FROM ST. BERNARD 34TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT NO. 14-1484,
DIVISION "D" Honorable Kirk A. Vaughn, Judge
Stephen S. Kreller Katie M. Cusimano THE KRELLER LAW FIRM and
William L. Roberts Jonathan W. Dettmann Evelyn Levine FAEBRE
BAKER DANIELS LLP COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT
C. Clotworthy Daniel J. Dysart Christopher M. Hannan Roy C.
Cheatwood BAKER, DONELSON, BEARMAN, CALDWELL & BERKOWITZ,
PC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Joy Cossich
Lobrano, Judge Tiffany G. Chase
L. Belsome, Judge.
damages suit, the Plaintiff, Wade White, appeals the trial
court's granting of summary judgment in favor of the
Defendant, Cox Operating, LLC, on both the principal and
reconventional demands. The trial court found that Cox's
tortious infringement onto Mr. White's oyster lease was
covered by a compromise agreement; therefore, it dismissed
Mr. White's claims on the principal demand and awarded
Cox indemnity and defense costs on its reconventional demand.
For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
instant litigation was the subject of a previous appeal to
this Court, wherein we summarized the factual and procedural
background as follows:
Wade White, a lifetime oysterman, is the owner of multiple
oyster leases. Cox Operating, LLC ("Cox") entered
into a "Receipt and Release" for $100, 000 with Mr.
White in 2000, when Cox began drilling wells near some of his
oyster leases. Subsequently, Cox sought to drill more
wells near Mr. White's leases. In 2012, Cox negotiated
another drilling release [Letter Agreement] with Mr. White
for $175, 000.
Around April 1, 2012, Mr. White discovered Cox's pilings
driven into his oyster leases and water traffic that differed
from the agreed upon routes on ingress/egress. Mr. White then
contacted Cox, who allegedly admitted the error and promised
payment for damages. Cox removed the pilings and then
continued following the previous agreed upon ingress/egress
routes. Cox later maintained that the executed drilling
releases covered any damages caused by the pilings and extra
Mr. White then filed a Petition for Damages against Cox due
to the pilings. Cox filed a reconventional demand for breach
of contract of settlement/compromise, declaratory judgment,
and attorney's fees/costs. Cox also filed peremptory
exceptions of res judicata and no right of action and sought
expedited consideration from the trial court. The trial court
heard oral argument, but did not accept live testimony or
evidence. After taking the matter under advisement, the trial
court granted Cox's exception of res judicata and denied
the exception of no right of action.
White v. Cox Operating, LLC, 16-0901, pp. 1-2
(La.App. 4 Cir. 4/5/17), 229 So.3d 534, 536.
prior appeal, this Court reversed the trial court's
judgment granting the exception of res judicata and remanded
the matter for an evidentiary hearing. On remand, Cox filed
two motions for summary judgment, one on Mr. White's
principal claims, and another on its reconventional demand.
After a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment in
favor of Cox, dismissing Mr. White's lawsuit with
prejudice and awarding Cox indemnity and defense on its
breach of contract claim. The trial court deferred judgment
on quantum and attorney's fees. This appeal followed.