Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Succession of Gendron

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 27, 2017

SUCCESSION OF JOSEPHINE CATALANO GENDRON

         ON APPEAL FROM THE FORTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 71, 86, DIVISION "B" HONORABLE E. JEFFREY PERILLOUX, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR INTERVENOR/APPELLANT, KAREN GENDRON, MARIA GENDRON LAMBERT, TRACEY GENDRON BOYLE, RAYE CLAIRE GENDRON, AND JUDY GENDRON KLINE Robert R. Faucheux, Jr. Christophe L. Faucheux, Lindsay M. Faucheux.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, RAYMOND GENDRON, JR., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTOR OF THE SUCCESSION OF JOSEPHINE CATALANO GENDRON Michael A. McNulty, Jr.

          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G. Gravois, and Stephen J. Windhorst

          STEPHEN J. WINDHORST, JUDGE

         This matter involves the succession of Josephine Catalano Gendron (hereinafter "Ms. Gendron" or "the deceased"), who was survived by six (6) children and died testate. For the reasons stated below, we reverse the trial court's ruling on the exceptions of vagueness, no cause of action and unauthorized use of ordinary proceedings and remand for further proceedings.

         I. Background

         Ms. Gendron was married to Raymond Roy Gendron, Sr. (hereinafter "Mr. Gendron, Sr."), who predeceased her and with whom she had six children, namely Karen Gendron, Maria G. Lambert, Tracey G. Boyle, Raye Claire Gendron, Judy G. Kline and Raymond Gendron, Jr. Ms. Gendron died on May 12, 2016 with a Last Will and Testament (the "Will") executed on July 30, 2015 and signed by a notary and two witnesses. The Will names Ms. Gendron's son, Raymond Gendron, Jr., as the Independent Executor (hereinafter the "Executor") of her succession and leaves the balance of her entire estate to him, except for a five percent (5%) commission to Jerry Bordelon on any rent houses sold.

         On June 17, 2016, the Executor filed a Petition for Probate of a Notarial Testament and a Petition for Confirmation of Independent Executor in St. John the Baptist Parish, the Fortieth Judicial District Court, seeking execution of the Will and his confirmation as Independent Executor. That same day, Judge Sterling Snowdy signed an Order for Probate, ordering the execution of Ms. Gendron's Will and an Order, confirming Raymond Gendron, Jr. as the Independent Executor of the Succession of Ms. Gendron and directing the issuance of letters testamentary. According to the Sworn Detailed Descriptive List, Ms. Gendron's estate has a total gross value of $5, 627, 617.07.

         On August 1, 2016, Ms. Gendron's other five children, Karen, Maria, Tracey, Raye and Judy (hereinafter "petitioners" or "appellants") filed a Notice of Lis Pendens and a Motion to File a Petition for Intervention in the record of the Succession of Josephine Catalano Gendron, notifying the Executor that petitioners had filed a Petition to Reopen the Succession, Recover Decedent's Funds and Annul Decedent's Probated Testament in the Succession of Mr. Gendron, Sr. Petitioners stated that the outcome of these proceedings may affect the division of property in In Re Succession of Josephine Catalano Gendron. By order dated August 29, 2016, the trial court granted the motion, allowing petitioners to file their Petition of Intervention in this succession and to serve their Petition on the Executor. Thus, on September 30, 2016, petitioners filed the Petition for Intervention into the Succession of Josephine Catalano Gendron (hereinafter the "Petition"), contesting the validity of Ms. Gendron's Will.

         In the Petition, petitioners assert that the Will is invalid and null as a matter of law because (1) Ms. Gendron did not have the capacity to comprehend the nature and consequences of the Will due to her declining mental and physical health, including memory lapses and behavioral changes; (2) the Will was a product of undue influence by the Executor in violation of La. C.C. art. 1479; and (3) Ms. Gendron did not declare the Will as hers or sign the Will in the presence of two competent witnesses in violation of La. C.C. art. 1577. Petitioners seek a judgment declaring the Will null, recognition as Ms. Gendron's heirs, possession of their shares of Ms. Gendron's estate, and any other damages.

         The Executor's Exceptions

         On December 5, 2016, Ray Jr. filed Dilatory Exceptions of Unauthorized Use [of Ordinary Proceedings], Vagueness and Ambiguity, Nonconformity and Improper Cumulation of Actions, and a Peremptory Exception of No Cause of Action. In the Exception of Unauthorized Use, Ray Jr. asserts that an action to annul the Will must be done by summary proceeding and that petitioners should have filed a rule to show cause. In the Exception of Vagueness and Ambiguity, Ray Jr. asserts that the petition fails to allege sufficient facts to place the Executor on notice of "the facts upon which the Plaintiffs' claims are based." In the Exception of No Cause of Action, the Executor alleges that petitioners fail to allege sufficient facts to state causes of action based on testamentary incapacity, insufficiency of form or undue influence to annul Ms. Gendron's Will.

         The Executor's exceptions were argued before the trial court on January 10, 2017. On January 23, 2017, the trial court granted the Executor's Exceptions of Unauthorized Use of Ordinary Proceedings, Vagueness and Ambiguity and No Cause of Action. The trial court allowed petitioners fifteen (15) days to amend their petition to cure the vagueness and ambiguity and plead specific facts as to their causes of action for testamentary incapacity and undue influence.

         On February 6, 2017, petitioners filed a timely motion for appeal, which the trial ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.