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.
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G.
Gravois, and Stephen J. Windhorst
STEPHEN J. WINDHORST, JUDGE
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
February 6, 2017, petitioners filed a timely motion for
appeal, which the trial ...