FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2016-10346,
DIVISION "C" Honorable Sidney H. Cates, Judge
J. Sonnier ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT
M. Beh ELKINS, PLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Sandra Cabrina
Jenkins, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods)
CABRINA JENKINS JUDGE.
action to annul a tax sale, R&N Ursuline Family Limited
Partnership ("R&N") appeals the trial
court's April 10, 2017 judgment granting an exception of
res judicata filed by appellee, Pas A Vendre, LLC
("Pas A Vendre"). For the reasons that follow, we
vacate the judgment and remand for further proceedings.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Property and the Tax Sale
was the owner of property located at 1041-43 Dauphine Street
in New Orleans ("Property"). In November 2002, the
New Orleans Department of Health adjudicated the Property as
"blighted, " and in May 2004, the City of New
Orleans ("City") recorded a health lien against the
Property in the Orleans Parish mortgage records. For tax
years 2004 and 2005, R&N failed to pay the ad valorem
property taxes assessed on the Property. Consequently, on
November 28, 2007, the City held a tax sale of the Property
("Tax Sale"), and the Property was sold to Matthew
B. Moreland. On December 17, 2007, the City issued a Tax Sale
Deed conveying the Property to Mr. Moreland. The Tax Sale
Deed was recorded in the conveyance office of Orleans Parish.
about February 28, 2008, R&N filed a "Suit for
Redemption, Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary
Injunction and Permanent Injunction" ("2008
Lawsuit") naming Mr. Moreland as the defendant. In the
2008 Lawsuit, R&N sought a judgment declaring the
Property redeemed, and asked for a preliminary injunction
prohibiting Mr. Moreland from occupying the Property.
years later, in September 2012, Mr. Moreland filed a Motion
for Summary Judgment in the 2008 Lawsuit, seeking a ruling
from the court that R&N had no right to redeem the
Property under La. R.S. 13:2575(C) because the City had
declared the Property blighted. Mr. Moreland also sought a
judgment confirming full title and ownership of the Property
in his favor. Mr. Moreland served the motion and order upon
R&N by certified mail and regular mail. R&N did not
file an opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment.
November 6, 2012, the trial court rendered a judgment
("2012 Judgment"): (1) granting Mr. Moreland's
Motion for Summary Judgment and; (2) decreeing that "the
property forming the subject matter of this suit is not
redeemable by virtue of LSA-R.S. 13:2575(C) and thus full
title and ownership in the property which Defendant purchased
in a tax sale is hereby confirmed and title quieted in favor
of Defendant, Matthew Moreland." On November 15, 2012,
the minute clerk mailed the Notice of Signing of Judgment to
R&N. R&N did not appeal the 2012 Judgment.
19, 2016, Mr. Moreland and Pas A Vendre entered into an
"Act of Transfer and Contribution to Capital"
("Act of Transfer") in which Mr. Moreland
transferred his entire interest in the Property to Pas A
Vendre. The Act of Transfer was recorded in the public
records for Orleans Parish on or about May 19, 2016.
October 18, 2016, nine years after the Tax Sale, R&N
filed a "Petition to Annul Tax Sale"
("Petition to Annul") naming as defendants Pas A
Vendre, as successor in interest to Mr. Moreland; and Norman
S. Foster, in his capacity as Ex-Officio Tax Collector for
the City ("Tax Collector"). R&N sought to
nullify the Tax Sale Deed because the defendants failed to
notify R&N of the tax delinquency and the Tax Sale in
violation of Louisiana law governing tax sales and