Appeal from the 32nd Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of Terrebonne State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 176,
208 Honorable Juan W. Pickett, Judge Presiding.
J. Weigand, Jr. Houma, LA Attorney for Defendant-Appellant,
Randall M. Alfred Houma, LA Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee,
Chris Schouest d/b/a Schouest Homebuilders
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.
appeal, a property owner challenges the trial judgment that
upheld a portion of a lien on his property in favor of a
licensed contractor pursuant to La. R.S. 9:4801, and that
dismissed his reconventional demand for damages and
attorney's fees pursuant to La. R.S. 9:4855.
Brennan Voclain, is the owner of the property described as
504 Dax's Place in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Plaintiff-appellee, Chris Schouest, D/B/A Schouest
Homebuilders (Mr. Schouest) is a licensed contractor. Mr.
Schouest and Mr. Voclain entered into an oral contract for
the construction of a home on Mr. Voclain's property for
a total construction cost of $177, 475.46. On June 20, 2015,
Mr. Schouest signed a written contract prepared by Ann Storm,
Mr. Voclain's agent and mother, outlining the terms of
the agreement, but the written contract was never signed by
Mr. Voclain. Under the terms of the written contract, Mr.
Schouest was to be paid 10% of the total construction cost
estimated to be approximately $17, 747.55 for his work.
construction of the home, Mr. Schouest was paid on four
separate occasions an average of $3, 200.00, for a total
payment of $12, 800.00. Mr. Schouest received his last
payment on September 25, 2015. After becoming unsatisfied
with Mr. Schouest's attention to the construction
project, on October 30, 2015, through an email, Mr. Voclain
terminated his contract with Mr. Schouest. At this time, the
house was not complete but nearing completion.
November 30, 2015, Mr. Schouest sent a Notice of Nonpayment
and Statement of Lien Rights to Mr. Voclain, along with an
invoice that requested payment in the amount of $6, 200.00.
The notice was received by Mr. Voclain on December 7, 2015.
Mr. Voclain did not remit any payments to Mr. Schouest after
he received the notice.
Schouest then filed a Statement of Lien and Privilege in
Lafourche Parish on January 8, 2016, and a Petition for
Recognition of Lien and Money Damages in the 32nd Judicial
District Court on January 15, 2016. Mr. Voclain answered Mr.
Schouest's petition and filed a reconventional demand
contending that Mr. Schouest's lien failed to comply with
La. R.S. 9:4801 and that the statements in the lien were
falsified in violation of La. R.S. 9:4855,  entitling him to
damages and attorney fees.
was held on October 19, 2016. After trial, the trial court in
detailed written reasons, found based on the testimony and
evidence, that Mr. Schouest was a contractor for the
construction of Mr. Voclain's house for the purposes of
La. R.S. 9:4801, and the lien placed on Mr. Voclain's
property was proper and should be recognized as bearing
against Mr. Voclain's property. The trial court pointed
out that Mr. Schouest's lien for $6, 200.00 included a
$1, 300.00 balance owed to painters which was paid by Mr.
Voclain, and a $1, 700.00 charge for a final walk through
which was never conducted due to Mr. Schouest's
termination prior to the house's completion. Therefore,
the trial court reduced the amount owed to Mr. Schouest to
$3, 200.00. The trial court also concluded that Mr.
Voclain's reconventional demand should be denied.
January 26, 2017, a judgment in conformity with the trial
court's written reasons was signed in favor of Mr.
Schouest, and against Mr. Voclain, in the sum of $3, 200.00
as well as $300.00 for the cost of filing the lien and
interest. The judgment also recognized the lien filed by Mr.
Schouest on January 8, 2016, encumbering Mr. Voclain's
property located at 504 Dax's Place, and dismissed Mr.
Voclain's reconventional demand with prejudice.
from this judgment that Mr. Voclain appeals, assigning error
to the validity of the lien, rather than Mr. Schouest's
underlying claim for money owed. Specifically, Mr. Voclain
claims that the trial court erred in: (1) concluding that the
oral contract to recommend and supervise subcontractors, and
not pay for materials or subcontractors, created a lien right
pursuant to La. R.S. 9:4801; and (2) failing to find that Mr.
Schouest willfully, knowingly, and ...