JASON MEADOWS, INDIVIDUALLY AND JASON MEADOWS ON BEHALF OF SOUTHERN CROSS MARINE SERVICES, LLC
Appeal from the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court In and
for the Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Docket No.
2015-12840 Honorable Alan A. Zaunbrecher, Judge Presiding
R. Anders Sean McAllister Mandeville, Louisiana Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellant Jason Meadows
C. Spinner Galen M. Hair New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel for
Defendant/ Appellee Christy Adams
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.
appeal, plaintiff seeks this Court's reversal of a trial
court judgment granting defendant's motion to enforce
settlement agreement and dismissing plaintiff's claims
with prejudice. Review of the record reveals that the appeal
was not timely filed, therefore requiring dismissal.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Adams ("Adams") and Jason Meadows
("Meadows") were formerly married. A Petition for
Divorce was filed on June 5, 2014. The divorce proceedings
were captioned "Christy Adams, wife of Jason Meadows,
versus Jason Meadows, Twenty-Second Judicial District Court,
Parish of St. Tammany, State of Louisiana, Docket No.
2014-12593, Division H" ("divorce
proceedings"). A Consent Judgment on Partition of
Community Property ("Consent Judgment") was
executed by both parties and signed by the trial court on
August 29, 2014. Under the terms of the Consent Judgment,
Meadows received one hundred percent (100%) right, title and
interest in and to Southern Cross Marine, LLC.
("Southern Cross"), and agreed to assume full
liability for holding Adams free and harmless from any
responsibility for any and all debts associated with any
property received by Meadows as a result of the community
17, 2015, Meadows initiated the lawsuit from which this
appeal arose ("the instant proceedings") by filing
a Petition for Damages ("Petition"). The Petition
alleged that Adams had been employed at Southern Cross during
the parties' marriage, and in connection with that
employment, she had failed to pay various creditors,
dishonored contracts, incurred liability on behalf of the
business, and wrongfully taken business funds for personal
use. Adams answered the Petition, denying the allegations of
wrongdoing. Litigation commenced.
October 11, 2016, a hearing was held in the divorce
proceedings on various pending motions filed by the parties.
Following a conference with the trial court, the parties
announced their intent to resolve the matters by stipulation,
the terms of which were dictated into the record. On December
21, 2016, the trial court signed a Stipulated Judgment
memorializing the terms agreed to at the October 11, 2016
hearing ("Stipulated Judgment"). The first two
provisions of the Stipulated Judgment read as follows:
1. All open and/or pending contempt motions and sanctions
motions filed by both parties are dismissed with prejudice,
with each party to bear its own costs;
2. All outstanding issues in Judge Penzato's Division
concerning pending matters between the parties are dismissed,
with each party to bear its own costs.
15, 2017, Adams filed a Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice
("Motion to Dismiss") in the instant proceedings.
In the Motion to Dismiss, Adams relied on the Consent
Judgment, the October 11, 2016 hearing, and the Stipulated
Judgment, citing the provision in the Stipulated Judgment
that "[a]ll outstanding issues in Judge PenzatoP]s
Division concerning [p]ending matters between the parties are
dismissed." Meadows filed an Opposition to Motion to
Dismiss with Prejudice. On July 3, 2017, the Clerk of Court
notified the parties by letter that the Motion to Dismiss had
been denied by Judge Fendlason, Pro Tempore, Division H.
November 6, 2017, asserting that the claims set forth in the
Petition were barred by the Consent Judgment, Adams filed
Defendant's Peremptory Exception of No Cause of Action,
No Right of Action, and Prescription, and Motion to Enforce
Settlement, which Meadows opposed. Following a March 23, 2018
hearing, the trial court signed a judgment granting the
Motion to Enforce Settlement and dismissing Meadows'
claims with prejudice on May 8, 2018. Notice of Judgment was
mailed May 9, 2018.
filed a Motion for New Trial by facsimile on May 17, 2018.
The pleading transmitted to the Clerk of Court by facsimile
was signed with counsel's electronic signature. Meadows
delivered the Motion for New Trial to the Clerk of Court on
May 24, 2018. However, the pleading delivered to the Clerk of
Court was signed with counsel's handwritten signature,
unlike the Motion for New Trial transmitted by facsimile
bearing counsel's electronic signature. The trial court
denied the Motion for New Trial without a hearing on May 29,
then filed a Petition for Devolutive Appeal by facsimile on
July 13, 2018. As with the Motion for New Trial, the pleading
transmitted to the Clerk of Court by facsimile was signed
with counsel's electronic signature, and the pleading
delivered to the Clerk of Court on July 18, 2018, was signed
with counsel's handwritten signature.
filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal and Request for Suspension
of Briefing Delays with this Court on November 12, 2018. The
Motion to Dismiss Appeal was referred to the merits of the
appeal by an interim order dated December 7, 2018.
Accordingly, we must first address this Motion in order to
determine whether this Court has jurisdiction to hear the
TO DISMISS APPEAL; TIMELINESS OF APPEAL
appeal is taken by obtaining an order therefor, within the
delay allowed, from the court which rendered the judgment.
LSA-C.C.P. art. 2121. The appeal delays found in LSA-C.C.P.
art. 2087 are not prescriptive periods that are subject to
interruption; these time limits are jurisdictional. An
appellant's failure to file a devolutive appeal timely is
a jurisdictional defect, in that neither the court of appeal
nor any other court has the jurisdictional power and
authority to reverse, revise, or modify a final judgment
after the time for filing a devolutive appeal has elapsed.
Everett v. Baton Rouge Student Housing, LLC,
2010-0856 (La.App. 1 Cir. 5/6/11), 64 So.3d 883, 886,
writ denied, ...