COMMON PLACE PROPERTIES, L.L.C. AND RONALD GRANGER
ESTATE OF DONALD C. HODGE, SR.
FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 52, 556 C/W 2015-2285 HONORABLE ROBERT L.
WYATT, DISTRICT JUDGE
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, John E. Conery, and Candyce
G. Perret, Judges.
CANDYCE G. PERRET JUDGE.
the Estate of Donald C. Hodge, Sr., appeals a judgment of the
trial court that granted a Motion to Enforce Judgment filed
by plaintiffs, Common Place Properties, L.L.C. and Ronald L.
Granger (hereinafter "Plaintiffs"). For the
following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
opinion concerns two consolidated cases that have been before
this court previously. In this court's prior opinion,
Succession of Hodge, 16-185, 16-186 (La.App. 3 Cir.
6/1/16) (unpublished opinion), this court dismissed the
appeals for not being designated immediately appealable, and
recited the facts and procedural history, as follows:
These cases involve the succession of Donald C. Hodge, Sr.,
who died intestate on October 18, 2012. The succession
proceeding has been consolidated with a separate lawsuit
which Common Place Properties L.L.C. (Common Place), and its
manager, Ronald Granger [Plaintiffs], filed against the
estate of Donald C. Hodge, Sr ..... Plaintiffs allege that
Common Place owns a one-half interest in a rental house and
a lot located on Orange Street in Lake Charles, Louisiana,
and that the other one-half interest in the property was
transferred by Common Place to Mr. Hodge on October 2, 2008.
However, Plaintiffs maintain that the sale/transfer of the
rent house and lot to Mr. Hodge should be rescinded on the
ground that the purchase price was never paid. Plaintiffs
also allege that in July of 2011, Common Place obtained a
loan secured by the rent house and lot. Further, Plaintiffs
allege that although Mr. Hodge was given $25, 000.00 out of
those loan proceeds, he never repaid any portion of the loan.
Additionally, Plaintiffs allege that in August of 2008, Mr.
Hodge entered into a bond for deed contract for the
acquisition of a hair salon located on Alamo Street in Lake
Charles, Louisiana. Plaintiffs assert that although Mr. Hodge
executed the bond for deed in his name personally and made
most of the initial down payment for the hair salon, the
parties intended that Mr. Hodge would transfer his interest
in the salon to Common Place in exchange for Mr. Hodge being
given an equity position in Common Place. It is further
alleged that Plaintiff, Mr. Granger, managed the hair salon
and that the revenue generated from the rental of salon space
was supposed to be used to make payments towards a $50,
000.00 balance owed under the bond for deed agreement.
Plaintiffs filed their lawsuit against Mr. Hodge's estate
on June 9, 2015. By their lawsuit, Plaintiffs seek rescission
of the sale of the rent house and lot to Mr. Hodge or,
alternatively, an award of the purchase price; repayment of
the funds advanced to Mr. Hodge from the proceeds of the 2011
loan; reformation of the 2008 bond for deed contract to
reflect the parties' true intentions or, alternatively,
payment of management fees for Mr. Granger's services;
damages; and costs.
In response to Plaintiffs' lawsuit, the independent
administrator of Mr. Hodge's estate filed an answer and a
reconventional demand arguing that there is no valid evidence
of a $25, 000.00 loan being given to Mr. Hodge by Common
Place, that Mr. Hodge is the full owner of the hair salon on
Alamo Street, and that Mr. Hodge has a one-half ownership
interest in Common Place and in the rent house and lot on
Orange Street. The administrator also maintains that Mr.
Hodge's estate is entitled to have the rent house on
Orange Street sold pursuant to a lease-purchase agreement
entered into by Common Place and the current occupants of the
home. Further, the administrator contends that the estate is
entitled to a monetary award from Plaintiffs because Mr.
