LARRY L. TAYLOR Plaintiff-Appellant
ELIZABETH ANN STEWART BEDINGFIELD Defendant-Appellee
Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for
the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 149, 136-E.
Honorable Michael Nerren, Judge
LAW FIRM, APLC By: Jerald R. Harper Anne E. Wilkes Counsel
P. CAMPBELL, II Counsel for Appellee
ELIZABETH ANN STEWART BEDINGFIELD In Proper Person
MOORE, PITMAN, and GARRETT, JJ.
trial court filed a judgment in favor of Plaintiff Larry L.
Taylor and against Defendant Elizabeth Ann Stewart
Bedingfield in the amount of $30, 000, less an offset of $11,
990.49. Taylor appeals the amount awarded. For the following
reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court in part
and reverse in part.
February 1, 2016, Taylor filed a petition for recovery of
money he lent to Mrs. Bedingfield. He stated that he was good
friends with her and her husband Jimmy Bedingfield. In
January 2010, Mr. Bedingfield indicated that he was
experiencing financial difficulty. Taylor wrote a check for
$30, 000, payable to "Jimmy Bedingfield, " which
was deposited into an account for the Bedingfields'
business, The Home Store. He stated that several days prior
to Mr. Bedingfield's death in February 2011, Mrs.
Bedingfield thanked him for the loan and assured him that
there was adequate life insurance to pay the debt. He alleged
that Mrs. Bedingfield repeatedly assured him of her intention
to pay him back and that she acknowledged the debt to third
parties. He stated that in January 2016, he asked Mrs.
Bedingfield to execute a promissory note, and she responded
that she had no knowledge of any indebtedness and refused to
April 1, 2016, Mrs. Bedingfield filed an answer denying
Taylor's allegations and raising affirmative
defenses. She stated that the obligation had been
extinguished; that she was entitled to offset for any and all
sums owed unto her, Mr. Bedingfield or The Home Store; and
that the loan was a separate obligation of Mr. Bedingfield.
Taylor responded that her affirmative defense of offset had
some merit to the extent that he received materials and labor
from The Home Store free of charge.
October 19, 2016, Taylor filed a motion to compel, requesting
that the trial court compel Mrs. Bedingfield to provide bank
records, tax returns, financial statements and other similar
documents relevant to the facts of the case. After a hearing
on October 31, 2016, the trial court filed a judgment
granting the motion to compel on November 29, 2016.
trial began on July 7, 2017. Taylor called Mrs. Bedingfield
as a witness. She testified that she married Mr. Bedingfield
in 1972, and he died on February 8, 2011. She owns The Home
Store in Bossier City. While he was alive, Mr. Bedingfield
maintained the books for The Home Store and employed a
bookkeeper. She testified that she did not know anything
about the financial situation of The Home Store in 2009 or
about the January 2010 loan. She stated that she had not seen
the $30, 000 check until Taylor included it in his lawsuit.
An exhibit showed that the $30, 000 check was deposited into
The Home Store's account with Citizens National Bank on
January 26, 2010. She testified that Taylor was lying about
her acknowledgement of the loan. She stated that after
litigation began, she discovered that The Home Store supplied
materials and labor to Taylor, including when he built a new
house, but had not sent him any invoices since Mr.
wife, Glenda Taylor, testified that after Mr.
Bedingfield's death, she and Taylor went to The Home
Store at least three times to pick out carpet and tile for
the house they were building. She mainly worked with Mrs.
Bedingfield's son, but stated that Mrs. Bedingfield
helped on occasion. She testified that she did not receive
any invoices for the tile and carpet she chose at The Home
Store. She stated that Taylor told her about a loan he made
to Mr. Bedingfield on the day he wrote the check. He also
told her that, after Mr. Bedingfield's death, he
communicated with Mrs. Bedingfield about the loan on three or
four occasions and that she acknowledged the loan.
trial continued on July 28, 2017. Taylor testified that on
January 26, 2010, he had lunch with Mr. Bedingfield and wrote
him a check for $30, 000. He stated that he expected to be
paid back and that he wrote "Loan JB" on the memo
line. He further stated that Mrs. Bedingfield knew about the
loan, that they talked about it on numerous occasions and
that she acknowledged that she wanted to pay back the loan.
He recalled that the first time he spoke with Mrs.
Bedingfield about the loan was several days before Mr.
Bedingfield's death in February 2011. He alleged that
Mrs. Bedingfield told him how grateful they were for the
loan, that it saved their house and business and that she was
going to pay him back with life insurance proceeds. He
testified that after Mr. Bedingfield's death, he went to
The Home Store numerous times to check on Mrs. Bedingfield
and that she would assure him that that he would be repaid
from the succession and life insurance. He stated that in
2013 and 2014, he bought materials, including tile and
carpet, and labor from The Home Store for the house he lived
in and for a house he was building. He never received an
invoice and noted that Mrs. Bedingfield said it would all
wash out in the end because she owed him money. He stated
that prior to Mr. ...