ANDREW J. HARRISON, JR.
NATURE'S WAY SAFETY SOLUTIONS, LLC AND JULES A. SIMON
Appealed from the 19th Judicial District Court in
and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana Trial Court
No. C642425 Honorable William A. Morvant, Judge
BRETT MASON PHILLIP A. WITTMANN MATTHEW S. ALMON NEW ORLEANS,
LA ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF -APPELLEE ANDREW J. HARRISON, JR.
HERRINGTON BATON ROUGE, LA ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT -APPELLANT
JULES A. SIMON
J. FOSTER, III B. TROY VILLA SUNNY MAYHALL WEST BATON ROUGE,
LA ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS -APPELLEES NATURE'S WAY
INVESTMENTS, LLC, DONALD J. DAVIS & DAVIS MANAGEMENT
SCOTT RAINWATER MICHAEL M. THOMPSON BATON ROUGE, LA ATTORNEYS
FOR DEFENDANT -APPELLEE WENDELL SPENCER
BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.
suit for payment of amounts due under several loan
agreements, a defendant appeals a partial summary judgment in
favor of the plaintiff based on the defendant's personal
guaranties. Because the judgment appealed is not a valid
final judgment, we dismiss the appeal.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Andrew Harrison, Jr., filed a petition for payment of amounts
allegedly due under two Business Loan Agreements and two
Personal Guaranty Agreements, all executed February 24, 2014,
which purported to memorialize prior agreements between the
parties. The first Business Loan Agreement involved a loan
made on October 1, 2013, by Harrison to Nature's Way
Safety Solutions, LLC ("Nature's Way"). In this
agreement, Nature's Way promised to pay Harrison the
principal amount of $350, 000.00, "together with
interest in an amount up to 100% of the principal of this
Loan." The second Business Loan Agreement involved a
second loan made by Harrison to Nature's Way on October
25, 2013. In this agreement, Nature's Way promised to pay
Harrison the principal amount of $200, 000.00, "together
with interest in an amount equal to up to 100% of the
principal of this Loan." Jules A. Simon, a member of
Nature's Way who signed both Business Loan Agreements on
behalf of Nature's Way, executed Personal Guaranty
Agreements related to each of the Business Loan Agreements,
guaranteeing payment of the entire outstanding indebtedness
of Nature's Way under the Business Loan Agreements.
filed a motion for partial summary judgment on November 21,
2016, on his claims against Simon arising out of the personal
guaranties. After a hearing, the trial court granted
Harrison's motion for partial summary judgment and
entered judgment in favor of Harrison and against Simon based
on the Personal Guaranty Agreements. The judgment ordered
Simon to pay Harrison $550, 000.00, "plus contractual
interest from the date the loans were made until September
21, 2015, judicial interest from the date of judicial demand
until paid in full, Plaintiff's court costs and
Plaintiff's reasonable attorney's fees to be
established by the Court through a post-judgment motion to be
filed by Plaintiff." The judgment was designated as a final
judgment pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 1915(B),  and Simon filed
this devolutive appeal.
courts have the duty to determine, sua sponte, whether their
subject matter jurisdiction exists, even when the parties do
not raise the issue. Perkins v. BBRC Investments,
14-0298, p. 3 (La.App. 1 Cir. 10/17/14), 205 So.3d 930,
932-33. Under Louisiana law, a final judgment is one that
determines the merits of a controversy, in whole or in part.
La. C.C.P. art. 1841. A final judgment must be identified as
such by appropriate language. La. C.C.P. art. 1918. A valid
judgment must be precise, definite, and certain. Gaten v.
Tangipahoa Parish School System, 11-1133, p. 3 (La.App.
1 Cir. 3/23/12), 91 So.3d 1073, 1074. 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. The amount of recovery should be
determinable from a judgment without reference to an
extrinsic source such as pleadings or reasons for judgment.
Crockerham v. Weyerhaeuser Holden Wood
Products, 16-0331, pp. 15-16 (La.App. 1 Or. 6/2/17), 223
So.3d 533, 543, writ denied, 17-1121 (La. 10/27/17),
228 So.3d 1232; Vanderbrook v. Coachmen Industries,
Inc., 01-809, p. 12 (La.App. 1 Cir. 5/10/02), 818 So.2d
August 10, 2017 judgment ordered Simon to pay Harrison
"contractual interest from the date the loans were made
until September 21, 2015, " an amount which is not
determinable from the judgment without reference to extrinsic
sources. Thus, the judgment is ambiguous, lacks appropriate
decretal language, and cannot be considered a final judgment.
See Perkins, 14-0298 at pp. 3-4, 205 So.3d at 933
(Judgment awarding "attorney's fees of 33 1/3% of
[principal] and interest on [prior] judgment" was
ambiguous, lacked appropriate decretal language, and cannot
be considered a final judgment.). ...