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Doucet v. Hornet Service Co.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

May 22, 2019

KELLY DOUCET, MICHAEL CEASAR AND BRITTANY LACOMBE
v.
HORNET SERVICE COMPANY, ET AL.

          SUPERVISORY WRIT FROM THE THIRTY-FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON DAVIS, NO. C-010714 HONORABLE C. STEVE GUNNELL, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          KENNETH ALFRED DOGGETT ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/RESPONDENTS: KELLY DOUCET BRITTANY LACOMBE

          MICHAEL J. REMONDET, JR. JULIETTE BUSBY WADE JEANSONNE & REMONDET COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/RESPONDENTS: COLONY INSURANCE COMPANY KENNETH DEMARY HORNET SERVICE COMPANY

          PATRICK DANIEL RACHEL MARTIN DECKELMANN DANIEL & ASSOCIATES COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPLICANT: MICHAEL CEASAR

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, John E. Conery, and Van H. Kyzar, Judges.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE.

         Relator, Michael Ceasar, seeks supervisory writs from the judgment of the Thirty-First Judicial District Court, Parish of Jefferson Davis, the Honorable C. Steve Gunnel, presiding, which denied Relator's motion for reduction of estimated appeal costs.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         This case arises out of an automobile accident which occurred on March 5, 2013, in a parking lot at a pawn shop in Jennings, Louisiana. Relator and his co-plaintiffs, Kelly Doucet ("Doucet") and Brittany Lacombe ("Lacombe"), filed the instant personal injury lawsuit against Kenneth DeMary ("DeMary"); his employer, Hornet Service Company, L.L.C. ("Hornet"); and Hornet's insurer, Colony Insurance Company. At the time of the accident, Relator was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by Doucet when that vehicle collided with a vehicle that DeMary was driving and backing out of a parking space. Relator's claims were tried by a jury on August 20-24, 2018. Simultaneous with Relator's jury trial, a joint bench trial was held for the claims of Doucet and Lacombe. With regard to the jury trial of Relator's claims, the jury returned a verdict finding no negligence on the part of either driver and awarding no damages to Relator. With regard to the bench trial of the claims of Doucet and Lacombe, the trial judge found: 1) that the two drivers (Doucet and DeMary) were each 50 percent at fault for the accident; 2) that Doucet and Lacombe had not suffered any damages as a result of the accident; and 3) that DeMary was not acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident.

         Relator filed several post-trial motions, including a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, motion for new trial, and motion to vacate judgment. The trial court denied those motions. Also, Defendants filed a motion to tax costs pursuant to La.Code Civ.P. art. 970. Additionally, Defendants filed a motion to traverse Relator's pauper status on the ground that Relator had abused the integrity of the judicial process with excessive frivolous pleadings which had resulted in excessive court costs and defense costs. The trial court granted that motion to traverse, and Relator's pauper status was revoked. Doucet and Lacombe retained their pauper status. Relator filed a motion for reconsideration of the ruling revoking his pauper status and that matter was scheduled to be heard on April 9, 2019. However, on April 8, 2019, Relator withdrew his motion for reconsideration.

         Meanwhile, with regard to the final judgments which had been rendered on the merits of the case, Relator filed a motion for appeal and his co-plaintiffs (Doucet and Lacombe) also filed a joint motion for appeal.

         By the instant writ application, Relator seeks to have this court reverse a judgment denying a motion for reduction of appeal costs which Relator had filed pursuant to La.Code Civ.P. art. 2126(C). The estimated appeal costs total $56, 225.50.

         "The proper procedural vehicle to seek review of an interlocutory judgment that is not immediately appealable is an application for supervisory writ." Johno v. Doe, 16-0200, p. 4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 8/17/16), 198 So.3d 1216, 1218 (citations omitted).

         ON ...


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