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Myles v. Howell

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

June 26, 2019

ALBERT MYLES O/B/O JALYNN FAITH MYLES Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
GARY HOWELL AND XYZ INSURANCE COMAPNY Defendants-Appellees PRINCETON S. VALLO, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF PRINCE ISAIAH HOLLEY (DECEASED) Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
GMH HOUSING, LLC; GARY M. HOWELL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SOLE MEMBER OF GMH HOUSING, LLC., AND XYZ INSURANCE COMPANY Defendants-Appellees

          Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 20161261 Honorable Wilson Rambo, Judge.

          SMITH & NWOKORIE BY: BRIAN G. SMITH COUNSEL FOR APPELLANTS, PRINCETON S. VALLO, INDIVIDUALLY, AND O/B/O PRINCE ISAIAH HOLLEY, (MINOR, DECEASED)

          J. GARLAND SMITH & ASSOCIATES BY: JAMES GARLAND SMITH SARAH MARIE SMITH COUNSEL FOR APPELLEES, ALBERT MYLES AND JALYNN FAITH MYLES (MINOR)

          SMITH & NWOKORIE BY: ANSELM NNAEMEKA NWOKORIE COUNSEL FOR APPELLEES, SAMUEL OWOJORI, JEREMIAH OLADIMEJI OWOJORI (DECEASED) AND EZEKIAL OWOJORI (DECEASED)

          MUSGRAVE, MCLACHLAN & PENN, LLC. BY: RICHARD TODD MUSGRAVE AMANDA HULING AUCOIN COUNSEL FOR APPELLEES, GARY M. HOWELL AND GMH HOUSING, LLC.

          Before PITMAN, STEPHENS, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          McCALLUM, J.

         Princeton Vallo appeals a judgment sustaining the exception of no right of action and dismissing his lawsuit related to the death of his minor son, Prince Isaiah Halley. The premise for the exception was that Mr. Vallo, who was incarcerated during Prince's entire life, did not care for or support him and, accordingly, had abandoned his son as contemplated by La. C.C. arts. 2315.1(E) and 2315.2(E).

         To put the issue differently, Mr. Vallo, with complete disregard of the future consequences, refused to circumscribe his own desires and entered into an act of procreation while facing a lengthy hard labor sentence. He does not believe that this behavior constitutes abandonment of the child who was born as a result. This court disagrees with his evaluation of the matter and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         FACTS

         Ashley Wilkins Owojori and her husband, Jeremiah Owojori, had one child together, Ezekiel Owojori, who was a minor. Mrs. Owojori had two minor children, Jalynn Faith Myles and Prince Isaiah Halley, from prior relationships. Albert Myles is the father of Jalynn.

         Ashley, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Prince lived in an apartment in Ouachita Parish owned by GMH Housing, LLC. On the night of January 24, 2016, a fire caused by faulty wiring occurred at the apartment. Tragically, all four apartment occupants later died from severe injuries as a result of smoke inhalation.

         On April 20, 2016, Albert Myles, who had custody of Jalynn, filed a wrongful death suit on her behalf against XYZ Insurance Company and Gary Howell, who was GMH's agent. Mr. Myles, who asserted that Jalynn was her mother's only living descendant, later amended his petition to add GMH Housing as a defendant.

         On November 22, 2016, Mr. Vallo, individually and on behalf of Prince, filed suit under a separate suit number against GMH, Howell, and XYZ Insurance. This petition was amended on February 22, 2017, to add Samuel Owojori, Jeremiah's father, as a plaintiff to recover damages for the ...


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