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Boulmay v. Heebe

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 27, 2017

GEOFFREY J. BOULMAY, SR.
v.
FREDERICK R. HEEBE, JR., COPELAND ESTATE ET AL.

         APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2016-12579, DIVISION "G-11" Honorable Robin M. Giarrusso, Judge

          Geoffrey J. Boulmay, Sr. PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, IN PROPER PERSON

          William P. Gibbens Teva F. Sempel SCHONEKAS EVANS McGOEY & McEACHIN, L.L.C., Peter J. Butler, Jr. Richard G. Passler BREAZEALE SACHSE & WILSON, L.L.P., Len R. Brignac KING KREBS & JURGENS, P.L.L.C. Alexander M. McIntyre, Jr. BAKER DONELSON BEARMAN CALDWELL & BERKOWITZ, P.C. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES

          Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins

          Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge

         In this action to nullify judgment and claim for damages, plaintiff/appellant, Geoffrey J. Boulmay, Sr. ("Boumay") appeals the district court's judgments rendered on April 13, 2017 and June 26, 2017, granting the exceptions of prescription filed by defendants/appellees, Frederick R. Heebe, Jr. ("Heebe"), Alvin Copeland, Jr. as trustee of the Article III Trust under the will of Alvin C. Copeland ("Copeland"), Richard Talluto ("Talluto"), Bryan White ("White"), Aubrey B. Hirsch, Jr. ("Hirsch"), and Peter J. Butler ("Butler")(collectively the "appellees"), and dismissing Boulmay's claims against these appellees. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         On December 28, 2016, Boulmay filed a petition in the district court in which he alleged that the appellees committed acts of "fraud on the court, " ultimately leading to a plan of reorganization and Chapter XI bankruptcy judgment, which were adverse to Boulmay's financial interests. According to the petition, the events giving rise to this litigation were initiated in 1981. The petition itself does not identify the date of the judgment from which Boulmay seeks relief. According to exhibits attached to the petition, a third amended plan of reorganization was approved by the bankruptcy court on March 3, 1983; judgment resolving the bankruptcy proceedings was rendered on January 30, 1985 and affirmed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 28, 1986.[1]

         On February 3, 2017, Heebe filed exceptions of prescription and vagueness. On February 13, 2017, Copeland, Talluto, and White jointly filed exceptions of prescription, res judicata, and no cause of action. On February 17, 2017, Hirsch filed exceptions of prescription, vagueness, no cause of action, and res judicata.

         On March 31, 2017, the district court held a hearing on the exceptions filed by Heebe, Copeland, Talluto, White, and Hirsch. On April 13, 2017, the district court rendered judgment, granted the exceptions of prescription, and dismissed Boulmay's claims against Heebe, Copeland, Talluto, White, and Hirsch.

         Thereafter, on May 12, 2017, Butler made an appearance in the litigation and filed exceptions of prescription, vagueness, and no cause of action.

         On June 16, 2017, the district court held a hearing on the exceptions filed by Butler. The district court rendered judgment on June 26, 2017, which granted Butler's exception of prescription and dismissed Boulmay's claims against Butler. This appeal followed.

         Before discussing the merits of this appeal, we first address whether this Court has appellate jurisdiction to review the April 13, 2017 and June 26, 2017 judgments rendered by the district court. Boulmay filed motions for appeal referencing judgments dated March 31, 2016 and June 16, 2017; the record before us, however, contains no judgments dated March 31, 2016 or June 16, 2017. Rather, the judgments in the record were rendered, respectively, (1) on April 13, 2017 from a hearing held on March 31, 2017, and (2) June 26, 2017 from a hearing held on June 16, 2017.

         This Court has held that, although inaccurate, an appeal may proceed where "the record reflects that all parties thought the subject matter of the [two] judgments were being appealed and that none of the appellees were prejudiced by the mistake." Duplantier v. Krewe of Pygmalion, 2007-1034, p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/3/08), 1 So.3d 570, 572.[2] It is evident from the record that Boulmay intended to appeal the judgments granting exceptions of prescription in favor of the appellees, and all appellees have addressed the merits of their respective exceptions in their briefs. We find no prejudice to the appellees as a result of the mistaken dates contained in Boulmay's motions for appeal. As such, the appeal is properly before us, and we now address the merits of the appeal.

         Boulmay sets forth one primary argument on appeal: that the judgment he complains of in his petition is an ...


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