novo under the same criteria that govern the trial court's consideration of whether summary judgment is appropriate. Sunrise Const, and Development Corp. v. Coast Waterworks, Inc., 2000-0303 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/22/01), 806 So.2d 1, 3, writ denied, 2001-2577 (La. 1/11/02), 807 So.2d 235.[1]A motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents show that there is no genuine issue as to material fact and that the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La. Code Civ. P. art. 966(A)(3). The party filing the summary judgment motion bears the burden of proof. La. Code Civ. P. art. 966(D)(1). If the mover will not bear the burden of proof at trial on the issue, the mover need only point out to the court the absence of factual support for one or more elements essential to the adverse party's claim, action, or defense. Id. The burden is on the adverse party to produce factual support sufficient to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact or that the mover is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. Facts are material if they potentially insure or preclude recovery, affect a litigant's ultimate success, or determine the outcome of the legal dispute. Simply put, a material fact is one that would matter on the trial on the merits. Smith v. Our Lady of the Lake Hosp., Inc., 93-2512 (La. 7/5/94), 639 So.2d 730, 751. Although summary judgment is seldom appropriate for determinations based on subjective facts of motive, intent, good faith, knowledge, or malice, summary judgment may be granted on subjective intent issues when no issue of material fact exists concerning the pertinent intent. Jones v. Estate of Santiago, 2003-1424 (La. 4/14/04), 870 So.2d 1002, 1006. Because it is the applicable substantive law that determines ...

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