FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. 20162808 HONORABLE EDWARD B. BROUSSARD,
Christopher J. Piasecki Jordan T. Precht Davidson, Meaux,
Sonnier, McElligot, Fontenot, Gideon & Edwards COUNSEL
FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: J.P. Market Management, LLC Motor
City Jean Paul Guidry
Charlotte M. Washington Washington Law Office, LLC COUNSEL
FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Courtney Marks
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and
Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE
plaintiff-appellant, Courtney Marks, appeals the trial
court's judgment in her favor relating to the
repossession of a vehicle she purchased from the defendants
for failure to award treble damages under the Louisiana
Unfair Trade Practices Act (LUTPA). The
defendants-appellants, J.P. Market Management, LLC d/b/a/
Motor City (Motor City) and Jean Paul Guidry (Guidry) also
appeal the award to Marks. For the following reasons, we
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
trial court accurately summed up the following undisputed
facts in its written reasons for judgment:
Courtney Marks brought this action to recover damages for the
wrongful repossession of a 2009 Acura Automobile that she
purchased from J.P. Market Management, L.L.C., d/b/a Motor
City (hereinafter referred to as "Motor City").
Plaintiff purchased the vehicle on March 15, 2016 for the sum
of $13, 990.00, which she satisfied by trading in a 2007 BMW
automobile valued at $6, 500.00 (less a payoff balance of $1,
515.83), making a $2, 500.00 cash down payment, and executing
a Retail Installment Contract and Security Agreement for the
balance (including taxes and fees) of $7, 484.47. The
installment contract was subsequently assigned by Motor City
to Westlake Financial Services.
Under the terms of the installment contract, plaintiff was to
make 36 monthly payments of $294.90 beginning on April 14,
2016. However, plaintiff did not submit any payment until May
16, 2016, the day after the second payment was due. On that
date, she tendered a personal check in the amount of $604.55
to Westlake Financial Services, but the check was
subsequently returned by her bank due to insufficient funds
in her account. On May 16, 2016, Westlake Financial Services
re-assigned the installment contract to Motor City.
Motor City engaged the services of Hazelwood Towing/Recovery
& Investigative Services, L.L.C. to repossess the 2009
Acura. On May 19, 2016, Chad Hazelwood, appeared at
plaintiff's residence to take possession of the vehicle.
Upon learning of his intent, plaintiff facilitated a
telephone conversation between Chad Hazelwood and her
attorney, Peggy Garris . . . Chad Hazelwood called Jean Paul
Guidry, a member of J.P. Market Management, L.LC., to inform
him of Ms. Garris' statements and ascertain whether he
wanted to go through with the repossession. Mr. Guidry
instructed Mr. Hazelwood to tow the vehicle, and he did so
after plaintiff had removed her personal possessions.
Plaintiff declined to sign a form presented by Chad Hazelwood
indicating that she was voluntarily surrendering the vehicle.
filed a petition for damages in May 2016. Marks subsequently
filed several motions for summary judgment which were denied
by the trial court because it found there was a genuine issue
of fact whether Marks protested the repossession. Following a
trial in March 2018, the trial court found that Marks did
protest the repossession resulting in a "breach of the
peace," and an illegal repossession occurred based on
the notion that extrajudicial repossession can only occur if
there is no breach of the peace pursuant to La.R.S. 6:966(B).
The trial court awarded Marks $12, 734.07, which included the
value of her trade-in less the balance she owed ($4, 984.07),
her cash down payment ($2, 500.00), $500.00 in general
damages, $2, 250.00 for lost wages, and $2, 500.00 for
attorney fees, but found that she was not entitled to treble
damages pursuant to La.R.S. 51:1409. Marks appealed. Motor
City and Guidry answered the appeal and also assign errors.
Marks assigns as error:
1.The trial court erred in ruling that Courtney Marks was not
entitled to treble damages under LUTPA.
2.The trial court erred in ruling that the Attorney General
was not put on notice.
3.The trial court erred in ruling that Motor City was
required notice before the [sic] engaging in the acts
complained of by Marks.
4.The trial court erred in casting the cost to [sic] the two
motions for summary judgment to Courtney Marks.
5.The trial court erred in awarding $2, 500.00 in attorney
6.The trial court erred in not awarding cost[s] to the