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Succession of Savoie v. Carmouche

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

March 7, 2019

SUCCESSION OF HAZEL R. SAVOIE AND RICHARD MICHAEL SAVOIE
v.
JOHN H. CARMOUCHE, ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CALCASIEU, NO. 2017-4633 HONORABLE G. MICHAEL CANADAY, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Lawrence N. Curtis, Esq. Lawrence N. Curtis, LTD. A Professional Law Corporation COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Succession of Hazel R. Savoie Richard Michael Savoie

          Hunter W. Lundy T. Houston Middleton, IV Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South LLP COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Mudd & Bruchhaus, L.L.C. Chad E. Mudd, Individually

          Donald T. Carmouche Victor L. Marcello John H. Carmouche William R. Coenen, III Brian T. Carmouche Todd J. Wimberley Ross J. Donnes D. Adele Owen Leah C. Poole Caroline H. Martin Christopher D. Martin Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello John H. Carmouche

          Stephen C. Dwight Jamie C. Gary Dwight & Gary, LLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello John Hogarth Carmouche

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, Phyllis M. Keaty, and John E. Conery, Judges.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE.

         This is a case pertaining to peremption under La.R.S. 9:5605. The clients signed four settlement agreements, the last of which was signed on May 7, 2015. They filed suit against the attorneys on November 9, 2017. The attorneys filed for and were granted a Peremptory Exception of Prescription and/or Peremption. The clients appeal.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

         Chad E. Mudd and the law firm of Mudd & Bruchhaus, L.L.C. were hired by the late Hazel R. Savoie and Richard Michael Savoie to represent them concerning a claim for damages to property they owned in Cameron Parish caused by certain oilfield operations in 2007. The contract between them had a contingency fee agreement of thirty-three and one third percent of the amount recovered. Thereafter, Mudd & Bruchhaus associated with John H. Carmouche and the law firm of Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello, A.P.L.C. on these claims (hereafter all attorneys will be referred to as "Defendants").

         On August 24, 2007, suit was filed on behalf of the Savoies (hereafter "Appellants"). On November 7, 2011, the suit proceeded to a four week-long trial by jury. A verdict was returned on December 1, 2011, in favor of Appellants. While the judgment was held in abeyance due to statutory law, in March 2012, the parties entered into a new attorney-client contract wherein the contingency fees were adjusted to be forty percent.

         Over the next few years, Appellants reached settlement regarding their claims on four different dates. The proceeds of those settlements were disbursed by Defendants to Appellants under the terms of the second attorney/client contract wherein Defendants retained forty percent of the settlement proceeds as attorney's fees. The date of the last disbursement signed by the Appellants was May 7, 2015.

         On November 9, 2017, Appellants filed suit against Defendants stemming from Defendants' representation of them and, specifically, as to the amount Defendants retained as attorney's fees. Defendants filed a Peremptory Exception of Prescription and/or Peremption on January 3, 2018.

         On May 8, 2018, the trial court heard Defendants' exception. On May 24, 2018, the trial court ruled that Appellants' claims against Defendants were legally barred under La.R.S. 9:5605. Appellants appeal, alleging seven assignments of error.

         ASSIGNMENTS ...


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