SANDRA B. BLANCHE Plaintiff-Appellant
BILLY VARNER - SHELTER DIRECTOR Defendant-Appellee
Appealed from the Monroe City Court for the Parish of
Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2018CV01998 Honorable
Jefferson Bryan Joyce, Judge
B. BLANCHE In Proper Person Appellant
BRADLEY S. BOURGEOIS Counsel for Appellee
WILLIAMS, PITMAN, and STEPHENS, JJ.
B. Blanche appeals a judgment by the Monroe City Court,
Parish of Ouachita, State of Louisiana, granting the
exception of no cause of action filed by the defendant, Billy
Varner in his capacity as director of the DeSiard Street
Homeless Shelter. Sandra Blanche, appearing in proper person,
appeals the trial court's judgment, which we affirm for
the following reasons.
filed suit against Billy Varner in his capacity as the
shelter director of the DeSiard Street Homeless Shelter. In
her sole allegation against Varner, Blanche claimed she was
turned away from the shelter on Friday, June 8, 2018.
According to Blanche, a homeless female, she had no place to
stay for shelter. Blanche alleged she was given no reason as
to why she was not allowed to stay at this homeless shelter,
but she was assigned work duty. In her petition, Blanche
sought damages in the amount of $5, 000.00.
response, Varner filed an exception of no cause of action,
arguing Blanche failed to state a cause of action which would
afford her a remedy by law or contract. Varner claimed the
DeSiard Street Homeless Shelter is a privately run,
charitable nonprofit entity. In his exception, he noted that
the shelter's services are generally available to persons
in need, but that the shelter is not obligated to provide
such services. Moreover, according to Varner, he had prior
experience with Blanche and reasonable grounds to refuse her
admittance into the shelter overnight.
hearing on the exception, Varner explained why he denied
Blanche overnight accommodations at the shelter. The trial
court noted that those reasons did not have "a whole lot
to do with what the exception is," but hoped it would
answer Blanche's question about why she had been denied
shelter. Ultimately finding that Blanche had failed to assert
a cause of action against Varner, a judgment was rendered
granting the exception. This appeal by Blanche ensued.
appeal, Blanche generally argues that the trial court erred
in granting Varner's exception, specifically maintaining
that the trial court did not allow her to present documents
in support of her claims. She argues that Varner denied her
shelter due to personal reasons, but provides no legal or
contractual support for her position.
by La. C.C.P. art. 927(A)(5), the peremptory exception of no
cause of action tests the legal sufficiency of the
plaintiff's petition by determining whether the law
affords a remedy on the facts alleged in the petition.
Scheffler v. Adams and Reese, LLP, 2006-1774 (La.
2/22/07), 950 So.2d 641; Gipson v. Fortune, 45, 021
(La.App. 2 Cir. 1/27/10), 30 So.3d 1076, writ
denied, 2010-0432 (La. 4/30/10), 34 So.3d 298. A
"cause of action," when used in the context of the
peremptory exception of no cause of action, refers to the
operative facts that give rise to the plaintiff's right
to judicially assert the action against the defendant.
White v. St. Elizabeth B.C. Bd. of Directors, 45,
213 (La.App. 2 Cir. 6/2/10), 37 So.3d 1139. The purpose of
the exception of no cause of action is not to determine
whether the plaintiff will prevail at trial, but is to
ascertain if a cause of action exists. Bogues v.
Louisiana Energy Consultants, Inc., 46, 434 (La.App. 2
Cir. 8/10/11), 71 So.3d 1128. The exception is triable on the
face of the petition, and for the purpose of determining the
issues raised by the exception, the well-pleaded facts in the
petition must be accepted as true. Fink v. Bryant,
2001-0987 (La. 11/28/01), 801 So.2d 346.
burden of demonstrating that the petition states no cause of
action is upon the mover. Wright v. Louisiana Power &
Light, 2006-1181 (La. 3/9/07), 951 So.2d 1058;
Scheffler, supra. All reasonable inferences are made
in favor of the nonmoving party in determining whether the
law affords any remedy to the plaintiff. Villareal v.
6494 Homes, LLC, 48, 302 (La.App. 2 Cir. 8/7/13), 121
So.3d 1246. Generally, no evidence may be introduced to
support or controvert the exception. However, a
jurisprudentially recognized ...