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Hobby v. Parker

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

March 28, 2018

WILLA HOBBY, ET AL.
v.
TOBIN PARKER

          HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          S. MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         The Plaintiffs, Wal-Mart Louisiana, LLC, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Willa Hobby's (collectively “Wal-Mart”) Motion for Leave to Appeal, and/or Motion for Certification of Direct Appeal to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and for a Stay of All Proceedings Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158 (Record Document 1) is DENIED. Based on the Court's aforementioned ruling, Defendant, Tobin Parker's (“Parker”) Motions to Dismiss Appeal (Record Documents 2 and 16) are now MOOT.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The factual background of this matter has been set forth in the bankruptcy court's June 19, 2017 “Order Denying Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.” Neither party has objected to the facts as set forth by the bankruptcy court, therefore, in order to give contextual basis to those facts and in the interests of creating a complete record, this Court will adopt the factual background as set forth by the bankruptcy court in its Order, as set forth herein below:

         Wal-Mart initiated this adversary proceeding on March 21, 2017. Wal-Mart is seeking a declaratory judgment against Parker, who is the debtor in the underlying bankruptcy case. Wal-Mart is seeking an order prohibiting Parker from continuing a personal injury lawsuit against it. Wal-Mart argues that Parker should be judicially estopped from continuing the personal injury lawsuit because he failed to amend his bankruptcy schedules to disclose the lawsuit.

         Parker filed his Chapter 13 bankruptcy case on February 27, 2009. In his original bankruptcy schedules, he disclosed that he had no contingent or unliquidated claims, which would include a personal injury lawsuit (No. 09-10637, ECF No. 1, pg. 11). Parker never amended his bankruptcy schedules. Parker's Chapter 13 plan was confirmed on July 1, 2009. Parker later modified his plan on January 25, 2010, which was approved on March 3, 2010. It is important to note that Parker's initial counsel in the bankruptcy case was Michael Rennix (“Rennix”), who has since been disbarred from the practice of law.

         According to the parties' joint pre-trial statement (ECF No. 13), the following facts are not in dispute:

         1. On or about December 18, 2010, Parker, who was employed by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. was involved in an accident at a Wal-Mart store in Many, Louisiana.

         2. Parker retained the Jack Bailey Law Corporation to represent him in connection with these injuries, and on December 16, 2011, he filed the lawsuit in state court captioned Tobin Parker v. Walmart of Louisiana, LLC, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Willa Hobby (“Wal-Mart lawsuit”).

         3. On December 18, 2012, Wal-Mart took Parker's deposition, and the Wal-Mart lawsuit was discussed.

         4. On March 15, 2013, the Jack Bailey Law Corporation sent a letter to then-Chapter 13 Trustee Lucy G. Sikes (“Sikes”) and Rennix informing them of the pending lawsuit.

         5. On May 17, 2013, Sikes sent an acknowledgment letter to the Jack Bailey Law Corporation, Rennix, and Parker. In that letter, Sikes acknowledged the lawsuit had been disclosed to her and asked the parties to keep her office advised as to the status of the case.

         6. Rennix never responded to the letters or any other inquiries into the matter, and never amended the defendant's ...


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