Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

T M F Hotel Properties, L.L.C. v. Crescent City

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

November 28, 2018

T M F HOTEL PROPERTIES, L.L.C.
v.
CRESCENT CITY CONNECTIONS 501(C) 7 GRIS-GRIS PLEASURE AIDE & SOCIAL CLUB

          APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2017-07094, DIVISION "M" Honorable Paulette R. Irons, Judge.

          Charles M. Pisano Christian J. Rhodes Thomas J. Capella Jan K. Frankowski ROEDEL PARSONS KOCH BLACHE BALHOFF & MCCOLLISTER, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.

          John W. Redmann William L. Pratt Cristian A. Galleguillos LAW OFFICE OF JOHN W. REDMANN, LLC, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

          Court composed of Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods.

          ROSEMARY LEDET JUDGE.

         This is a summary eviction proceeding. The plaintiff, T M F Hotel Properties, L.L.C. ("TMF"), is the lessor; the defendant, Crescent City Connections 501(C) 7 Gris-Gris Pleasure Aide & Social Club ("Crescent City"), is the lessee.[1] On October 19, 2017, the trial court denied a declinatory exception of lis pendens filed by Crescent City and granted a judgment of eviction in favor of TMF. Crescent City appealed. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the trial court's ruling on the exception of lis pendens and remand for further proceedings.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This matter involves two different, but interrelated, leases: (i) the lease of a commercial building, which is the subject of this eviction proceeding-the "Building Lease"; and (ii) the lease of lots adjacent to the commercial building- the "Lots Lease." Both leases were executed on January 5, 2017. Both leases were for the same five-year term.

         In the Building Lease, the leased premises were identified as "all buildings and improvements thereon bearing municipal number 1377-1381 Annunciation Street [in New Orleans, Louisiana], comprising approximately 8, 295 sq.ft. of building." In the Lots Lease, the leased premises were identified as "lots 1, 8, 7.6, and 5 of lot 115 on Annunciation adjacent to building located at 1377 Annunciation." Both leases identified the "Use" of the leased premises as follows: "solely for the purposes of office space, restaurant and bar with live music venue as permitted by the City of New Orleans."[2]

         Both leases identified the lessor as TMF. The Building Lease identified the lessee as "Crescent City Connection 501(C)7 acting through its manager Edward Trent Robinson." The Lots Lease identified the lessee as "Edward Trent Robinson d/b/a Crescent City Connections (501C7)." Both leases included a virtually identical footer on the right hand, bottom corner of each page of the lease that read as follows:

Building Lease: "Lease between TMF Hotel Properties, LLC And Crescent City Connections (501(c)7)";
Lots Lease: "Lease between TMF Hotel Properties, LLC And Crescent City Connections (501C7)."

         Neither lease refers to the business entity by its full, non-profit corporation name-Crescent City Connection 501(C)7 Gris-Gris Pleasure Aide & Social Club.

         Litigation between the parties commenced on May 1, 2017, when "Edward Trent Robinson d/b/a Crescent City Connections 501(C)7" filed a petition for damages against TMF in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans ("CDC"). Edward Trent Robinson d/b/a Crescent City Connection 501(C)7 v. TMF Hotel Properties, L.L.C., CDC No. 2017-4134 (the "Damages Suit"). In the Damages Suit, the relief sought was damages arising out of TMF's alleged violation of the Building Lease and the Civil Code articles on leases.

         About three months after the Damages Suit was filed, and while the Damages Suit was still pending, TMF commenced this summary eviction proceeding against Crescent City, as the lessee under the Building Lease (the "Eviction Suit"). TMF alleged that Crescent City had failed to pay three months of rent-May, June, and July 2017[3]-as well as other items it was obligated to pay under the Building Lease. As a result, TMF asserted that Crescent City was in default and that TMF was entitled to a judgment of eviction.

         In response, Crescent City filed an answer and a declinatory exception of lis pendens.[4] In its answer, Crescent City admitted that "TMF and Edward Trent Robinson, d/b/a and/or on behalf of Crescent City entered into two Lease agreements, effective January 5, 2017." In its exception of lis pendens, Crescent City contended that the Damages Suit constituted a pending prior suit between the same parties on the same transaction or occurrence.

         Following a hearing, the trial court denied Crescent City's exception of lis pendens and granted TMF's petition for eviction.[5] This appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION

         The sole issue presented in this case is whether the trial court erred in denying Crescent City's declinatory exception of lis pendens.[6] A trial court's ruling on an exception of lis pendens, pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 531, presents a question of law; thus, it is reviewed de novo. An Erny Girl, L.L.C. v. BCNO 4, L.L.C., 16-1011, 16-1012, p. 9 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/30/17), 216 So.3d 833, 839, writ denied, 17-0815 (La. 6/29/17), 222 So.3d 48. Stated differently, "'the appellate court's standard of review is simply whether the trial court's interpretive decision is legally correct.'" Parker v. Tulane-Loyola Fed. Credit Union, 15-1362, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 5/25/16), 193 So.3d 441, 444-45 (quoting First Bank & Trust v. Simmons, 14-1210, p. 24 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/22/15), 165 So.3d 1025, 1040).

         Since a 1990 amendment, La. C.C.P. art. 531, the provision setting forth the exception of lis pendens, has provided as follows:

When two or more suits are pending in a Louisiana court or courts on the same transaction or occurrence, between the same parties in the same capacities, the defendant may have all but the first suit dismissed by excepting thereto as provided in Article 925. When the defendant does not so except, the plaintiff may continue the prosecution of any of the suits, but the first final judgment rendered shall be conclusive of all.

         The doctrine of lis pendens is closely related to the doctrine of res judicata. This close relationship is reflected in the Legislature's contemporaneous amendments to the lis pendens and res judicata statutory provisions in 1990. See Comments to La. C.C.P. art. 531 (noting that this article was amended in 1990 "to conform to the changes made in the defense of res judicata by La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 13:4231, 423").

         As the Louisiana Supreme Court has observed, "[t]he 'test' established to determine if an exception of lis pendens should be sustained is the same as that for res judicata; thus, an exception of lis pendens should be sustained if 'a final judgment in the first suit would be res judicata in the subsequently filed suit.'" Aisola v. Louisiana Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., 14-1708, p. 4 (La. 10/14/15), 180 So.3d 266, 269 (quoting United Gen. Title Ins. Co. v. Casey Title, Ltd., 01-600, p. 8 (La.App. 5 Cir. 10/30/01), 800 So.2d 1061, 1065, and citing Domingue v. ABC Corp., 96-1224 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/26/96), 682 So.2d 246, 248).[7]

         Construing La. C.C.P. art. 531, the jurisprudence has required that an exception of lis pendens must satisfy the following three elements:

1. Two or more pending suits;
2. The pending suits involve the same transaction or occurrence; and
3. The pending suits involve the same parties in the same ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.