Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for
the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 151837
Honorable R. Lane Pittard, Judge
D. WHITE Counsel for Appellant
L. WHITE Counsel for Appellees
PITMAN, STEPHENS, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.
BLEICH, J. (PRO TEMPORE)
Inez Marie Prueitt Madden, filed a petition seeking to annul
an inter vivos donation of immovable property she
executed in favor of her son and daughter-in-law. She has
appealed from the adverse judgment rendered by the trial
court. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Inez Madden, is a widow in her mid-70s. Her first marriage
was to Odell Crawford in 1960. They had a son, Robert
Crawford, in 1961, and the marriage ended in divorce shortly
thereafter. Plaintiff's second marriage was in 1964 to
Donald Ray Madden. Together they had two children: Hope
Madden Roussett, who currently lives in Texas, and Kathleen
Madden, who predeceased both of her parents in 1976. Mr.
Madden died in 2008. Mrs. Madden was placed in possession of
a 1/2 interest in the immovable property obtained by the
couple during the marriage,  and Hope was placed in possession
of the other 1/2 interest, which she thereafter donated to
2014, Robert Crawford and his future wife Cynthia
("Sandy") moved to Louisiana from Texas to take
care of Mrs. Madden and the property. With Mrs. Madden's
consent and permission, Robert and Sandy moved onto the
property and lived in the house located on the property with
her until they could move into a mobile home on the
property. According to Defendants, Robert and Sandy
Crawford, since they have lived on the property, they have
continuously maintained the grounds. Mrs. Madden testified
that Robert and Sandy helped her keep up the property. The
Crawfords testified that they have also paid the property
taxes, as well as utility bills, and spent money for
"home improvements" to the property, all with Mrs.
Madden's consent. According to all parties, prior to the
instant suit, they and Mrs. Madden made decisions together
about the property, and everyone "got along."
further assert that, in return for their moving onto the
property to help and provide support in the care of Mrs.
Madden, she agreed to donate the property to them. According
to Defendants, they all met with attorney Gray Kitchens for
Mrs. Madden to explain what she wanted. Kitchens explained to
Mrs. Madden the consequences of the inter vivos
donation and suggested that she retain a lifetime usufruct
for herself.Plaintiff and Defendants went a second time
to Attorney Kitchens' office to execute the donation and
other estate planning documents on July 26, 2016. At that
time, attorney Richard Ray met with the parties and notarized
the donation, which was witnessed by a third attorney,
Spencer Hays, and the law firm's secretary, Lindsay Hill.
to Mrs. Madden, the incident that prompted the instant
litigation was her receipt of correspondence from the Bossier
Parish Tax Assessor which indicated that her son Robert was
the owner of the property. Mrs. Madden consulted with her
daughter Hope and her close friend Judy McKenzie. After Hope
failed in an attempt to have Robert and Sandy return the
property, Mrs. Madden filed a petition to annul the inter
vivos donation on December 22, 2016. Defendants filed an
answer and reconventional demand to recover the amounts they
spent to improve and maintain the property in the event the
donation was annulled. Mrs. Madden filed several amending and
supplemental petitions, as well as exceptions of prematurity
and no cause of action. Mrs. Madden sought annulment of the
donation as a donation omnium bonorum; on the basis
of fraud/duress; and, for lack of donative capacity.
Defendants amended their answer each time an amending and
supplemental petition was filed. Defendants sought recovery
under detrimental reliance/unjust enrichment theories.
was held April 17-18, 2018. The trial court rendered judgment
in favor of Robert and Sandy Crawford and dismissed Mrs.
Madden's action to annul, based upon its findings that
Mrs. Madden knew what she was doing at the time the donation
inter vivos was executed, and she only filed the
action to annul because she regretted signing the donation.
Plaintiff has appealed this adverse decision.
appeal, Mrs. Madden has asserted several assignments of
error. According to Plaintiff, the trial court ...