FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 2014-3448 HONORABLE ROBERT L. WYATT, DISTRICT
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS. J.
Craig Jones Jones & Hill, LLC Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellee: McKinley Taylor
Ray Hill Jones & Hill, LLC Post Office Box Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellee: McKinley Taylor
R. Miller, The Kullman Firm, Counsel for Defendant/Appellant:
Cajun Constructors, Inc.
composed of Phyllis M. Keaty, John E. Conery, and Van H.
PHYLLIS M. KEATY JUDGE.
court issued a rule ordering Appellant/Defendant, Cajun
Constructors, Inc., to show cause, by brief only, why its
appeal should not be dismissed for lack of a final judgment.
See La.Code Civ.P. art. 2083. For the reasons that
follow, we dismiss the suspensive appeal, but remand the
matter with instructions and for supplementation.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
McKinley Taylor, filed suit against Defendant for unpaid
wages during his employment with Defendant as a carpenter
from March 16, 2012, through March 19, 2013. Following a
trial on the merits, on October 24, 2017, the trial court
issued a six-page untitled document which appears to be
written reasons for ruling as opposed to a final judgment.
The trial court found therein that Taylor was never paid a
per diem upon which the parties had agreed for his first week
of work. The trial court also found that Defendant's
failure to pay the daily per diem was not in good faith and
awarded penalty wages and attorney fees as provided in
December 4, 2017, Defendant filed a motion for suspensive
appeal. The order of appeal was signed on January 11, 2018.
In due course, the record was lodged in this court, at which
time a rule was issued ordering Defendant to show cause why
the appeal should not be dismissed for the above-stated
reason. Defendant timely filed its brief in response to the
rule wherein it acknowledges that the October 24, 2017
written reasons for ruling did not contain the necessary
decretal language, "ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED,
" as repeatedly suggested by this court. See GBB
Props. Two, LLC v. Stirling Props., LLC, 17-384 (La.App.
3 Cir. 7/5/17), 224 So.3d 1001; Barlow v. Barlow,
13-1092 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/23/13), 161 So.3d 24; Parker
v. S. Am. Ins. Co., 578 So.2d 1021 (La.App. 3 Cir.),
rev'd on other grounds, 590 So.2d 55 (La.1991).
Defendant also acknowledges there is no separate document
apart from the written reasons as contemplated by La.Code
Civ.P. art. 1918.
explained that, faced with the uncertainty of a delay period
for appealing the ruling as to liability, it "opted to
preserve its right to appeal" the October 24, 2017
ruling. Nevertheless, it agrees that the subject ruling
"does not appear to be a final appealable judgment
according to this Court's precedent." Defendant also
notes that the trial court has not yet determined the amount
of attorney fees to be awarded. As such, Defendant requests
that this court retain the lodged record, dismiss the appeal
without prejudice, and remand the case to the trial court for
the entry of a judgment, allowing reasonable time for the
resolution of the attorney fees issue and supplementation of
the record with the matters being docketed for final
disposition by this court.
Barlow, 161 So.3d at 26-27, this court addressed the
exact issue herein:
"Appeals are taken from the judgment, not the written
reasons for judgment." Greater New Orleans
Expressway Comm'n v. Olivier, 02-2795, p. 3
(La.11/18/03), 860 So.2d 22, 24. "A final judgment shall
be identified as such by appropriate language. When written
reasons for the judgment are assigned, they shall be set out
in an opinion separate from the judgment." La.Code
Civ.P. art. 1918. "A judgment and reasons for judgment
are two separate and distinct documents."
Olivier, 860 So.2d at 24. "A valid judgment
must be precise, definite, and certain. A final appealable
judgment must contain decretal language, and it must name the
party in favor of whom the ruling is ordered, the party
against whom the ruling is ordered, and the relief that is
granted or denied." State v. White, 05-718, p.