JENNA S. ARD
GRRLSPOT, LLC AND CHRISTINE E. JOHNSON JENNA S. ARD
GRRLSPOT, LLC AND CHRISTINE E. JOHNSON
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2018-04626,
DIVISION "D" Honorable Nakisha Ervin-Knott, JUDGE
A. Siddiqui IAS LAW LLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT
J. Butler, Jr. Richard G. Passler BREAZEALE SACHSE &
WILSON, L.L.P COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Regina
Bartholomew-Woods, Judge Paula A. Brown
A. BROWN JUDGE.
matter involves a dispute over alleged partnership interests
in a business called GrrlSpot, LLC. Plaintiff/Appellee, Jenna
Ard, filed suit against Defendant/Appellant, Christine
Johnson, seeking damages and injunctive relief. The district
court heard Ms. Johnson's application for preliminary
injunction based upon the verified pleadings and supporting
affidavits. The district court granted Ms. Ard's request
for preliminary injunction. Thereafter, the district court
granted Ms. Ard's motion to amend the preliminary
injunction to furnish security and denied Ms. Johnson's
cross-motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction. In
addition to allowing Ms. Ard to furnish security, the amended
preliminary injunction ordered the same injunctive relief
contained in the original injunction and, among other things,
prohibited Ms. Johnson from interfering with Ms. Ard's
operational control of the business. Ms. Johnson appeals the
district court's judgment granting the amended
preliminary injunction. Ms. Johnson also appeals the district
court's judgment denying her cross-motion to dissolve the
preliminary injunction arising out of Ms. Ard's failure
to furnish security in the original preliminary injunction.
Ms. Ard alleges Ms. Johnson failed to timely appeal the
judgment on the original preliminary injunction and requests
the appeal be dismissed.
the district court properly granted the motion to amend to
allow Ms. Ard to furnish security. The amended preliminary
injunction, however, amounted to a mandatory injunction and
also changed the status quo, outcomes which require an
evidentiary hearing. Accordingly, we affirm in part, vacate
in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with
this opinion. We further find Ms. Johnson timely appealed the
judgments and deny Ms. Ard's motion to dismiss the
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
and Ms. Johnson began marketing monthly social events for
members of the LGBT community under the name of GrrlSpot
sometime in 2010. GrrlSpot events were primarily promoted
through online social media resources, such as websites,
e-mail databases, Facebook, and Instagram. Personal and
business conflicts developed between Ms. Ard and Ms. Johnson
in 2017. Their seven-year personal relationship ended in
February 2017. In March 2017, Ms. Johnson allegedly blocked
access to GrrlSpot's financial records, business email
accounts, and social media accounts.
14, 2017, Ms. Ard filed a petition for damages, declaratory
judgment, and injunctive relief (the "Petition")
against Ms. Johnson and Grrlspot, LLC, in First City Court
for the City of New Orleans. The Petition alleged the two had
entered into one or more oral agreements to form a
partnership to host and coordinate entertainment
events under the names of GrrlSpot and GrrlSpot NOLA
(collectively, "GrrlSpot."). The Petition further
alleged Ms. Ard provided financial support and entertainment
and technical services to GrrlSpot, while Ms. Johnson
performed certain logistical, bookkeeping, and financial
tasks. Ms. Ard contended Ms. Johnson breached their
partnership agreement, converted assets, and committed fraud.
Citing irreparable harm, Ms. Ard requested a temporary
restraining order ("TRO").
14, 2017, following a hearing on the TRO, the City Court
granted the TRO prohibiting, in part, Ms. Johnson's use
of the GrrlSpot name and its assets without the participation
of Ms. Ard. On July 24, 2017, Ms. Ard and Ms. Johnson
agreed to enter INTO a consent judgment. The consent judgment
dissolved the TRO and stipulated that Ms. Johnson would
continue to operate GrrlSpot, protect GrrlSpot's assets,
and provide Ms. Ard with a monthly accounting. Ms. Johnson
answered the underlying Petition in First City Court on
August 4, 2017. She denied the allegations, arguing, in part,
that Ms. Ard never had an ownership interest in GrrlSpot.
November 2, 2018, Ms. Ard filed a motion for preliminary
injunction, which is the subject of the present appeal, in
Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans
("CDC"). Ms. Ard alleged that Ms. Johnson had
improperly withdrawn funds from GrrlSpot's accounts,
transferred GrrlSpot funds into Ms. Johnson's personal
bank account, and used GrrlSpot funds to create a competing
business- actions which threatened to destroy Grrlspot. Ms.
