DR. MAJID MORIDANI
STONE CLINICAL LABORATORIES, LLC
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2016-10459,
DIVISION "L-6" Honorable Kern A. Reese, Judge
F. Willeford Reagan L. Toledano WILLEFORD & TOLEDANO
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT
A. Franco Lauren L. Tafaro Raymond P. Ward ADAMS AND REESE,
LLP COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Rosemary Ledet,
Judge Regina Bartholomew Woods
L. DYSART JUDGE.
breach of contract case, the plaintiff-appellant, Dr. Majid
Moridani, appeals the trial court's grant of a summary
judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Stone Clinical
Laboratories, LLC ("Stone"), while Stone answers
the appeal, seeking an award from this Court of damages for a
frivolous appeal. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the
trial court's judgment, but we decline to award frivolous
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
October 21, 2016, Dr. Moridani filed a Petition for Breach of
Contract (the "Petition") against Stone. In the
Petition, Dr. Moridani alleged that he and Stone had entered
into a written employment contract on August 16, 2016, by
which Stone was to pay Dr. Moridani a base salary of $150,
000 per year, plus $500 per month in expenses and moving
expenses of $3, 000. According to the Petition, Dr. Moridani
began working for Stone on August 24, 2016; however, his
employment with Stone was terminated on September 24, 2016 by
email from Jody Lutz, Stone's Executive Vice President.
Dr. Moridani alleged that, pursuant to the terms of the
employment contract, he was entitled to two months'
notice prior to termination, in addition to his salary for
that two-month period ($25, 000), as well as monthly and
Moridani made demand for the payment of these wages on
October 5, 2016. Stone notified him on October 17, 2016 that
it would not make any payment to him. Dr. Moridani then filed
this lawsuit seeking those amounts claimed due under the
employment contract, in addition to attorney's fees and
penalties of $37, 500 pursuant to La. R.S. 23:631 and La.
December 23, 2016, Stone moved for summary judgment on the
general basis that a final employment contract had not been
signed by the parties. After a hearing on March 24, 2017, the
motion for summary judgment ("Motion") was granted.
Dr. Moridani requested written reasons for judgment, which
were issued on April 12, 2017. Dr. Moridani timely filed an
appeal of the December 23, 2016 judgment. Stone answered the
appeal, seeking an award of damages for a frivolous appeal
pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 2164.
appeal involving the grant of a summary judgment, a de
novo standard of review is applied by the appellate
court, "using the same standard applied by the trial
court in deciding the motion for summary judgment."
City of New Orleans v. Jazz Casino Co., LLC,
15-1150, p. 4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/22/16), 195 So.3d 1252, 1255,
writ denied, 16-1393 (La. 11/7/16), 209 So.3d 99,
citing Sanchez v. Harbor Const. Co., Inc., 08-0316,
pp. 3-4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 10/1/08), 996 So.2d 584, 587. That
standard is set forth in La. C.C.P. art. 966 A(3), which
provides that "a motion for summary judgment shall be
granted if the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents
show that there is no genuine issue as to material fact and
that the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." "The only documents that may be filed in
support of or in opposition to the motion are pleadings,
memoranda, affidavits, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, certified medical records, written
stipulations, and admissions." La. C.C.P. art. 966 A(4).
burden of proof rests with the party moving for summary
judgment. La. C.C.P. art. 966 D(1). However, "if the
mover will not bear the burden of proof at trial on the issue
that is before the court on the motion for summary judgment,
the mover's burden on the motion does not require him to
negate all essential elements of the adverse party's
claim, action, or defense." Id. Instead, the
mover must "point out to the court the absence of
factual support for one or more elements essential to the
adverse party's claim, action, or defense."
Id. "The burden is on the adverse party to
produce factual support sufficient to establish the existence
of a genuine issue of material fact or that the mover is not
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Id.
conducted a de novo review of the record and find
that the trial court properly granted Stone's Motion.
Moridani's appeal is largely based on his contention that
the parties entered into a "simple written and signed
employment contract, " which required "severance
wages if [Stone] terminated [his] employment with or without
cause." Dr. Moridani further maintains that the trial
court's judgment was based on inadmissible parole
evidence submitted by Stone in support of its Motion. Dr.
Moridani contends that the trial court should have only
considered the employment contract, itself, and that any
documents that varied the terms of the contract should have
been excluded from consideration.
trial court rejected Dr. Moridani's contentions, finding
in its reasons for judgment, "that the final contract
had not been confected, there was no 'meeting of the
minds' between the parties, and thus, an absence of an
enforceable contract." After our de novo review
of the record, we find that the trial court correctly granted
summary judgment in Stone's favor.
first address Dr. Moridani's argument that the trial
court improperly considered Stone's "parole evidence
in support of the motion without first considering and ruling