RAEDELL O. REED AND EDWINA BROWN REED
7631 BURTHE STREET, LLC, AND JASON A. RIGGS
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2014-10189,
DIVISION "L-6" Honorable Kern A. Reese, Judge.
Salvador I. Bivalacqua Lauren B. Griffin Scott M. Galante
GALANTE & BIVALACQUA LLC COUNSEL FOR
A. Dragon COUNSEL FOR THIRD-PARTY/ DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS
composed of Judge Paula A. Brown, Judge Tiffany G. Chase,
Judge Marion F. Edwards, Pro Tempore
A. Brown Judge.
Defendants, Jesus Arguelles ("Mr. Arguelles") and
Austin Venture Properties, LLC (collectively referred to as
"Austin Venture"), seek review of the district
court's February 24, 2017 Judgment granting
Appellees/Defendants/Plaintiffs-in-Reconvention, Jason A.
Riggs ("Mr. Riggs") and 7631 Burthe Street,
LLC's (collectively referred to as "Burthe Street,
LLC") petition to enforce settlement. The settlement
agreement (also referred to as a "compromise
agreement") was between Burthe Street, LLC and Edwina
Brown Reed ("Edwina") and Raedell O. Reed
("Raedell"). The Reeds did not submit a response brief.
reasons discussed below, we find Austin Venture lacks
standing, and we dismiss the appeal.
HISTORY AND FACTS
Reeds were co-owners of the property located at 7631 Burthe
Street, New Orleans, Louisiana ("the Property").
Edwina acquired her undivided one-half interest in the
Property by Judgment of Possession, and Raedell, Edwina's
daughter, acquired her undivided one-half interest by
Quitclaim Deed. The Reeds failed to pay the taxes on the
December 2009, Mr. Riggs acquired a one percent (1%) interest
in the Property through a tax sale deed, which was recorded
in February 2010. In February 2014, Mr. Riggs, through 7631
Burthe Street, LLC acquired Edwina's interest in the
Property, by cash sale, for a payment of $3, 000.00.
August 2014, Austin Venture entered into an agreement with
Raedell to purchase one-hundred percent (100%) of the
Property, although Raedell owned only fifty percent (50%)
interest of the Property.
October 2014, the Reeds filed in the district court a
Petition to Rescind Sale and for Annulment of Tax Sale
("the Petition"), naming Burthe Street, LLC as
Defendants. The Reeds were represented by John Davidson
("Mr. Davidson"), and the litigation was funded by
Petition, the Reeds asserted the tax sale of the Property was
invalid, and the purchase of the Property by Burthe Street,
LLC from Edwina was lesionary and subject to recession in
accordance with La. C.C. art. 2663. In her supplemental
petition, Edwina argued the sale of her interest in the
Property to Burthe Street, LLC was vitiated when Mr. Riggs
failed to disclose he was a real estate broker.
December 22, 2015, the Reeds and Burthe Street, LLC through
their attorneys, entered into a settlement agreement. Burthe
Street, LLC agreed to pay the Reeds $80, 000.00 to purchase
Raedell's fifty percent (50%) interest in the Property
and for dismissal of the Reeds' Petition.
December 29, 2015, Austin Venture filed the purchase
agreement between it and Raedell in the parish conveyance
problem arose in September 2016 with the enforcement of the
agreement, Burthe Street, LLC filed a reconventional demand
against the Reeds and a third-party demand against Austin
Venture. Burthe Street, LLC, praying for enforcement of the
settlement agreement with the Reeds or, in the alternative, a
partition by licitation and that the purchase agreement
between Austin Venture and Raedell be declared a nullity.
February 9, 2017, a trial was held.
Davidson testified he began representing the Reeds when Mr.
Arguelles funded the litigation to file the Petition. Mr.
Davidson stated Mr. Arguelles had an interest in buying the
property, and Mr. Arguelles funded the ligation to clear the
title to the Property. Notwithstanding, Mr. Davidson recalled
an agreement between the Reeds and Mr. Riggs wherein Mr.
Riggs agreed to pay $80, 000.00 to settle the lawsuit filed
by the Reeds, which included an agreement to purchase
Raedell's fifty (50%) interest in the Property.
of the settlement agreement-emails-were admitted into
evidence. An email dated December 22, 2015, from Mr. Davidson
to Mr. Riggs' attorney stated, "The clients have
agreed to accept $80, 000.00 in settlement of their claim and
will execute a dismissal of the suit and a sale from Ms.
Raedell Reed of her interest. Please prepare the appropriate
documentation." Mr. Riggs' attorney responded,
"Agreed that we have a settlement with a full release
from all of your clients, motion to dismiss and transfer all
remaining interest and clear title to property. . . ."
December 28, 2015, Mr. Davidson sent another email to Mr.
Riggs' attorney setting forth how payment of the
settlement should be made and it provided: "Please issue
one check to Raedell Reed for $57, 500 with an additional
check for $2, 500 payable to Raedell Reed and Austin Venture
Properties, LLC. Please issue one check to Edwina Brown Reed
for $17, 500 with an additional check of $2, 500 to Edwina
Brown Reed and Austin Venture Properties, LLC." Mr.
Davidson testified he had authority from the Reeds to accept
the offer, and he thought there was a settlement between the
parties which was indicated in the December 28, 2015 email.
Davidson testified confusion arose about the terms of the
settlement when he received an email on December 28, 2015,
from Mr. Riggs' attorney. The email inquired about the
Reeds paying fifty percent (50%) of the city liens owed on
the Property and the closing cost. Mr. Davidson continued Mr.
Arguelles was discontent with his portion of the
reimbursement from the settlement. Mr. Davidson expressed the
settlement with Mr. Arguelles was one of Raedell's
"predicates" for making the decision to settle. Mr.
Davidson testified only Raedell was negotiating with Austin
Venture as to the amount she and Edwina would pay for
reimbursement of litigation costs. Mr. Davidson explained he
was not representing Austin Venture during the settlement
negotiations between the Reeds and Burthe Street, LLC.
Davidson testified Austin Venture had an interest in buying
the Property, and Austin Venture funded the litigation for
the Reeds to clear the title to the Property. According to
Mr. Davidson, he was not representing Austin ...