ALDEN CHAUVIN, ANYCE CHAUVIN LAMBERT AND MELVIN A. CANNON
SHELL OIL COMPANY, VALERO REFINING -NEW ORLEANS, L.L.C., SHELL PIPELINE COMPANY, LP, AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS, INC., SOUTHERN NATURAL GAS COMPANY, L.L.C., PARKWAY PIPELINE & ST. CHARLES PARISH SEWERAGE DISTRICT NO. 1 THROUGH THE ST. CHARLES PARISH COUNCIL
REMAND FROM THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT
APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH
OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA, NO. 76, 932 DIVISION
"E" HONORABLE TIMOTHY S. MARCEL, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, ALDEN CHAUVIN, ANYCE CHAUVIN
LAMBERT AND MELVIN A. CANNON PATRICK W. PENDLEY JESSICA A.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, SHELL OIL COMPANY AND SHELL
PIPELINE COMPANY, L.P. TROY J. CHARPENTIER JENNIFER J. THOMAS
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS,
INC. W. SCOTT KEATY JOSHUA G. MCDIARMID
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg
Wicker and Hans J. Liljeberg
M. CHEHARDY CHIEF JUDGE
consider this appeal on remand from the Louisiana Supreme
Court, and for the reasons that follow, we affirm the March
24, 2016 judgment of the district court.
appeal stems from a March 24, 2016 judgment in which the 29th
Judicial District Court granted motions for summary judgment
filed by defendants-appellees, Shell Oil Company ("Shell
Oil"), Shell Pipeline Company, LP ("Shell
Pipeline"), Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. ("Air
Products"), Valero Refining-New Orleans, LLC
("Valero"), and Bengal Pipeline Company, LLC
("Bengal"), and dismissed with prejudice the claims
of plaintiffs-appellants, Alden Chauvin, Anyce Chauvin
Lambert, and Melvin Cannon. Plaintiffs appealed this
judgment, but this Court dismissed their appeal as untimely.
See Chauvin v. Shell Oil Co., 16-609 (La.App. 5 Cir.
11/16/16), 204 So.3d 1100. We reached that conclusion based
on the following.
designated record before us reflects that the notice of
judgment was mailed on March 30, 2016. Thus, in accordance
with La. C.C.P. art. 1974, plaintiffs had until April 8, 2016
to file a motion for new trial, but did not file their motion
until April 14, 2016. Pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 2087(A)(1),
a motion for devolutive appeal must be filed within sixty
days of the expiration of the delay for applying for a new
trial, if no application has been filed timely. Because we
found plaintiffs' motion for new trial had not been filed
timely, plaintiffs had sixty days from April 8, 2016 to file
a motion for appeal. We concluded plaintiffs' motion for
appeal, filed June 22, 2016, was untimely and dismissed the
sought certiorari review. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted
review and issued a per curiam finding that plaintiffs'
motion for new trial was timely because it had been filed
within seven days after the sheriff had served notice of the
judgment in accordance with La. C.C.P. art. 1974. See
Chauvin v. Shell Oil Co., 17-43 (La. 03/31/17), 214
So.3d 855. As a result, the court found plaintiffs'
devolutive appeal was timely, reinstated the appeal, and
remanded the matter to this Court for consideration of the
did upon our original review of the record, and now again on
remand, we find nothing in the record to indicate that
plaintiffs were served by the sheriff with notice of
judgment. Consequently, upon the designated record before us,
we are still of the opinion that plaintiffs' appeal is
untimely. However, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled on
this issue and we are bound by that ruling. Accordingly, we
now turn to the merits of this appeal.
OF THE CASE
appeal arises out of a property dispute. Plaintiffs, who
claim to own a certain tract of land in St. Charles Parish,
filed suit in 2013 alleging trespass and seeking damages
caused by oil and gas pipelines that had been installed on
the land by defendants. Defendants dispute plaintiffs'
claims of ownership. Defendant Shell Oil claims that it
purchased the property in question from plaintiffs'
ancestors-in-title in 1971 and granted servitudes to other
defendant pipeline companies over the ensuing years. On this
basis, Shell Oil and other defendants moved for summary
judgment, arguing that plaintiffs cannot prove they own the
property and, thus, cannot succeed on their trespass action.
The district court agreed, granting summary judgment in favor
of defendants and dismissing plaintiffs' claims with
prejudice. Plaintiffs appealed that ruling.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
property at issue was once a portion of a larger tract
acquired by plaintiffs' ancestors-in-title in 1927, when
Lorenza Toussa sold a portion of Lot G and all of Lot H of
the original Goodhope Plantation in St. Charles Parish to
Frank Szubinski. In 1929, Frank Szubinski sold half of his
interest in this property to his brother, Theodore Szubinski.
March 21, 1930, the Szubinksi brothers granted a
275-foot-wide right of way over the property to the State of
Louisiana for the construction and maintenance of Airline
Highway. Defendant Shell Oil first acquired an interest in
the property in 1948 when the Szubinskis sold to Shell Oil a
25-foot-wide strip of land on the north end of the property.
1950 and 1953, the Szubinskis subdivided the property south
of Airline Highway and sold off the lots. After Frank
Szubinksi's death in 1959, his wife, Bertha Miller
Szubinski, inherited his estate, including his one-half
interest in the property. In 1961, Theodore and Bertha sold a
20-foot-wide strip of the property north of Airline Highway
to Gravity Drainage District No. 2 of St. Charles Parish
Theodore's death, his wife, Annie Glover Szubinski, and
daughter, Josephine Szubinski Chauvin, inherited his estate,
including his one-half interest in the property. In 1966, by
act of partition, Annie, Josephine, and Bertha, as owners in
indivision, partitioned the remaining portion of the property
north of Airline Highway into Parcels A and B as depicted on
a survey prepared by S.P. Landry ...