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Davies v. Davies

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

November 14, 2018

MARTIN J. DAVIES
v.
JANET LABATUT DAVIES JANET LABATUT DAVIES
v.
MARTIN J. DAVIES

          APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2012-04553 C\W 2009-05534, DIVISION "H-12" Honorable Monique E. Barial, Judge

          Jennifer C. Carter de BLANC LAW FIRM, LLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT

          David M. Prados LOWE STEIN HOFFMAN ALLWEISS & HAUVER, L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE

          (Court composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Dale N. Atkins)

          DANIEL L. DYSART JUDGE.

         Martin J. Davies appeals a judgment sustaining Janet Labatut Davies' Exceptions of Prematurity and No Cause of Action, which were filed in response to his Motion to Terminate Final Periodic Spousal Support. Janet Labatut Davies answers the appeal arguing that the trial court erred in granting Mr. Davies' Motion to Terminate Payment of Health Insurance Premium. She also requests that this Court address the ruling of the trial court finding her Exception of Res Judicata moot. For the reasons that follow, we amend the judgment and affirm, as amended.

         BACKGROUND:

         The parties were married in 1989, and were divorced by a judgment signed December 6, 2013. Two daughters were born of the marriage, one of whom had reached majority at the time of the subject hearing. On January 28, 2015, the parties entered into two consent judgments. One judgment concerned support for the parties' two children, spousal support, car insurance and cellphones for the two children, tuition and living expenses for college for both children, health insurance for both children and Ms. Davies, and beneficiaries on Mr. Davies' retirement accounts and life insurance. The other judgment was relative to the partition of community property, including sale of the family home, retirement accounts, vehicles, movables in the family home, and debts.

         In January of 2017, the trial court heard several motions filed by the parties. Specifically, Mr. Davies filed a Motion to Enforce Consent Judgment Partitioning Community Property, and a Motion to Modify Beneficiary Designation and to Reduce Spousal Support, and to require that all reimbursement requests submitted by Ms. Davies be submitted within thirty days of payment. Ms. Davies filed a Rule for Contempt and Exceptions of No Cause of Action and Res Judicata regarding Mr. Davies' motions to modify spousal support and beneficiary designation.

         Following the hearing, two judgments were issued. The considered judgment recognized that Ms. Davies was entitled to fifty percent of Mr. Davies' Tulane University retirement funds from the date of marriage until the date the petition for divorce was filed. Additionally, a consent judgment[1] was entered into by the parties recognizing that Mr. Davies was in contempt of the January 2017 judgment for failure to pay cell phone bills for his two daughters, car insurance for his eldest daughter, and failure to designate his two daughters as beneficiaries on his Tulane retirement account. Mr. Davies was found not to be in contempt for failure to pay the non-covered cost of his eldest daughter's wisdom teeth extraction. Additionally, Mr. Davies was ordered to pay Ms. Davies' court costs and attorney fees.

         The trial court also sustained Ms. Davies' Exception of No Cause of Action regarding Mr. Davies' motion to modify spousal support, and her Exception of Res Judicata regarding his motion to modify beneficiaries on his Tulane retirement account.

         In December of 2017, Mr. Davies filed a Motion to Terminate Final Periodic Spousal Support and Payment of Health Insurance Premium. Ms. Davies responded by filing Exceptions of Prematurity, Res Judicata and No Cause of Action. A hearing was held on February 28, 2018, and the judgment from which this appeal arises was rendered on March 26, 2018. In that judgment, the trial court sustained Ms. Davies' Exceptions of No Cause of Action and Prematurity and held that the granting of the other exceptions rendered the Exception of Res Judicata moot. The trial court overruled Ms. Davies' Exception of No Cause of Action as to the motion to terminate payment of insurance premiums.[2]

         This appeal and answer to appeal follow.

         DISCUSSION:

         In his first assignment of error, Mr. Davies argues that the trial court committed legal error by failing to interpret the language of the January 2015 consent judgment in accordance with Louisiana Civil Code art. 2050.[3] His second assignment of error relates to the ...


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