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Watts v. Watts

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 29, 2017

CLARENCE E. WATTS, JR.
v.
DONNA RENEE WATTS

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT NUMBER 2015-0003347, DIVISION J, PARISH OF TANGIPAHOA STATE OF LOUISIANA HONORABLE JEFF CASHE, JUDGE

          J enel G. Secrease Jay Michael Futrell Ponchatoula, Louisiana Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellee Clarence E. Watts, Jr.

          John Oliver Braud Brenda Braud Hammond, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant-Appellant Donna Renee Watts

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McDONALD AND CHUTZ, JJ.

          CHUTZ, J.

         Defendant-appellant, Donna "Renee" Watts, appeals the trial court's judgment denying her claim for revocation of an inter vivas donation of immovable property. We affirm

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Renee and Sonny divorced after approximately nine years of marriage. As a result of a consent judgment, Renee was awarded the house, located at 12180 Marilyn Lane in Hammond, Louisiana.[1] On December 6, 2006, the parties remarried. It is undisputed that the Marilyn Lane residence, which was Renee's separate property, then became the couple's matrimonial domicile. On September 4, 2009, Renee donated the Marilyn Lane residence to Sonny.

         On November 4, 2015, Sonny filed a petition for divorce in which he requested exclusive use of the Marilyn Lane residence. Renee answered the lawsuit, also requesting exclusive use of the matrimonial domicile. Renee subsequently filed a petition to revoke the September 4, 2009 donation, citing ingratitude.

         Despite the pending divorce, both parties continued to reside in the home. On February 22, 2016, Sonny amended his petition, averring that the Marilyn Lane residence was his separate property by virtue of the September 4, 2009 donation. Sonny also moved to have Renee either evicted from or ordered to vacate the residence.

         After a hearing, the trial court signed a judgment on April 18, 2016, ordering Renee "to vacate [Sonny's] separate property." Renee filed a motion for new trial. She also amended her petition for revocation in order to include an allegation that the judgment in Sonny's favor constituted an additional act of ingratitude, further warranting revocation of the September 4, 2009 donation.

          A hearing was held on June 1, 2016, on Renee's claim for revocation of the September 4, 2009 donation. During the presentation of rebuttal evidence, Renee raised the issue of whether the donation was invalid for failure to comply with the form mandated for interspousal donations as set forth in La. C.C. Art. 1747.

         The trial court continued the hearing to allow the parties to conduct further discovery and prepare a defense. On June 23, 2016, the matter was concluded. The trial court rendered judgment on August 30, 2016, denying Renee's claim for revocation of the donation as well as her motion for new trial of the April 18, 2017 judgment. Renee appeals.

         VALIDITY OF THE DONATION

         Renee avers the donation inter vivos she and Sonny executed was deficient in form. Specifically, she contends the parties did not sign the document as required by La. ...


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