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Davis v. Romain

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

June 7, 2017

RAYMOND C. DAVIS
v.
ROBERT ST. ROMAIN

         APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CALCASIEU, NO. 2010-2856 HONORABLE SHARON D. WILSON, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Todd S. Clemons Todd Clemons & Associates A Professional Law Corporation Third Party Appellee - Palvest, Inc.

          Jamie C. Gary Dwight Law Firm, LLC Defendant/Appellee - Robert St. Romain

          Daniel M. Landry, III Christian B. Landry The Landry Law Firm Appellant - Difang, LLC

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

          Amy, J., concurs in the result.

          ULYSSES GENE THIBODEAUX CHIEF JUDGE.

         Raymond Davis and Robert St. Romain entered into a purchase agreement for Mr. St. Romain to sell land he inherited from his father. The agreement mandated the act of sale date could be extended thirty days if curative work was needed. Mr. Davis sought to correct title defects and triggered the extension. However, he did not perform curative work, and Mr. St. Romain refused to execute closing documents. Thus, the purchase agreement expired without the property being conveyed. Mr. Davis filed suit alleging breach of contract. The trial court issued a judgment in favor of Mr. St. Romain and determined a third-party purchaser, Palvest, Inc., was the rightful owner. It reasoned Mr. Davis[1] failed to perform necessary curative work, even after he requested an extension to do so. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         I.

         ISSUE

         We must decide whether the trial court erred in finding Mr. Davis, the proposed purchaser, breached the terms of the purchase agreement by not performing curative work after extending the act of sale date and finding Palvest, Inc. was entitled to the subject property.

         II.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This is a dispute over the purchase of immovable property. The buyer, Mr. Davis, and the seller, Mr. St. Romain, [2] entered into a purchase agreement for 330 acres. Robert St. Romain and his siblings inherited the property from their father after his death. The Judgment of Possession omitted a 28.426 acre tract their father owned. The parties initiated paperwork to amend the judgment to include the additional tract. However, the amending paperwork was never filed; thus, the heirs were never put into possession of the tract.

         The purchase agreement mandated the closing to take place on April 26, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. or sooner if mutually agreed. The agreement allowed the closing date to be extended thirty (30) days if curative work was required.[3] On the act of sale date, Mr. Davis's attorney sent correspondence to Mr. St. Romain's attorney informing him curative work was required because the Judgment of Possession needed to be amended to include the 28.426 acre tract. The letter also noted his concern that Mr. St. Romain made efforts to sell his interest to a third party, Palvest, Inc. The purchase agreement between Palvest and Mr. St. Romain was signed on December 30, 2009, and January 4, 2010, respectively. Mr. St. Romain stated he signed the agreement with Palvest because of his concern Mr. Davis would not follow through with the purchase agreement.

         After he used the extension, Mr. Davis created Difang, LLC. He and his wife were the sole members. Mr. Davis assigned and transferred his rights in the purchase agreement to Difang. He stated he founded Difang for estate planning purposes. A year before Difang was founded, a judgment against Mr. Davis in an ...


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