Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 598156 Honorable
Michael A. Pitman, Judge
KAY BACOT CATHERINE LEARY Counsel for Appellant
KITCHENS LAW FIRM, APLC By: Richard Russell Ray By: Graydon
K. Kitchens, Jr. Counsel for Appellees
SOCKRIDER, BOLIN, ANGLIN, BATTE & HATHAWAY By: Donald
Edgar Hathaway, Jr. Curator Ad Hoc for the Property of Paul
GARRETT, STONE, and COX, JJ.
trial court denied David and Alyson Hoge's request for
$65, 946.81 in attorney fees and costs and awarded them $2,
500 in attorney fees and costs. For the following reasons, we
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Hoge ("Paul") was born on November 28, 1936 and has
lived in Shreveport his entire life. For the last 7 years, he
has resided in the home of LaRae Cook ("Cook"), his
girlfriend of 13 years. Paul has one son, David Hoge
("David"). David and his wife, Alyson Hoge
("Alyson") (jointly "the Hoges"), live in
Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2015, Paul was diagnosed with
Alzheimer's and dementia. On January 25, 2017, the Hoges
filed a petition to interdict Paul. Due to a series of
motions filed by both parties, including multiple
continuances by Paul, depositions, and days of testimony, the
interdiction was contested over a period of 8 months.
August 11, 2017, the parties agreed that full interdiction
was not warranted as a less restrictive means was available.
A judgment of limited interdiction was rendered, denying the
full interdiction. The stipulations of the limited
interdiction are as follows: 1) Christopher Smith and Gina
Smith be appointed as limited co-curators over the person of
Paul; 2) Alyson be appointed as the limited undercuratrix
over the person of Paul; 3) Donald Hathaway, Jr. be appointed
as the limited curator over Paul's property; 4) Mark
Ford, CPA for Paul, appointed as the limited undercurator
over the property of Paul.
on September 20, 2017, the Hoges filed a rule for
reimbursement wherein they sought $65, 946.81 in
reimbursements for attorney fees and costs. In a hearing on
October 30, 2017, the trial court granted the Hoges
reimbursement in the amount of $2, 500. The trial court based
its judgment on: 1) the length and contentiousness of the
interdiction; 2) the financial stability of the Hoges; 3) an
affidavit executed by Paul Hoge stating he does not wish to
reimburse the Hoges; 4) the fact that the Hoges filed the
interdiction to preserve the assets of the interdict; and 5)
the fact that the Hoges stated throughout the interdiction
proceeding that they did not want or expect Paul's money.
The Hoges appealed the trial court ruling, arguing the award
was not fair or reasonable in light of the fees they incurred
in connection with the interdiction.
of appeal should not set aside a trier of fact's finding
of fact in the absence of "manifest error" or
unless it is "clearly wrong." Rosell v.
ESCO, 549 So.2d 840 (La. 1989); Stobart v. State,
Through DOTD, 617 So.2d 880 (La. 1993). The appellate
court must determine not whether the trier of fact was right
or wrong, but whether the fact finder's conclusion was a
reasonable one, after reviewing the record in its entirety.
C. P. art. 4550 provides that the trial court
may render judgment for costs and attorney
fees against any party as the court may consider fair.
(emphasis added). Regardless of the statutory authorization
for an award of attorney fees, courts should examine certain
factors to determine the reasonableness of the fees.
Rivet v. State, Dep't. of
Transp. & Dev., 96-0145 (La. 09/05/96), 680
So.2d 1154, 1161. Factors to be considered include the
ultimate result obtained; the responsibility incurred; the
importance of the litigation; the amount of money involved;
the extent and character of the work performed; the legal
knowledge, attainment, and skill of the attorneys; the number
of appearances involved; the ...