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Moreau Services, LLC v. Pilot Travel Centers, LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

January 4, 2019

MOREAU SERVICES, LLC; QUINCY MOREAU; AND DELAINA MOREAU
v.
PILOT TRAVEL CENTERS, LLC; SCOTT MOORE; A. PHELPS PETROLEUM OF NORTHWEST FLORIDA, INC.; AND ALVIN PHELPS

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 767-138, DIVISION "K" HONORABLE ELLEN SHIRER KOVACH, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, MOREAU SERVICES, LLC; QUINCY MOREAU; AND DELAINA MOREAU Joshua D. Allison Robert B. Evans, III Nicholas A. Holton

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, PILOT TRAVEL CENTERS, LLC; SCOTT MOORE Thomas J. Cortazzo Karen M. Dicke James V. King, III

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, A. PHELPS PETROLEUM OF NORTHWEST FLORIDA, INC.; AND ALVIN PHELPS Keely Y. Scott Leigh F. Groves Autumn M. Coe

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg Wicker, and Robert A. Chaisson

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON JUDGE.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On December 5, 2016, Quincy and Delaina Moreau ("Mr. and Mrs. Moreau") and Moreau Services, LLC ("Moreau Services") filed a Petition for Damages Caused by Unfair Trade Practices, Conspiracy, and Fraud naming as defendants Pilot Travel Centers, LLC ("Pilot"), Scott Moore, A. Phelps Petroleum of Northwest Florida, Inc. ("Phelps Petroleum"), and Alvin Phelps. In their petition, plaintiffs alleged that defendants made misrepresentations to them in connection with hiring Moreau Services as a subcontractor to perform service-related work regulated by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality ("DEQ") from approximately August 2015 to February 2016.

         On April 5, 2017, Pilot and Mr. Moore jointly filed peremptory exceptions of no cause of action and no right of action in which they argued, inter alia, that Mr. and Mrs. Moreau have no individual rights of action against them because all of the alleged conduct, including the contract for DEQ service work, was on behalf of their company, Moreau Services. On July 7, 2017, the trial court rendered judgment sustaining these exceptions, but allowed plaintiffs 15 days from the date of the judgment to file an amended petition.

         On July 21, 2017, plaintiffs filed an amended petition. Pilot and Mr. Moore thereafter re-urged their peremptory exceptions of no cause of action and no right of action. Phelps Petroleum and Mr. Phelps also filed peremptory exceptions of no cause of action and no right of action in response to plaintiffs' amended petition.

         On October 11, 2017, the trial court heard the peremptory exceptions filed by Pilot and Mr. Moore, but not the exceptions filed by Phelps Petroleum and Mr. Phelps. Thereafter, on October 24, 2017, the trial court issued a judgment overruling the exception of no cause of action, sustaining the exception of no right of action, and dismissing with prejudice all of the individual claims of Mr. and Mrs. Moreau against Pilot and Mr. Moore. Plaintiffs filed a timely motion for new trial which was denied by the trial court in a judgment issued January 26, 2018. It is from these judgments that plaintiffs filed their first appeal, which was docketed in this Court as No. 18-CA-174.

         On November 17, 2017, Pilot and Mr. Moore filed an answer to plaintiffs' amended petition in which they denied plaintiffs' allegations, asserted affirmative defenses, and raised new exceptions. Additionally, more than a year after the alleged transactions in late 2015 and early 2016, and more than 90 days since service of the amended petition, Pilot and Mr. Moore asserted demands in reconvention against Mr. and Mrs. Moreau for fraudulent misrepresentation and against Moreau Services for breach of contract.

         On April 9, 2018, the trial court heard the peremptory exceptions filed by Phelps Petroleum and Mr. Phelps. Thereafter, on May 9, 2018, the trial court issued a judgment overruling the exception of no cause of action, sustaining the exception of no right of action, and dismissing with prejudice all of the individual claims of Mr. and Mrs. Moreau against Phelps Petroleum and Mr. Phelps. It is from this judgment that plaintiffs filed their second appeal, which was docketed in this Court as No. 18-CA-340.

         On July 2, 2018, appellants filed a motion to consolidate the appeals, which was ...


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