FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2011-05651,
DIVISION "G-11" Honorable Robin M. Giarrusso, Judge
Michael Daly, Jr. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.
Spears, Diedre Pierce Kelly COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Joy Cossich
Lobrano, Judge Dale N. Atkins).
Cossich Lobrano Judge
tort litigation, defendants/appellants, B-3 Property d/b/a
B-3 Consulting ("B-3"), Blair Bail Bonds
("Blair"), and St. Roch Villa, LLC ("St.
Roch"), appeal the December 20, 2017 judgment of the
district court, which granted summary judgment in favor of
plaintiff/appellee, Cassandra Smith ("Smith"). For
the reasons that follow, we find that the judgment lacks the
required decretal language, and is not a final appealable
judgment. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal without
prejudice and remand this matter to the district court.
27, 2011, Smith filed a petition for damages against B-3 and
Blair. Smith alleged that B-3 and/or Blair owned and operated
the apartment complex where Smith lived. Smith further
alleged that, in "June or July of 2010," she
sustained injuries when she slipped and fell in a puddle of
algae on the ground, which formed as a result of a leak in
her apartment's air conditioner. According to Smith's
petition, B-3 and Blair are liable for negligence. On
September 22, 2014, St. Roch was added as a defendant via a
supplemental and amending petition, in which Smith alleged
that St. Roch and/or B-3 and/or Blair owned and operated the
apartment complex where Smith lived and, consequently, are
liable for negligence.
19, 2015, Smith filed a motion for summary judgment against
B-3 and Blair on the issue of negligence. On August 28, 2015,
summary judgment was denied. On August 8, 2017, Smith filed a
second motion for summary judgment against B-3 and Blair on
the issue of negligence. The motion did not seek summary
judgment against St. Roch. On December 20, 2017, the district
court granted summary judgment. This appeal followed.
first consider whether we have jurisdiction to review this
appeal. As this Court explained in Moulton v. Stewart
Enterprises, Inc., 2017-0243, pp. 3-7 (La.App. 4 Cir.
8/3/17), 226 So.3d 569, 571-73:
An appellate court cannot determine the merits of an appeal
unless its subject matter jurisdiction is properly invoked by
a valid final judgment. Freeman v. Phillips 66 Co.,
16-0247, p. 2 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/21/16), 208 So.3d 437, 440
(citing Tsegaye v. City of New Orleans, 15-0676, p.
3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/18/15), 183 So.3d 705, 710, writ
denied, 16-0119 (La. 3/4/16), 188 So.3d 1064);
see La. C.C.P. art. 2083(A)….
In addition to requiring that a judgment be precise,
definite, and certain, the jurisprudence has required that a
valid final judgment be self-contained; stated otherwise,
"[o]ne must be able to determine from the judgment
itself-without any reference to an extrinsic source-the
specific relief granted." Baker Ready Mix, LLC v.
Crown Roofing Servs., Inc., 15-0565, p. 2, n. 1 (La.App.
4 Cir. 12/16/15), 183 So.3d 622, 623 (citing Bd. of
Supervisors of La. State Univ. and Agric. and Mech. Coll. v.
Mid City Holdings, L.L.C., 14-0506, p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir.
10/15/14), 151 So.3d 908, 910). "The specific relief
granted should be determinable from the judgment without
reference to an extrinsic source such as pleadings or reasons
for judgment." Input/Output Marine [Sys.,
Inc. v. Wilson Greatbatch, Techs., Inc., 10-477, p. 13
(La.App. 5 Cir. 10/29/10), 52 So.3d 909, 916]….
Another requirement that the jurisprudence has imposed is
that a valid final judgment contain decretal language."
'Decretal language is defined as the portion of a
court's judgment or order that officially states
('decrees') what the court is ordering and generally
starts with the formula 'It is hereby ordered, adjudged,
and decreed that ....'" Freeman, 16-0247 at
p. 2, 208 So.3d at 440 (quoting Jones v. Stewart,
16-0329, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 10/5/16), 203 So.3d 384, 387).
To comply with the decretal language requirement, a judgment
must contain the following three elements: (i) it "must
name the party in favor of whom the ruling is ordered";
(ii) it must name "the party against whom the ruling is
ordered"; and (iii) it must state "the ...