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East v. Capdevielle

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

March 7, 2019

CHAD EAST AND CRYSTAL EAST
v.
JOHN J. CAPDEVIELLE, ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CALCASIEU, NO. 2017-4939 HONORABLE DAVID A. RITCHIE, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          Billy E. Loftin, Jr., Brian M. Bradford, Loftin, Cain & LeBlanc, L.L.C., Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellees: Chad East, Crystal East.

          Tammy L. Clary, Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser, P.C., Counsel for Defendant/Appellee: RLI Insurance Company.

          Jennifer A. Fiore, Dunlap Fiore, LLC, Counsel for Defendants/Appellants: John J. Capdevielle, Patricia Capdevielle, John J. Capdevielle, II, Architect, LLC.

          H. Minor Pipes, III John W. Joyce, Barrasso, Usdin, Kupperman, Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C., Counsel for Defendant/Appellant: Ohio Security Insurance. Company.

          Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, John D. Saunders, and D. Kent Savoie, Judges.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS, JUDGE.

         The issue presented in this case is whether the evidence introduced by Plaintiffs against an insurance carrier to confirm a default judgment was sufficient to establish a prima facie showing of liability coverage. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the confirmation of default and vacate the judgment against the insurance carrier.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

         In this breach of contract case, Appellees, Chad and Crystal East, ("Easts") sued their architect, Appellee, John J. Capdeville, II, his firm, and his wife, for failing to produce appropriate architectural plans that they contend they paid for. The Easts also sued Ohio Security Insurance Company ("OSIC"), which allegedly issued a commercial general liability policy to the architect, and RLI Insurance Company, which allegedly issued a professional liability policy to the architect and his firm. OSIC did not file responsive pleadings.

         On March 6, 2018, the Easts obtained a preliminary default against OSIC. The default was confirmed on March 13, 2018. In confirming the default, the Easts submitted proof of insurance, rather than the OSIC policy, to support a prima facie showing of liability coverage. It is from this judgment that OSIC appeals.

         DISCUSSION OF THE MERITS:

         In its sole assignment of error, OSIC argues that the trial court erred in confirming the default judgment because the Easts did not establish their prima facie case with respect to insurance coverage because they did not submit the OSIC policy into evidence at the confirmation hearing. We agree.

         An appellate court reviews default judgments under the manifest error standard of review. Arias v. Stolthaven New Orleans, L.L.C. 08-1111 (La. 5/5/09), 9 So.3d 815. In performing that review, the appellate court is restricted to determining ...


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