NEW ORLEANS PRIVATE PATROL SERVICE, INC.
CORPORATE CONNECTION, INC.
FROM FIRST CITY COURT OF NEW ORLEANS NO. 2016-06589, SECTION
"A" Honorable Monique G. Morial, Judge
W. Waters, Jr. Benjamin R. McDonald Gregory J. McDonald
BIENVENU FOSTER RYAN & O'BANNON, LLC COUNSEL FOR
A. Stephens COMEAUX, STEPHENS & GRACE, COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Joy Cossich
Lobrano, Judge Regina Bartholomew Woods
BARTHOLOMEW WOODS JUDGE
New Orleans Private Patrol Services, Inc. ("NOPP"),
appeals a June 16, 2017 judgment rendered by the First City
Court for the Parish of Orleans ("trial court"),
which granted summary judgment in favor of Appellee,
Corporate Connections, Inc. ("CCI"). For the
reasons that follow, we reverse the trial court's ruling
and remand for further proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
in need of a sales manager, entered into a contractual
agreement with CCI on January 19, 2016, to provide
"recruitment and staffing services" to fill the
position. CCI asserted that it "would select and screen
job candidates and submit those candidates to NOPP for
positions that NOPP was [sic] seeking to fill."
According to NOPP, the contractual agreement had two (2)
components. First, CCI was responsible for recruiting and
recommending candidates to NOPP. NOPP asserts that although
CCI's services were not specified in writing, NOPP
"understood" that CCI was to "pre-screen
potential candidates to determine their qualifications, and
[conduct] a personal interview . . . to determine the
candidate's skill level and suitability." Second,
CCI's written "90 Day Replacement Guarantee
Only" provision stated that "should the placed
employee be let go or choose to leave the client
company's employ within ninety (90) days, [CCI] will
replace the employee at no additional cost" to NOPP. In
compensation for its services, CCI was to receive ten percent
(10%) of the placed-employee's first year salary.
February 15, 2016, CCI presented Mr. Sean Donelon ("Mr.
Donelon") to NOPP in consideration for the sales manager
position. According to CCI, they selected Mr. Donelon as a
candidate and prepared to perform a background check. While
his background check was pending, NOPP interviewed Mr.
Donelon twice and ultimately hired him-ten days before the
background and reference checks were completed. According to
NOPP, it hired Mr. Donelon, unaware of the fact that the
background and reference checks were incomplete. However, CCI
disputed this claim and asserted that NOPP was fully aware of
the incomplete background and reference checks when it
interviewed and ultimately hired Mr. Donelon.
asserted that CCI first requested Mr. Donelon's
references on February 29, 2016, three (3) days after NOPP
offered him the position. According to NOPP, CCI completed
Mr. Donelon's reference check on March 2, 2016, and
received the results of his criminal background check on
March 3, 2016. CCI reported that its review showed no
criminal record, no issues with his Social Security history,
and no involvement in civil lawsuits. CCI asserted that it
searched on both Facebook and Google, which produced no
challenges to Mr. Donelon's "professional ability or
background." CCI further asserted that it contacted the
professional references who were provided by Mr. Donelon; all
three (3) gave "favorable recommendation[s]." As a
result of the aforementioned, CCI generated an invoice for
its services, dated March 7, 2016; accordingly, NOPP timely
remitted payment to CCI in the amount of $3, 600.00, which
was the amount invoiced.
March 7, 2016, Mr. Donelon began working at NOPP and,
according to NOPP, he began displaying "strange
behavior." In an affidavit, NOPP's
secretary-treasurer, Karen Lorenz ("Lorenz"),
stated that Mr. Donelon inquired about obtaining a gun, which
is never provided to sales managers. Lorenz further stated
that she observed "visible signs that Donelon was
impaired while working." As a result, Lorenz recommended
that he be terminated from his employment with NOPP.
addition to Lorenz, Marie Stroud ("Stroud"),
NOPP's executive assistant, stated in an affidavit that
she observed Mr. Donelon's unusual behavior which
"included constant pacing, 'blanking out, ' and
attending staffing meetings while visibly impaired."
Subsequent to Mr. Donelon's termination on May 12, 2016,
NOPP discovered handcuffs and a badge in his desk; NOPP
suggested that Mr. Donelon retrieved these items from the
supply closet without permission, because NOPP never supplied
him with these items. Lorenz discovered that Mr. Donelon had
sent text messages from his company cellular phone to his
girlfriend claiming that he had responded to a shooting as
part of his duties at NOPP, which was untrue. Lorenz also
discovered that he had used NOPP's computers to search
for and purchase pills online. NOPP asserted that Stroud
discovered straws inside Mr. Donelon's desk, which had
been "cut and contained powered drug
Stroud searched Mr. Donelon's LinkedIn and Facebook
profiles, and discovered that the professional references he
had provided to CCI were his friends who no longer worked at
the same companies where they were employed along with Mr.
Donelon or had not been his supervisors.
12, 2016, NOPP notified CCI that NOPP had terminated Mr.
Donelon's employment and sought to enforce CCI's
"90-Day Replacement Guarantee." CCI presented
NOPP with a candidate, whom NOPP rejected. After an email
exchange between NOPP and CCI regarding Mr. Donelon's
placement and termination, CCI terminated its contractual
agreement with NOPP. CCI offered to refund NOPP 75% of its
Dissatisfied with the lack of a replacement candidate and
wanting a complete refund, NOPP filed a petition for damages
against CCI for breach of contract, in which NOPP claimed
that CCI breached its contractual obligation by "failing
to adequately screen Mr. Donelon and verify his background
and references." ...