appeal from the Twenty-Third Judicial District Court In and
for the Parish of Ascension State of Louisiana Docket No.
117, 217 Honorable Alvin Turner, Jr., Judge Presiding
Gros Stacey B. Stephens Martin K. Maley Donaldsonville,
Louisiana Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellants Nathan and Sharon
Mitchell d/ b/ a Shapes Gym.
J. Eppling Craig W. Brewer Sara P. Scurlock Metairie,
Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Aaron' s, Inc.
Michael W. Rutledge James G. Albertine, III New Orleans,
Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Wal-Mart Stores,
BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND PENZATO, J J.
owners and operators of a business appeal a judgment
sustaining an objection of res judicata to dismiss their
damage claims against neighboring businesses due to the
flooding of their business property. For the following
reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
and Sharon Mitchell ("the Mitchells") own property
and a business called Shapes Gym, located in Donaldsonville,
Louisiana. On October 17, 2016, the Mitchells filed a
petition for damages against Aaron's, Inc. and Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc. (collectively "the defendants"),
alleging that on various dates from October 25, 2015 to
August 10, 2016, Shapes Gym was "inundated with rain
water with about six inches of water in the building."
The Mitchells alleged the flooding was caused by the
defendants' faulty construction of buildings and
subsurface drainage, failure to maintain drainage ditches,
and violation of the natural servitude of drainage.
response to the Mitchells' petition, the defendants filed
separate peremptory exceptions raising the objection of res
judicata, asserting that the Mitchells had filed a previous
lawsuit in the same court alleging the same acts of
negligence against the same defendants. As the dismissal of
the prior lawsuit against the defendants by summary judgment
was affirmed on appeal, the defendants urged the dismissal of
the newly-filed petition under the doctrine of res judicata.
Following a hearing on the exceptions, the trial court
sustained the objection of res judicata and rendered judgment
on September 12, 2017, dismissing the Mitchells' claims
against the defendants with prejudice. This appeal followed.
Mitchells assign the following as error:
1. The Trial Court committed legal error by granting
Defendant[s]-Appellees' Exception of Res Judicata.
2. The Trial Court committed legal error by failing to
address Nathan and Sharon Mitchell[s'] damages caused by
Appellees' blatant, gross and negligent actions in
failing to prevent the flow of water on ...