CARL C. BROWN, JR., ET AL.
KABCO BUILDERS, INC., ET AL.
FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO.
253, 243 HONORABLE MONIQUE F. RAULS, DISTRICT JUDGE
A. Pharis Pharis Law Offices COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT:
Helen M. Brown Jacqueline B. Hall Estate of Carl B. Brown,
P. Domingue Voorhies & Labbé COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Kabco Builders, Inc.
Herrin Sidney W. Degan, III R. Edward Blanchard Brian W.
Harrell Degan, Blanchard & Nash, APLC COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Bolton Mfd. Homes, Inc.
composed of John D. Saunders, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Van
H. Kyzar, Judges.
ELIZABETH A. PICKETT JUDGE
home purchasers appeal the trial court's judgment
vacating an arbitration award in their favor and granting the
mobile home seller's and manufacturer's exceptions of
peremption with regard to their one-year and two-year
warranty claims. As discussed below, we reverse the trial
court's judgment and confirm the award in favor of the
April 2013, Carl Brown, Helen Brown, and Jackie
purchased a mobile home from Bolton Mfd. Homes, Inc. The
mobile home was manufactured by Kabco Builders, Inc. and
delivered and installed by Leesville Mobile Home Movers LLC.
Pursuant to Louisiana law and the Browns' sale documents,
their purchase of the mobile home is governed by the New
Manufactured and Modular Home Warranty Act (NMMHWA), La.R.S.
51:912.1-912.10. After the mobile home was delivered and
installed, the Browns noticed numerous deficiencies with the
construction of the home, including plumbing, flooring,
roofing, and the joinder of the two sections of the home at
the marriage line. The Browns attempted to address these
deficiencies by presenting their complaints to the Louisiana
Manufactured and Modular Housing Commission, as required by
the NMMHWA. La.R.S. 51:912.5. Some, but not all, of the issues
26, 2015, the Browns filed suit against Bolton, Kabco, and
Leesville. Bolton filed an answer generally denying the
Browns' allegations and pleading affirmative defenses,
including the fault of the plaintiffs and/or others and
failure to state a cause of action under the NMMHWA. Kabco
filed an exception of prematurity, asserting that the Browns
had signed an arbitration agreement when they purchased their
mobile home that required them to present their claims to an
arbitrator, not a court. Leesville never responded to the
Browns denied having agreed to arbitrate their claims against
Kabco, and Kabco's exception of prematurity was initially
denied. Thereafter, the Browns were provided documentation
evidencing their agreement to arbitrate their claims, and, in
accordance with the agreement, the parties unsuccessfully
attempted to mediate the Browns' complaints. The Browns
then initiated arbitration by filing a Demand for Arbitration
in which they named Bolton, Kabco, and Leesville as
defendants. The arbitrator conducted a hearing over the
course of two days in February and March 2018. On April 27,
2018, the arbitrator issued an award in favor of the Browns
in which he denied Bolton's and Kabco's claims that
the Browns' claims governed by one-year and two-year
warranties were perempted and awarded the Browns actual and
general damages, fees and expenses associated with the
arbitration that they had previously paid, attorney fees, and
legal interest to run from the date of the award. The
arbitrator also assessed administrative fees and expenses and
compensation and expenses of the arbitrator against the
Browns filed a rule to show cause to confirm the
arbitrator's award in the trial court. Bolton and Kabco
each filed a motion to vacate the arbitrator's award, a
peremptory exception of peremption, and a motion to
consolidate the hearings on the motions to vacate the
arbitrator's award. After conducting a hearing on the
parties' filings, the trial court denied the Browns'
rule to show cause to confirm the arbitrator's award and
granted Bolton's and Kabco's motions to vacate the
arbitrator's award. The trial court also granted
Bolton's and Kabco's exceptions of peremption with
regard to the Browns' one-year and two-year warranty
claims provided in La.R.S. 51:912.4(A)(1)-(2) and dismissed
those claims with prejudice. The trial court denied
Bolton's and Kabco's exceptions of peremption in all
other respects. On August 13, 2018, the trial court signed a
judgment in conformity with these rulings. On August 16,
2018, the Browns filed a motion for devolutive appeal.
Browns assign the following errors with the trial court's
1. The trial court erred in denying plaintiffs' motion to
confirm the award[.]
2. The trial court erred in vacating the arbitrator's
3. The trial court erred in acting as an appeal court, in
effect, for the arbitration and substituting its own
[judgment] on issues already consider[ed] and ruled on by the
4. The trial court erred in not signing a judgment in
accordance with the arbitrator's award, modifying or
correcting the award, or remanding the case to the arbitrator
for a clarification.
5. The trial court erred in failing to award additional
attorney fees for work done after the arbitration by
and Kabco urge that the Browns' appeal should be
dismissed because the trial court's judgment granting in
part and denying in part their exceptions of peremption is a
partial final judgment that can only be appealed if the
judgment has been designated a final judgment as provided in
La.Code Civ.P. art. 1915(B). La.Code Civ.P. art. 1911(B).
Pursuant to La.Code Civ.P. art. 1915(B)(1), a judgment that
"sustains an exception in part, as to one or more but
less than all of" a party's claims or demands
"shall not constitute a final ...