WRIT FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. 2016-2400 HONORABLE EDWARD D. RUBIN, DISTRICT
B. Barriere, Skylar Rosenbloom, Rebecca Sha, Fishman Haygood,
L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT: Stirling Properties,
LLC Ambassador Town Center JV, LLC Ambassador Infrastructure,
W. Miniex, Clyde R. Simien, Katrena A. Porter, Simien and
Miniex, APLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT RESPONDENT: Stirling
Properties, LLC Ambassador Infrastructure, LLC Ambassador
Town Center JV, LLC
Patrick S. McGoey, Andrea V. Timpa, Ellie T. Schilling, Jacob
K. Weixler, Schonekas, Evans, McGoey & McEachin,
LLCCOUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPLICANT: DBR Properties, LLC, GBB
Properties Two, LLC
composed of John D. Saunders, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and
Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.
D. SAUNDERS, JUDGE
case concerns the construction of various infrastructure
improvements in a commercial real estate development known as
"Ambassador Town Center" on a tract of land in
Lafayette (the property), a portion of which is owned by the
plaintiff-in-reconvention, Ambassador Town Center JV, LLC
(Town Center). The remainder of the property is owed by
Relators (GBB Properties Two, LLC and DBR Properties, LLC).
In 2014, Town Center and Relators planned to construct a pond
on the property for drainage and storm water management
purposes (pond). Initially, the parties agreed they would
maintain the pond jointly and share expenses pro-rata and
negotiated a written agreement that the reflected same titled
"Pond Maintenance and Drainage Servitude Agreement"
(PMDSA). This agreement was never signed, however, because
the parties entered into discussions with the Parish of
Lafayette to have the pond dedicated to the Lafayette
Consolidated Government (LCG) and for LCG to maintain the
pond. Consequently, the parties then entered into a Drainage
Servitude Agreement (DSA) on December 19, 2014, which
contained the same terms as the PMDSA, but with all
references to maintenance removed. It is not disputed that
the DSA is the only written agreement between the parties and
that it is silent regarding pond maintenance, but explicitly
states that it "contains the complete understanding and
agreement of the parties hereto with respect to all matters
referred to herein, and all prior representations,
negotiations, and understandings are superseded hereby."
After learning that LCG would not accept the dedication, Town
Center requested that Relators jointly maintain the pond and
share expenses as originally agreed upon, which Relators
refused to do.
then filed the present action against Town Center, among
other defendants. Town Center, in turn, filed its
reconventional demand, seeking to enforce, under various
theories, the original oral agreement. In response,
Relators filed their peremptory exception of no cause of
action, alleging the DSA superseded any previous oral
agreements between the parties. Although both parties
attached documents to their pleadings, no exhibits were
formally introduced into evidence at the hearing on the
exception, at the close of which the trial court took the
matter under advisement.
February 24, 2017, the trial court issued a minute entry,
denying Relators' exception:
Now, having considered the memoranda, the applicable law, and
the evidence admitted at the hearing, (which includes, but is
not limited to the communications between the parties, and
all attached exhibits such as the 12/9/14 e-mail from Mr.
Becker concerning the "Pond" (See Exhibit 2) at
issue, the Court finds as follows:
The Court finds that Town Center JV has stated a cause of
action upon which relief can be granted. The evidence
indicates that there was a meeting of minds, such that
maintenance of the "Pond" became an asset which
benefits all of the property owners.
As such, all parties are responsible for, and shall jointly
share in the expenses related to the Pond[']s
maintenance, notwithstanding that the city, Lafayette
Consolidated Government failed to execute a Notice of
Acceptance of Perpetual Maintenance Agreement.
IT IS HEREBY ORDRED that [Relators]' Peremptory Exception
of No Cause of Action is Denied.
on March 27, 2017, the trial court signed a written ...