ELDRIDGE THOMPSON, JR.
MAX BEAGLE, PROGRESSIVE PALOVERDE INSURANCE COMPANY, DAVID CASSE, AND GEICO INDEMNITY COMPANY ET AL.
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2015-11152,
DIVISION "N-8" Honorable Ethel Simms Julien, Judge
W. Yuspeh WAYNE W. YUSPEH, APLC 3000 West Esplanade Avenue,
Suite 301 Metairie, LA 70002 -AND-Michael A. Fenasci FENASCI
& ASSOCIATES, APLC 3000 W. Esplanade Avenue, Suite 301
Metairie, LA 70002 COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT
J. Robinson 4051 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Suite 403 Metairie,
LA 70002 COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Marion F. Edwards, Pro
Tempore, Judge Terrel J. Broussard, Pro Tempore
F. EDWARDS, PRO TEMPORE JUDGE
this negligence action, the appellant, David Casse,
plaintiff-in-reconvention, appeals the trial court's
October 12, 2016 judgment granting an exception of
prescription in favor of the appellee, Carrie Thiele,
defendant-in-reconvention. For the reasons that follow, we find
that the judgment on appeal lacks necessary decretal language
and is, thus, not a valid, final, appealable judgment.
Consequently, this court lacks jurisdiction. We dismiss the
appeal without prejudice and remand this matter to the trial
court so that a valid, final judgment may be rendered and
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
December 25, 2014, a multi-motor vehicle accident occurred in
Jefferson Parish on Interstate-10 East at or near the
Bonnabel Boulevard exit and the interchange with
Interstate-610. It is alleged that the vehicle owned and
operated by Max Beagle struck the rear end and then the
passenger side of the motor vehicle owned and operated by
Eldridge Thompson, Jr. Following impact, Thompson's
vehicle came to rest perpendicular across two travel lanes of
the interstate. Thereafter, the motorcycle owned and operated
by the appellant, David Casse, struck Thompson's vehicle.
November 23, 2015, Thompson filed suit against Max Beagle,
Progressive Paloverde Insurance Company, David Casse, and
GEICO Indemnity Company seeking to recover damages for
injuries he received in the accident. Casse was served with
Thompson's petition for damages on April 22, 2016, and on
June 2, 2016, he filed an answer and defenses. Nowhere in his
answer and defenses does Casse refer to the appellee, Carrie
Thiele. According to the record, on June 29, 2016, Casse
filed a reconventional demand and third party demand naming
the appellee, Carrie Thiele, as a
reconventional demand and third party demand, Casse avers
that shortly after the collision occurred between the Beagle
and Thompson vehicles, a vehicle operated by Shahid Chaudhry
stopped in the middle of the interstate alongside the
Thompson and Beagle vehicles in order to render assistance.
Carrie Thiele was riding as a guest passenger in
Chaudhry's vehicle. Thereafter, Casse, who was operating
his motorcycle in an easterly direction on I-10, claims that
he was following behind another vehicle, which came to an
abrupt stop when it approached the disabled Thompson vehicle
that was blocking two of the travel lanes. As he attempted to
avoid hitting the stopped vehicle by swerving around it into
the right lane, Casse contends that his motorcycle struck
Thiele as she existed Chaudhry's vehicle and stepped into
the open lane of traffic. According to Casse, when he
collided with Thiele, he was thrown from his motorcycle,
which thereafter struck the door of the Thompson vehicle,
forming the basis of Thompson's suit against him.
Additionally, Casse contends that he sustained severe
injuries requiring multiple surgeries as a result of his
collision with Thiele, giving rise to his claims against her.
responded to the claims made by Casse against her in his
reconventional demand and third party demand by filing a
peremptory exception of prescription. Thiele alleged that at
the time Casse's third party claim against her was filed,
more than one year had passed from the original accident;
hence, Casse's claims against her had prescribed.
Specifically, Thiele averred that Casse's claims against
her were not incidental to the main demand (the Thompson
suit), but arose out of a completely separate accident
involving completely separate and distinct facts. Casse
opposed Thiele's exception on the ground that, pursuant
to Article 1067 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, his
claims against Thiele were incidental to the main demand and
were timely filed within 90 days of his being served with the
hearing on Thiele's exception was held on October 7,
2016. On October 12, 2016, the trial court issued a judgment,
without written reasons, granting the exception. It is from
this judgment that Casse timely appealed.
considering the merits in any appeal, appellate courts have
the duty to determine sua sponte whether subject
matter jurisdiction exits, even when the parties do not raise
the issue." Moon v. City of New Orleans,
15-1092, 15-1093, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/16/16), 190 So.3d
422, 425. This court "cannot reach the merits of an
appeal unless our appellate court jurisdiction has been
properly invoked by a valid final judgment." Id. See
also Bd. of Supervisors of La. State Univ. and Agric. and
Mech. College v. Mid City Holdings, L.L.C., 14-0506, p.
2 (La.App. 4 Cir. 10/15/14), 151 So.3d 908, 910. A valid
final judgment is one that determines the merits in whole or
in part and is identified as such by appropriate language.
La. C.C.P. art. 1841, 1918. "A final appealable judgment
must contain decretal language, and it must name the party in
favor of whom the ruling is ordered, the party against whom
the ruling is ordered, and the relief that is granted or
denied." Mid-City Holdings, 14-0506, pp. 2-3,
151 So.3d at 910, quoting Palumbo v. Shapiro,
11-0769, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/14/11), 81 So.3d 923, 927.
"The result being decreed must be spelled out in lucid,
unmistakable language. The quality of definiteness is
essential to a proper judgment." Moon, 15-1092,
15-093, p. 6, 190 So.3d at 425. "The specific relief
granted should ...