FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO.
260032 HONORABLE GEORGE CLARENCE METOYER, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE
K. Preuett-Armour Armour Law Firm COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: State Farm Mutual AutomobileInsurance
L. Bash Faircloth, Melton, Sobel & Bash, LLC COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Walker Automotive James Boyd
Christopher D. Meyer Burr & Forman COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Exeter Finance, LLC
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy Howard Ezell, and John E.
HOWARD EZELL JUDGE
Bradford appeals the decision of the trial court below
granting an involuntary dismissal against him in favor of
Walker Automotive and James Boyd. For the following reasons,
we hereby affirm the decision of the trial court.
suit arises from the purchase of a 2012 Dodge Journey (SUV)
by Mr. Bradford and Ronee Boyer from Walker Automotive. Mr.
Boyd was the salesman who sold the Plaintiffs the vehicle,
which was sold "as is" on October 4, 2016. All
paperwork finalizing the sale, including financing and
Walker's agreement to fix minor existing issues with the
vehicle, was completed at that time and signed by the
Plaintiffs. Work was done to the bumper and a "check
engine" light was fixed, as per the sales agreement. The
Plaintiffs took the vehicle with no further complaints around
October 12, 2016.
trial court below, Mr. Bradford alleges pro se, through
several amended petitions, that Mr. Boyd either damaged the
vehicle after the sale was finalized or withheld information
regarding its condition prior to the sale. He further alleges
that Walker performed work on the vehicle without
authorization. At trial, after the conclusion of the
Plaintiffs' evidence, Walker and Boyd moved for an
involuntary dismissal, which was granted by the trial court.
From that decision, Mr. Bradford appeals.
Bradford has not set forth any true assignments of error on
appeal. However, "a pro se litigant may be
afforded some leeway or patience in the form of liberally
construed pleading[.]" Manichia v. Mahoney,
10-87, p. 8 (La.App. 4 Cir. 8/4/10), 45 So.3d 618, 622,
writ denied, 10-2259 (La. 11/24/10), 50 So.3d 829.
Accordingly, we will deal with Mr. Bradford's claims as
best as we can determine them to be.
Bradford complains in his brief that Plaintiffs did not
receive a jury trial and requests that this matter be sent
back to be heard by a jury. However, La.Code Civ.P. art. 1732
states in part: "A trial by jury shall not be available
in . . . [a] suit where the amount of no individual
petitioner's cause of action exceeds fifty thousand
dollars exclusive of interest and costs[.]" Plaintiffs
both agreed in a stipulation filed on February 7, 2019, that
their damages did not exceed $50, 000.00. "A stipulation
has the effect of binding all parties and the court."
Harris v. West Carroll Parish Sch. Bd., 605 So.2d
610, 613 (La.App. 2 Cir.), writ denied, 609 So.2d
255 (La.1992). Furthermore, in that stipulation, Plaintiffs
stated that they understood that by making that agreement,
they would not be entitled to a jury trial, but instead would
have their case heard by the trial court judge below. The
Plaintiffs clearly agreed to a judge trial and are not
entitled to a trial by jury. There is no error in the manner
in which this case was heard.
Mr. Bradford mentions Exeter Finance, LLC in his brief,
quickly and in passing, though he does not challenge the
company's dismissal via its exception of no cause of
action. For the sake of thoroughness, we will briefly address
exception of no cause of action asks whether the law extends
a remedy to anyone under the factual allegations made in the
petition. Mid-South Plumbing, LLC v. Dev.
Consortium-Shelly Arms, L.L.C., 12-1731 (La.App. 4 Cir.
10/23/13), 126 So.3d 732. The exception is triable on the
face of the petition and each well-pleaded fact included
within must be accepted as true. Id. No evidence may
be introduced to support or refute an exception of no cause
of action. La.Code Civ. Proc. art. 931.
courts conduct a de novo review of a trial court's ruling
granting an exception of no cause of action, as the exception
presents questions of law. St. Pierre v.
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., 12-545 (La.App. 4
Cir. 10/24/12), 102 So.3d 1003. Therefore, our review entails