Ard prayed that Ms. Johnson be enjoined from interfering with
Ms. Ard's operational control of Grrlspot, from exerting
any operational control over the partnership, and from having
further access to the partnership's assets until the
parties' rights could be determined at a trial on the
merits. In support, Ms. Ard attached a written, notarized
partnership agreement executed between Ms. Ard and Ms. Johnson
on July 8, 2011, Grrlspot bank records, and social media
postings regarding GrrlSpot events and "Love Shack
Entertainment," the alleged competing business.
response, Ms. Johnson urged that Ms. Ard had no ownership
interest in GrrlSpot and accused Ms. Ard of forging Ms.
Johnson's signature on the partnership agreement.
Following Ms. Johnson's attack on the validity of the
partnership agreement, Ms. Ard supplemented her motion for
preliminary injunction with the affidavit of Chad P.
Youngblood, the Notary to the partnership agreement. In his
affidavit, Mr. Youngblood verified the authenticity of the
partnership agreement, attesting that on July 8, 2011, he
personally witnessed Ms. Ard and Ms. Johnson execute the
partnership agreement before him. Mr. Youngblood also
attested that he confirmed with Ms. Johnson the authenticity
of his notarial attestation of the partnership agreement in a
telephone conversation with her.
district court fixed the hearing on the motion for
preliminary injunction for November 27, 2018, and ordered,
pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 3609, the matter be heard on the
verified pleadings or affidavits. At the conclusion of the
hearing, the district court granted Ms. Ard's request for
a preliminary injunction against Ms. Johnson, enjoining Ms.
Johnson from interfering with Ms. Ard's operational
control of GrrlSpot pending trial on the merits, among other
things. The preliminary injunction also ordered Ms. Johnson
to provide Ms. Ard with certain information pertaining to
GrrlSpot, but it did not include an order to furnish security
as required by La. C.C.P. art. 3610.
following day, November 28, 2019, Ms. Ard, recognizing that
security had not been furnished, filed a motion to amend the
preliminary injunction ("motion to amend') to add a
provision for her to furnish security. Ms. Ard also filed a
separate motion for contempt, complaining that Ms. Johnson
had not taken immediate steps to comply with the terms of the
preliminary injunction. In turn, Ms. Johnson filed an
opposition to the motion to amend, along with a cross-motion
to dissolve and/or modify the preliminary injunction
("motion to dissolve"). Ms. Johnson asserted the
original preliminary injunction was invalid on its face as it
had been issued without a security bond in violation of La.
C.C.P. art. 3610.
December 18, 2018, the district court conducted a hearing on
both parties' motions. At the conclusion of the hearing,
on December 19, 2018, the district court rendered two
separate judgments. In the first judgment, the district court
granted Ms. Ard's motion to amend; denied Ms. Ard's
motion for contempt; and denied Ms. Johnson's motion to
dissolve. In the second judgment, the district court issued
an amended preliminary injunction. The amended preliminary
injunction ordered the same injunctive relief as contained in
the original November 28, 2018 preliminary injunction order.
Additionally, the amended preliminary injunction required Ms.
Ard to post a $1000.00 security bond and noted that the
injunction would not issue until the security was posted.
Johnson filed, in this court, a supervisory writ application
on the judgment granting Ms. Ard's motion to amend and
denying her motion to dissolve. In a separate action, Ms.
Johnson appealed the judgment issuing the amended preliminary
injunction. The supervisory writ was ultimately treated as a
motion for appeal and consolidated with the appeal of the
amended preliminary injunction.On appeal, Ms. Ard filed a motion
to dismiss Ms. Johnson's appeal as untimely, which we
will address, infra.
Johnson raises several assignments of error which we have
consolidated as following: (1) the district court erred in
issuing an amended preliminary injunction as the original
preliminary injunction was invalid on its face due to Ms.