Granger converted funds and failed to accurately report
money earned from the hair salon during his management of the
salon. Finally, the administrator alleges that the estate is
owed $5, 000.00 plus profits from Mr. Granger as a result
of an investment that Mr. Hodge made in a business known as
the Cajun Fun Shop in November of 2011. In response to the
reconventional demand arising out of the investment in the
Cajun Fun Shop, Mr. Granger, filed an exception of
The administrator of Mr. Hodge's estate filed with the
trial court a rule to show cause seeking to have Plaintiffs
ordered to show cause why the estate should not be granted
the relief requested in its reconventional demand. The
administrator also filed some exceptions of prescription in
response to Plaintiffs' lawsuit. To the extent that
Plaintiffs seek to nullify the 2008 sale of a one-half
ownership interest in the rent house and lot to Mr. Hodge and
to nullify the 2008 bond for deed contract for the purchase
of the hair salon, the administrator argues that
Plaintiffs' claims are prescribed under La.Civ.Code art.
2032, which provides for a five-year prescriptive period for
having a relatively null contract nullified. With regard to
Plaintiffs' attempt to recover for the loan allegedly
made to Mr. Hodge in July of 2011, the administrator asserts
that Plaintiffs' claims are barred by the three-year
prescriptive period set forth in La.Civ.Code art. 3494(3).
Further, the administrator contends that the claim by Mr.
Granger for reimbursement pay for management services
provided at the hair salon is barred by the three year
prescriptive period set forth in La.Civ.Code art. 3494(1).
Plaintiffs' lawsuit against Mr. Hodge's estate was
consolidated with Mr. Hodge's succession proceedings on
August 15, 2015, and a trial was held on October 13, 2015. On
December 4, 2015, the trial court signed a judgment, which
granted in part and denied in part the relief sought by
Plaintiffs via their lawsuit and the relief sought by Mr.
Hodge's estate via its reconventional demand, exceptions,
and rule to show cause. The trial court found that the $25,
000.00 that was given to Mr. Hodge out of the proceeds from
the 2011 loan, which was secured by the rent house and lot,
was, in fact, a loan to Mr. Hodge; however, the prescriptive
period for Plaintiffs to collect on that debt has lapsed. The
exceptions of prescription were denied 1) as to
Plaintiffs' claims for nonpayment of the sales price for
the rent house and lot on Orange Street; and 2) as to
Plaintiffs' relative nullity claim pertaining to the
purchase of the hair salon on Alamo Street via the 2008 bond
for deed contract. The trial court ordered that, on the
ground of mutual error, both the warranty deed for the
purchase of the property on Orange Street and the 2008 bond
for deed contract for the purchase of the hair salon on Alamo
Street be reformed to reflect that the sole owner/purchaser
of those properties is Common Place. With regard to the
reconventional demand that the administrator of Mr.
Hodge's estate filed seeking to have Mr. Granger repay
the $5, 000.00 investment Mr. Hodge made in the Cajun Fun
Shop, the trial court dismissed that claim as prescribed.
With regard to the reconventional demand whereby Mr.
Hodge's estate seeks an accounting for Mr. Granger's
management of the hair salon, the trial court reserved the
right to address that issue at a later date and ordered the
parties to make a reasonable effort to provide a financial
accounting before raising that issue again.
The Administrator filed a motion for appeal on behalf of Mr.
Hodge's estate on December 28, 2015. The trial court
signed the order of appeal on January 6, 2016. The appeal
record was lodged in this court on March 15, 2016. . . .
[U]pon the lodging of the record in this appeal, this court
issued a rule for Mr. Hodge's estate to show cause why
the appeal should not be dismissed as having been taken from
a partial judgment which has not been designated immediately
appealable pursuant to La.Code Civ.P. art. 1915(B). The
administrator for Mr. Hodge's estate filed a response to
this court's rule to show cause order.
these cases were on appeal, on April 14, 2016, the defendant
filed a Motion for Clarification of Judgment requesting the
trial court to specifically designate the December 4, 2015
partial judgment immediately appealable pursuant to La.Code
Civ.P. art. 1915(B). Thereafter, on May 27, 2016, the trial
court amended the December 4, 2015 judgment to include the
proper certification language set forth in La.Code Civ.P.
art. 1915(B), finding "there to be no just reasons for
delay" and designating ...