APPLICATION FOR SUPERVISORY WRITS FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL
DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 2010-0237 HONORABLE
THOMAS R. DUPLANTIER, DISTRICT JUDGE
C. Giglio, Jr. William E. Kellner Liskow & Lewis, APLC
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPLICANTS: Warren A. Perrin Gerald C.
deLaunay Donald Landry
H. Russell, III Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT: Scott A. Dartez, APLC
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and D.
Kent Savoie, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE.
the trial court's denial of their exceptions of no cause
of action, improper joinder of parties, and improper use of
summary proceedings, Applicants, Warren Perrin, Donald
Landry, and Gerald deLaunay, seek supervisory relief. For the
reasons that follow, we grant Applicants' request for
relief and make it peremptory.
underlying suit captioned above is an environmental-damages
suit which has been completely settled between the parties.
The plaintiff in the underlying action had been represented
by several attorneys, including Respondent, Scott A. Dartez,
APLC. Mr. Dartez had been in a law partnership known as
Perrin, Landry, deLaunay, Dartez & Ouellet (the Firm),
but he and another attorney left the Firm. The parties to the
partnership entered into a Partnership Termination Agreement.
Pursuant to the settlements reached in the underlying suit,
$900, 000.00 is to be paid to the former members of the Firm.
Dartez filed a Motion for Division of Attorney's Fees by
Summary Proceeding within the underlying suit, even though
all claims from the original action had been dismissed
through the settlements. In this motion, Mr. Dartez averred
that the termination agreement "would mandate that the
fees be divided as follows. Nine percent to Mr. Perrin, nine
percent to Mr. Landry, nine percent to Mr. Delaunay [sic],
and nine percent to Mr. Ouellet. This leaves a remainder of
sixty-four percent to go to Mr. Dartez." The motion
concludes, "WHEREFORE, SCOTT A. DARTEZ, APLC[, ] prays
that the former members of his firm, WARREN PERRIN, DONALD
LANDRY, AND GERALD DELAUNAY be served with this motion and
that the Court set a hearing on a 'Rule Docket' for
the resolution of this matter." As stated above,
Applicants filed the exceptions of no cause of action, lack
of subject matter jurisdiction and improper joinder, and
improper use of summary proceedings. Following a hearing on
these exceptions, the trial court denied them. Applicants
then filed a notice of intent to seek supervisory relief,
followed by their application.
exception of unauthorized use of summary proceeding
first argument advanced by Applicants is that summary
proceedings are inappropriate for disposition of the issues
being raised by Respondent's motion. Applicants point out
that in order to divide the attorney fees, the trial court
must interpret and apply the provisions of the termination
agreement. Furthermore, Applicants observe that Respondent
seeks a declaratory judgment in his motion. Applicants posit
that declaratory judgment actions are by ordinary
proceedings, not summary proceedings. Citing La.Code Civ.P.
art. 2592, Applicants assert that this article provides an
exclusive list of matters which can be tried by summary
proceedings, and this motion does not fit within those
limited categories. Therefore, Applicants ask that this court
reverse the trial court's denial of the exception of
improper use of summary proceedings and enter judgment
granting this exception.
transcript of the hearing on Applicants' exceptions is
provided to this court as an exhibit to the writ application.
During the discussions between counsel and the trial court,
the trial court expressed concern over the fact that in a
prior meeting in chambers, the trial court had been under the
impression that Applicants had filed or were going to file an
action to decide the appropriate interpretation of the