ROCHUNDRA GARRISON, ET AL. Plaintiffs-Appellants
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, ET AL. Defendants-Appellees
Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Morehouse, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2014-486
Honorable Wilson Rambo, Judge.
ANTHONY J. BRUSCATO, Counsel for Appellant, Sam Winston, Jr.
DOUGLAS WHEELER, Counsel for Appellee, State Farm Fire and
L. ALLEN, Counsel for Appellee, Duane T. Lucky, Jr.
MOORE, COX, and BLEICH (Ad Hoc), JJ.
BLEICH, J. (AD HOC)
Sam Winston, Jr.,  has appealed from the trial court's
judgment in favor of Defendants, Duane Lucky, Jr., and his
notary bond surety, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company,
dismissing with prejudice all of Plaintiff's claims
against Defendants. For the reasons set forth below, we
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
the second time that this case has been before this Court.
Some of the underlying facts and initial procedural history
are taken from Garrison v. State Farm Fire and Casualty
Co., 51, 245 (La.App. 2 Cir. 04/05/17), 217 So.3d 586,
Sam Winston, Jr. ("Winston"), was the owner of a
2004 Buick LeSabre. Winston lived with his adult daughter,
Rochundra Garrison [("Garrison")], and her children
at a residence in Bastrop. Winston allowed Garrison to drive
the vehicle, but he remained the title owner. The title
documents were kept in the vehicle. The car developed a hole
in the radiator and overheated when operated. Garrison
contacted her friend, Clarence Hollins
[("Hollins")], a mechanic at Ray's Auto World
("Ray's Auto"), a used car lot in Bastrop, and
he agreed to repair the car. Ray Waller
[("Waller")] was the owner of Ray's Auto. The
vehicle was then towed to the Ray's Auto lot, where it
remained for several weeks. When Garrison returned to ask
about the repairs, Hollins told her that the car had been
sold by Waller.
The chain of title shows a sale of the 2004 Buick on October
15, 2013, from Winston to Waller, with Winston's
signature witnessed by Duane Lucky, Jr. ("Lucky"),
as notary. Then, on November 23, 2013, Waller sold the car to
Mary Palmer, with Lucky again witnessing the signatures as
notary. Winston denied signing the bill of sale or title. The
plaintiffs, Winston and Garrison, filed a lawsuit against
Waller for conversion and obtained a judgment against him.
The plaintiffs then filed a petition against Lucky and State
Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm"),
which had issued a notary bond for Lucky, alleging that he
had facilitated the conversion by notarizing the sale
documents without confirming the identity of the person
purporting to sign as Winston. The plaintiffs obtained an
affidavit from Waller, who stated that he had taken the sale
documents for the 2004 Buick to Lucky's office so that he
"would notarize" the documents with his signature.
Waller testified that he did not sign Lucky's name as
In his deposition, Lucky denied signing the documents as
notary and asserted that his name was also forged. Lucky
testified that after receiving a letter from plaintiffs'
attorney regarding the forged signatures, he confronted
Waller, who admitted that he had forged Lucky's name to
the title and bill of sale. Lucky stated that he had done
prior notary work for Waller and other used car dealers.
Lucky acknowledged that he routinely notarized the signature
of the dealer, as the vehicle seller, without requiring the
seller to appear and sign before him.
filed a motion for summary judgment based on Lucky's
deposition testimony that he had not signed the documents. In
opposition, Plaintiffs submitted the Waller affidavit.
Thereafter, Lucky's attorney obtained a second affidavit
from Waller in which he stated that he signed Lucky's
name on the bill of sale and title transferring ownership of
Winston's vehicle. A hearing was held and the trial
court, inter alia, granted Defendants' motion
for summary judgment which was reversed by this Court in
remand, trial was held on February 12, 2018, on the exception
of prescription, the main demand against Defendants, and a
reconventional demand for defamation filed by Lucky. The
trial court, finding that Winston's claim against
Defendants had not prescribed, denied the exception of
prescription. The trial court then found that Winston failed
to prove that Lucky signed the disputed documents and
rendered judgment in Defendants' favor, dismissing with
prejudice Plaintiff's claims against them. The trial
court likewise found that Lucky did not establish his claim
against Winston and rendered judgment in favor ...