FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. C-20161850 HONORABLE PATRICK LOUIS MICHOT,
R. Harper Harper Law Firm COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS:
Brown Builders, Inc. Villa Broussard, LLC.
Lewis Kaster Kaster & Cop, LLC COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Heriberto Flores, d/b/a HE Flores
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and Van
H. Kyzar, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE.
Brown Builders, Inc., and Villa Broussard, LLC, (hereafter,
"Defendants"), appeal the default judgment entered
in favor of Heriberto Flores, d/b/a HE Flores Construction
(HE Flores) in the amount of $35, 996.00, plus legal interest
and costs of court. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
April 8, 2016, HE Flores filed suit against Defendants,
alleging that he provided framing services as a subcontractor
of Southern Framing and Construction, Inc., which, in turn,
was the alleged subcontractor of Brown Builders, Inc. Brown
Builders, Inc. was alleged to have been the prime contractor
hired by Villa Broussard, LLC, to build a project on 8.39
acres in the Sugarcrest Retail Development in Lafayette,
Louisiana. HE Flores alleged, in paragraph one of his
petition, that Defendants were indebted to him for his
framing services in the amount of $35, 996.00, plus
penalties, legal interest, court costs, and attorney fees,
and prayed for that amount. In paragraph three, however, he
alleged that the amount of labor and materials owed for the
work was $35, 811.00.
11, 2016, Mr. Flores requested entry of a preliminary default
against Villa Broussard. A preliminary default was entered
that same day. On May 25, 2016, a preliminary default was
sought and entered against Brown Builders.
Flores requested a hearing date to confirm the defaults by
letter dated June 1, 2016. The matter was fixed by the trial
court for June 13, 2016.
trial court heard the testimony of Mr. Eduardo Flores, the
brother of Heriberto Flores. Eduardo testified that he
oversaw the seven-man crew of workmen who labored at the
project from July 14, 2014 until August 12, 2014. Those men
worked five days a week for ten hours a day, plus four hours
a day on Saturdays and Sundays. Each employee was to be paid
an additional $30.00 per day for food. HE Flores was hired by
Southern Framing through "Kent and Larry, " the
owners of the company, to frame buildings at the rate of
$0.85 per square foot. Buildings one and two each totaled 12,
350 square feet. Building three measured 14, 350 square feet.
Eduardo submitted the time for the employees to Mr. Tony
Panti of Southern Framing, who paid for the first three days
of work at $0.85 per square foot. Nothing was paid after July
was signed in open court on June 13, 2016. Defendants filed a
motion for new trial arguing, principally, that they had
emailed a copy of the petition to their counsel and
counsel's spam filter intercepted the message. The trial
court denied the motion for new trial on June 24, 2016, which
was denied. This appeal followed. Defendants argue that the
trial court erred in granting the default judgment and in
denying its motion for new trial.
judgments must be confirmed by proof sufficient to establish
a prima facie case. La.Code Civ.P. art. 1702(A). On review,
an appellate court is limited to determining whether the
evidence was sufficient to establish a prima facie case, and
the appellant must overcome a presumption that the ...