CARROLL COLLINS DABEZIES, CONSTANCE DABEZIES COOPER AND OLIVIER C. DABEZIES
EUGENIE DABEZIES TRELO, LOUISE C. DABEZIES AND ELIZABETH DABEZIES GOODYEAR
APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CIVIL DISTRICT COURT,
ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2014-08084, DIVISION "D"
Honorable Nakisha Ervin-Knott, JUDGE
B. Schmidt BREAZEALE, SACHSE & WILSON, L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR
R. Swanson Sharonda Williams Jeanette A. Donnelly FISHMAN
HAYGOOD COUNSEL FOR RESPONDENT
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano,
Judge Rosemary Ledet
COSSICH LOBRANO JUDGE.
Carroll Collins Dabezies, through her co-mandataries, Olivier
C. Dabezies and Conrad G. Collins, seek review of the
district court's judgment of February 23, 2018, granting
the defendants' motion to compel.
instituted the present action to judicially partition the
family home at 6016 St. Charles Avenue. Carroll Collins
Dabezies and her deceased husband, Dr. Oliver H. Dabezies,
Jr., owned the property during their marriage and raised
their children there. Olivier C. Dabezies is Carroll's
son and the defendants are her daughters. Upon the death of
Dr. Dabezies in 2001, Carroll was placed in ownership of
fifty percent interest in the property; the other fifty
percent was divided among the five children, each having a
ten percent interest in the property, subject to
Carroll's usufruct. In 2004, Carroll executed a very
broad and all-encompassing procuration, authorizing her son
and her brother to act as her co-mandataries. In 2007,
Carroll was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and placed in
Poydras Home, where she continues to reside. The parties
attempted an amicable agreement to sell the family home.
However, they could not agree, and the present partition suit
have sought to obtain financial information; which discovery
the plaintiffs have opposed. Defendants filed a motion to
compel discovery. After a hearing, the district court
rendered judgment granting the motion to compel and ordering
plaintiffs to provide the information requested. The
plaintiffs informed the district court of their intent to
seek supervisory review, and the district court set a return
date of March 27, 2018 and filed their application for
supervisory writs with this court on the same day. Defendants
have opposed the writ application, arguing that the trial
court's ruling was correct in light of the allegations in
the petition to partition and the answer and affirmative
defenses filed in response.
to La. C.C.P. 1422:
[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not
privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved
in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or
defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or
defense of any other party, including the existence,
description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any
books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity
and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable
matter. It is not ground for objection that the information
sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information
sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery
of admissible evidence.
trial court has broad discretion in handling discovery
matters and an appellate court should not upset a ruling
absent an abuse of discretion." Sercovich v.
Sercovich, 11-1780, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/13/12), 96
So.3d 600, 603. Under this abuse of discretion standard of
review, "[a]n appellate court must balance the
information sought in light of the factual issues involved
and the hardships that would be caused by the court's
order when determining whether the trial court erred in
ruling on a discovery order." Favrot v. Favrot,
12-1573, p. 4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 5/1/13), 115 So.3d 1190, 1193.
C.E. art. 401 defines relevant evidence as "evidence
having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is
of consequence to the determination of the action more
probable or less probable than it would be without the
evidence." The discoverability test under La. C.C.P.
art. 1422 entails first asking whether answering the
discovery is feasible and practicable. If that answer is in
the affirmative, the court then determines whether an answer
to the discovery would "expedite the litigation by
either narrowing the area of controversy or avoiding
unnecessary testimony or providing a lead to evidence."
Indus. Pipe, Inc. v. Plaquemines Parish Council,
12-1348, p. 8 (La.App. 4 Cir. 9/14/12), 100 So.3d 896, 901.
the test for discoverability of evidence is broader than the
test for admissibility, the following three categories of
evidence have been identified in terms of admissibility and
discoverability: "(1) evidence which is admissible at
the trial or hearing, (2) evidence which is discoverable,
including, but not limited to, all evidence admissible at the
trial or hearing, and (3) evidence which is neither
admissible nor discoverable." Sullivan v. Malta
Park, 14-0478, p. 18 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/10/14), 156
So.3d 751, 762, quoting 1 Frank L. Maraist and Harry
T. Lemmon, Louisiana Civil Law Treatise: Civil
Procedure § 9:1 (1999). Courts have established
that while relevance in discovery is broader than that
required for admissibility at trial, "the object of
inquiry must have some evidentiary value before an order to
compel disclosure of otherwise inadmissible material will
issue." Indus. Pipe, Inc., 12-1348, p. 8, 100
So.3d at 901. "A party seeking to compel discovery bears
the burden of proving that the matters sought to be
discovered are relevant." State ex rel. Ieyoub v.
Racetrac Petroleum, Inc., 01-0458, p. 18 (La.App. 3 Cir.
6/20/01), 790 So.2d 673, 685.
present case, the plaintiffs/relators argue that the district
court erred in granting the motion to compel discovery,
suggesting that the discovery sought is too broad and not
relevant to the partition of the immovable property at ...