DANIEL E. BANNISTER
SFB COMPANIES, INC. OF DELAWARE, ET AL.
APPLICATION FOR SUPERVISORY REVIEW FROM THE NINETEENTH
JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT NUMBER 660562, SECTION 24, PARISH OF
EAST BATON ROUGE STATE OF LOUISIANA HONORABLE ROBERT D.
DOWNING, JUDGE AD HOC
Matthew C. Clark Frank J. Swarr Mickey P. Landry Philip C.
Hoffinan New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel for Respondents
-Appellees Patricia Ann Bannister, Shannon Rose Jordan,
Daniel E. Bannister, Jr., Dolphus Jacob Bannister, Anna Kay
Springer, and Grayson Humble Bannister
A. Cranner Patrice W. Oppenheim Molly L. Manieri Mandeville,
Louisiana Counsel for Relator -Appellant SYSTRA Engineering,
BEFORE: McDONALD, THERIOT, AND CHUTZ, JJ.
SYSTRA Engineering, Inc. (SYSTRA), seeks review of the trial
court's judgment, overruling its declinatory exception
raising the objection of lack of jurisdiction over its person
and requiring it to appear in this litigation instituted by
decedent, Daniel E. Bannister. We dismiss the appeal, grant
the writ, reverse the trial court's judgment, and render
Bannister filed a petition for damages against numerous
defendants, alleging tortious exposure to asbestos and
subsequent contraction of mesothelioma. After his death, his
heirs, respondents-plaintiffs, Patricia Ann Bannister,
Shannon Rose Jordan, Daniel E. Bannister, Jr., Dolphus Jacob
Bannister, Anna Kay Springer, and Grayson Humble Bannister,
were substituted as proper-party plaintiffs.
was named as a defendant in amending petitions. Without
answering the lawsuit, SYSTRA filed a declinatory exception
raising the objection of lack of jurisdiction over the
person, challenging the propriety of the Louisiana
court's jurisdiction over it.
September 17, 2018, a hearing was held on the declinatory
exception. The matter was submitted, but the trial court left
the record open for additional briefing. After another
hearing, on December 20, 2018, the trial court denied
SYSTRA's exception in open court.
trial court signed a judgment on January 9, 2019 to reflect
its ruling in open court. SYSTRA both appealed and filed a
notice of intent to apply for supervisory writs. Thereafter,
on February 12, 2019, the trial court signed an amended
judgment certifying its prior judgment, in pertinent part, as
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that this Court
finds that this Judgment should be designated as a final
judgment pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 1915 because there is no
just reason for delay for the appellate court to determine
whether this Court can exercise personal jurisdiction over
[SYSTRA] and because irreparable damage will be done if the
decision about personal jurisdiction is delayed.
both the writ application and the appeal had been lodged, the
Bannisters filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, asserting
that SYSTRA's only remedy was review of the underlying
ruling pursuant to its writ application since the
interlocutory judgment rendered by the trial court,
overruling the exception of lack of personal jurisdiction,
was not appealable. In similar manner, this court issued an
order noting that the judgment overruling the exception did
not appear to be a final, appealable ruling and directed the
parties to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed.
SYSTRA's writ application along with the Bannisters'
motion to dismiss and this court's show cause order were
referred to this panel for decision. See Bannister v. SFB
Companies, 2019-0079 (La.App. 1st Cir. 3/21/19 and
5/28/19) (unpublished orders).
Louisiana law, a final judgment is one which determines the
merits of a controversy, in whole or in part. La. C.C.P. art.
1841. Clearly, the judgment denying the exception in this
case does not determine the merits in whole or in part and is
not a final judgment. Moreover, it is ...