Ard's failure to furnish security; (2) the district court
erred in issuing a mandatory preliminary injunction that
changed the status quo without conducting a full trial on the
merits or an evidentiary hearing as required by law; and (3)
the district court erred in: (a) issuing a preliminary
injunction that lacked reasonable detail; (b) failing to fix
adequate security; and (c) failing to award attorney's
fees arising out of Ms. Johnson's motion to dissolve the
preliminary injunction. Before we address the merits of these
errors, we will first consider Ms. Ard's motion to
to Dismiss Appeal
argues Ms. Johnson's appeal should be dismissed as
untimely due to Ms. Johnson's failure to timely appeal
the original preliminary injunction dated November 27, 2018,
within fifteen days from the date of judgment as required by
La. C.C.P. art. 3612. Ms. Ard contends that delays for an
appeal from a preliminary injunction are not suspended or
interrupted by subsequent judgments relating to the
underlying preliminary injunction. In support, Ms. Ard relies
on Bayou Hunting Club v. Desoto Parish Jury, 569
So.2d 252 (La.App. 2nd Cir. 1990). We find the facts in the
case sub judice distinguishable from the facts
presented in Bayou Hunting Club.
Bayou Hunting Club, the plaintiffs sought
preliminary injunctions to enjoin the DeSoto Parish Police
Jury from blocking their access to two roadways. On October
24, 1989, the district court granted the preliminary
injunction as to roadway one and denied it as to roadway two.
A writ of injunction was issued the same day regarding
roadway one and served on the police jury on October 27,
1989. On November 6, 1989, the district court signed a
"Judgment on Application for Preliminary
Injunction" regarding roadway one submitted by both
parties. The judgment fixed security, expanded the scope of
the preliminary injunction and re-urged that injunctive
relief had been denied as to roadway two on October 24, 1989.
In response to the plaintiffs' request, the district
court provided written reasons for judgment on November 7,
1989. On November 17, 1989, the plaintiffs moved for and were
granted an appeal from that part of the November 6, 1989
judgment which had denied the injunction as to roadway two.
On appeal, the Second Circuit dismissed the appeal as
untimely because the appeal had not been brought within
fifteen days from the October 24, 1989 judgment. The
plaintiffs argued that appeal delays should run from the
November 6, 1989 judgment which fixed security because the
October 24, 1989 preliminary injunction judgment was invalid
for its failure to fix security at the time of the
preliminary injunction's issuance. In rejecting that
argument, the Second Circuit reasoned that any possible
deficiencies in the October 24, 1989 judgment which granted
the injunction as to roadway one and denied the injunction as
to roadway two-a judgment which was not appealed-did not
impact the time delays to appeal the denial of the injunction
as to roadway two. Id., at 254. The Second Circuit
also opined that the November 6, 1989 judgment merely
confirmed the written October 24, 1989 judgment.
Id., at 255.
argues, akin to Bayou Hunting Club, that the
district court's amendment of the original preliminary
injunction on December 19, 2018, to permit the posting of
security did not start anew the time delays for Ms. Johnson
to appeal the original preliminary injunction signed on. We
review of the record herein shows the proposed amended
preliminary injunction was an amendment to the original
preliminary injunction that is the subject of the appeal. We
also note that it was Ms. Ard who moved to amend, recognizing
the original preliminary injunction did not comply with the
formalities required by La. C.C.P. art. 3610. A preliminary
injunction granting injunctive relief may only issue after a
bond is posted, unless a bond is not statutorily required.
Yokum v. Nicholas S. Karno, Inc., 2010-0357, p. 3
(La.App. 4 Cir. 8/26/10), 47 So.3d 1014, 1016. Here, after
the district court granted the motion to amend, the amended
preliminary injunction specifically ordered that,
"pursuant to La. Code Civ. Pro. Art. 3610, this
preliminary injunction shall not issue unless Jenna S. Ard
furnishes security in the amount of $1, 000.00." Hence,
notwithstanding that the injunctive relief granted in the
original preliminary injunction was the same as that granted
in the amended preliminary injunction, the original
preliminary injunction did not effectively issue on November
27, 2019. Rather, the injunction issued on December 19, 2018,
the date Ms. Ard posted security.
appeal from an order or judgment relating to a preliminary
injunction must be taken, and bond furnished, within fifteen
days from the date of the order of judgment."
Id., 2010-0357, p. 2, 47 So.3d at 1016 (citation
omitted). Therefore, Ms. Johnson's appeal, taken on
January 2, 2019, was timely filed within fifteen days of the
issuance of the December 19, 2018 amended preliminary
injunction. Accordingly, Ms. Ard's motion to dismiss
appeal is denied. We now review Ms. Johnson's assigned
to Amend Preliminary Injunction
Johnson argues, in her first assigned error, that the
district court lacked authority to amend a preliminary
injunction issued without security by fixing security after
judgment on the preliminary judgment had been rendered. Ms.
Johnson contends an injunction must first issue before it can
be amended; and in this instance, she argues the ...