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Burch v. Burch

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 10, 2018

DELORES A. BURCH Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JARRELL O. BURCH Defendant-Appellant

         Appealed from the Forty-Second Judicial District Court for the Parish of DeSoto, Louisiana Trial Court No. 70, 026 Honorable Charles B. Adams, Judge

          LAW OFFICE OF BRYCE DENNY, LLC By: Bryce J. Denny Counsel for Appellant

          RONALD J. MICIOTTO Counsel for Appellee

          Before PITMAN, STONE, and GASKINS (Pro Tempore), JJ.

          PITMAN, J.

         Defendant Jarrell O. Burch appeals the judgment of the trial court which partitioned the community property he held with his former wife, Delores Altheon Burch ("Altheon"). For the following reasons, we affirm and remand for modification of the judgment to include legal descriptions of the immovable property affected by the judgment and to comport with La. C.C.P. arts. 1919 and 2089.

         FACTS

         Altheon filed a petition for divorce from her husband, Jarrell. A judgment was rendered terminating their community property regime effective February 13, 2009. On December 5, 2009, the trial court appointed a special master, Susan Whitelaw, C.P.A., to assist it with the partition of the property. In the following seven years, Ms. Whitelaw submitted four detailed descriptive lists ("DDL"), which purported to reflect the parties' community and separate property holdings and their values. The last list, the Fourth DDL, was completed in the fall of 2016.

         On July 14, 2016, a trial was held at which the Third DDL was admitted into evidence and Ms. Whitelaw was present to testify and identify each item in the list as to its classification and valuation. It was at that time that the attorneys for the parties were to express any objection they had to classification or valuation of any item of property listed. At that hearing, Jarrell's attorney, Mr. Denny, voiced his objections, stating:

And then I'm skipping over the separate property issue other than we do have an issue on sixty-four (A) which is the Mark Ward cash deed. It's listed here as separate.
* * *
And I understand that Ms. Whitelaw has an explanation for that but at this point we object to it.
Mr. Miciotto: But let's make sure -
The Court: To the value?
Mr. Denny: No, not the value, I'm sorry. The - I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Never mind, we do not. I'm sorry. Never mind.
The Court: The value is not -
Mr. Denny: The value is not an ...

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