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AP Interiors, LLC v. Coryell County Tradesmen, LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

March 21, 2018

AP INTERIORS, LLC D/B/A THE PAINT STORE
v.
CORYELL COUNTY TRADESMEN, LLC, ET AL

          APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2016-01142, DIVISION "M" Honorable Paulette R. Irons, Judge

          Kevin C. O'Bryon O'BRYON & SCHNABEL, PLC, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, AP INTERIORS LLC

          Lloyd N. Shields Michael S. Blackwell Jessica R. Derenbecker, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS, ROY ANDERSON CORPORATION, AND TRAVELERS CASUALTY AND SURETY COMPANY OF AMERICA

          Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods

          TERRI F. LOVE JUDGE.

         This appeal arises from a lien placed on a high-rise building by an unpaid material supplier after the termination of the remodeling/construction project. The general contractor utilized a surety to secure a lien release to free the building's title. The material supplier then filed suit for the monies due. Subsequently, the material supplier filed a motion for summary judgment against the general contractor and surety for the unpaid balance. The trial court found that the lien was valid and granted the motion for summary judgment, casting the general contractor and surety liable for the unpaid balance.

         The general contractor and surety appealed contending that the material supplier failed to comply with the notice of nonpayment requirements contained in the Public Works Act and that genuine issues of material fact remained.

         Our res nova interpretation of La. R.S. 9:4802(G)(3) finds that the material supplier was required to give notice of nonpayment to the owner and general contractor. We find that the material supplier failed to meet its burden of proof on the motion for summary judgment, as it lacked evidence of notice. Accordingly, we reverse the motion for summary judgment granted by the trial court and remand for further proceedings.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         225 Baronne Street ("project") in New Orleans, a 549, 746 square-foot property, was renovated and reconstructed. Roy Anderson Corporation ("RAC") was the general contractor on the project. RAC subcontracted with Ronald Franks Construction Company, LLC ("RFC"). RFC then sub-subcontracted its work to Coryell County Tradesmen, LLC ("CCT"). CCT purchased materials for the project from material supplier, AP Interiors, LLC d/b/a The Paint Store ("AP"). CCT allegedly failed to pay AP for approximately $40, 236.45 in materials.

         As a result, AP filed a Statement of Claim and Privilege ("lien") for $41, 443.23[1] in unpaid materials. RAC obtained a bond from Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America ("Travelers") to remove the lien and clear title to the project. Subsequently, AP filed a petition against CCT, RFC, National American Insurance Company ("National"), RAC, and Travelers, seeking the unpaid principal balance plus attorney's fees and costs.

         AP filed a Motion for Summary Judgment[2] against RAC and Travelers contending that no genuine issues of material fact existed and that it was entitled to recover $40, 236.45. Following a hearing, the trial court found that AP's lien was valid. The trial court granted AP's Motion for Summary Judgment and cast RAC and Travelers in judgment for $40, 236.45, plus interest from the date of the demand until paid. RAC and Travelers' suspensive appeal followed.

         RAC and Travelers contend that the trial court erred by failing to apply La. R.S. 9:4802(G)(3) and because AP failed to meet the burden of proof on summary judgment.

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         Appellate courts review the grant of a motion for summary judgment using the de novo standard of review. Descant v. Herrera, 03-0953, p. 8 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/22/04), 890 So.2d 788, 793. "Appellate courts are to review summary judgments de novo under the same criteria that govern the district court's consideration of whether summary judgment is appropriate." Id.

         "The summary judgment procedure is designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of actions." Carter v. Baver, 02-0765, p. 2 (La.App. 4 Cir. 5/29/02), 821 So.2d 496, 498. "The summary judgment procedure is favored and shall be construed to accomplish these ends." Id. "[A] motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents show that there is no genuine issue as to ...


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