Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court Nos. 2016-1261 and
2016-3536 Honorable J. Wilson Rambo, Judge
& NWOKORIE, LLC By: Anselm N. Nwokorie Counsel for
Appellant Samuel Owojori, Individually and OBO Jeremiah
Oladimeji Owojori (Deceased) and Ezekiel Owojori (Deceased)
& NWOKORIE, LLC By: Brian G. Smith Counsel for Appellee
Princeton S. Vallo, Individually and OBO Prince Isaiah Holley
GARLAND SMITH & ASSOCIATES By: Sarah M. Smith J. Garland
Smith Counsel for Appellee Albert Myles, Individually and OBO
Jalynn Faith Myles
MUSGRAVE, McLACHLAN & PENN, LLC By: R. Todd Musgrave
Amanda H. Aucoin Counsel for Appellee Gary M. Howell,
Individually and as Sole Member of GMH Housing, LLC
GARRETT, STEPHENS, and McCALLUM, JJ.
tragic case, Samuel Owojori appeals a judgment sustaining an
exception of no right of action and dismissing his claims
related to the deaths of his son and grandson.
Wilkins Owojori and Jeremiah Owojori were husband and wife.
They had one child, Ezekiel Owojori, who was a minor. Ashley
had two minor children, Jalynn Faith Myles and Prince Isiah
Halley-Vallo, from prior relationships. Albert Myles is the
father of Jalynn. Princeton Vallo is the father of Prince.
night of January 24, 2016, a fire caused by faulty wiring
occurred at an apartment owned by GMH Housing, LLC, and
occupied by Ashley, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Prince. All four
suffered severe injuries from smoke inhalation and eventually
died from their injuries
April 20, 2016, Albert Myles, who had custody of Jalynn,
filed a wrongful death suit on her behalf against XYZ
Insurance Company and Gary Howell, who was GMH's agent.
Albert asserted that Jalynn was Ashley's only living
descendant. Albert later amended his petition to make GMH
Housing a defendant.
separate suit number, Princeton Vallo, individually and on
behalf of his late son Prince, filed suit against GMH,
Howell, and XYZ Insurance on November 22, 2016. The petition
was amended on February 22, 2017, to add Samuel Owojori,
Jeremiah's father, as a plaintiff to recover damages for
the deaths of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
August 31, 2017, Albert amended his petition to allege that
Jalynn was the sole surviving sibling of Ezekiel and,
therefore, was the proper person to bring an action seeking
wrongful death and survival damages resulting from
lawsuits were consolidated on September 1, 2017.
January 12, 2018, Samuel filed an exception of no right of
action against the claims in Albert's amended petition.
He argued that Jaylynn had no right of action for a wrongful
death or survival claim related to Ezekiel's death. He
contended that Ezekiel died at 4:11 p.m. on January 26, and
that Jeremiah died at 12:28 p.m. on the following
Samuel maintained that because Jeremiah survived Ezekiel,
Jeremiah acquired the right to bring a survival action and a
wrongful death action related to Ezekiel's death, and
this right passed to Samuel by inheritance when Jeremiah
January 18, 2018, Albert filed an exception of no right of
action. He asserted that Samuel was not the proper party to
bring claims on behalf of either Jeremiah or Ezekiel because
Ashley was the last of the four victims to die. In his
memorandum in support of the exception, Albert operated under
the assumption that Ezekiel predeceased Jeremiah. Albert
argued that once Jeremiah died, Ashley acquired not only the
right to assert any survival and wrongful death actions on
his behalf, but also any claims that passed to him as the
father of Ezekiel. He further maintained that upon
Ashley's death, Jalynn, as Ashley's only surviving
child, would have acquired the right to assert all claims
belonging to Ashley.
on the exceptions
hearing on the exceptions of no right of action was held on
January 24, 2018. At the hearing, Albert introduced copies of
the death certificates of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Ashley.
Samuel objected to the introduction of Ezekiel's and
Ashley's death certificates on the grounds that they were
not certified. His objection was overruled.
death certificate showed that he died at 1:34 p.m. on January
26, 2016. Ezekiel's death certificate lists January 28,
2016, as his date of death. Ashley's date of death is
listed as January 29, 2016, on her death certificate.
introduced excerpts from Ezekiel's and Jeremiah's
medical records at the hearing. Jeremiah's discharge
summary states that he was declared brain dead at 11:30 a.m.
on January 25, and that he was disconnected from the
ventilator and had no pulse at 12:28 p.m. on January 27. A
consultation note from January 26 states that Jeremiah was
assessed for brain death ...