from the Monroe City Court for the Parish of Ouachita,
Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 2015CV03675 Honorable Tammy
Deon Lee, Judge
STEPHEN ADAM NORTH Counsel for Appellants.
GREEN In Proper Person.
WILLIAMS, DREW, and STONE, JJ.
Jan Surratt, doing business as ABC Rentals, appeals the trial
court's judgment in favor of Appellee, Wanda Green,
awarding Green $18, 500 in damages. For the following
reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
August 1, 2014, Wanda Green ("Green") entered into
a contract with Jan Surratt, doing business as ABC Rentals
("Surratt"),  to lease a residential property at 1202
S. 5th Street in Monroe, Louisiana ("the
property"). The lease required Green to pay monthly rent
of $500. A week after Green executed the lease, she and her
four children moved into the property. During the time she
occupied the property, Green made numerous complaints
regarding the property's condition, including roach
infestation, a leaking roof, clogged drains, and rotted
November 12, 2015, Green filed a petition against Surratt in
Monroe City Court seeking $5, 000 in damages. In the
petition, Green asserted "[s]ince beginning my lease
with Mrs. Surratt we have not been able to live comfortably
in what we are renting. Nothing has worked properly and the
roof has leaked consistently for over a year causing damages
and pain and suffering." According to Green, Surratt
only "patched things up, " and never fixed the
underlying issues with the property, and as a result, she and
her children were forced to live in an uninhabitable
December 5, 2015, less than a month after Green filed her
petition, Surratt sent Green notice to vacate the property.
Green and her children moved out of the property two days
January 25, 2016, Surratt, represented by attorney Stephen A.
North ("North"), filed an answer denying the
allegations in Green's petition. On May 31, 2016, North
received notice by certified mail that a trial on the matter
was set for July 12, 2016 ("notice of trial").
12, 2016, neither North nor Surratt was present for trial,
and the trial court proceeded in their absence. After hearing
the evidence presented by Green, the trial court rendered
judgment in favor of Green. The trial court awarded Green
$10, 000 in general damages, and $8, 500 in rental payments.
On August 4, 2016, the trial court signed a final judgment in
the matter and notice of judgment was served on North.
August 11, 2016, North, on behalf of Surratt, filed a motion
for new trial arguing the judgment is contrary to the law and
evidence. In the motion, North asserted Surratt was not at
fault for their failure to appear for trial. North
acknowledged he received notice of trial, but claimed,
through "error and inadvertence, " the trial date