Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 610, 340 Honorable
Michael A. Pitman, Judge
KENNETH J. BECK Counsel for Appellant
J. JOHNSON Assistant District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
STONE, COX, and THOMPSON, JJ.
nullity of judgment appeal arises out of the First Judicial
District Court (First JDC), Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Bankers
Insurance Company ("Bankers") brought a petition
for nullity against a judgment of bond forfeiture in favor of
the State of Louisiana ("State"). Bankers seeks
review of the district court's decision to grant the
State's exception of res judicata. We respectfully
reverse the district court's ruling on the exception of
res judicata, but affirm the ruling on the exception of no
cause of action.
September 7, 2016, Bankers wrote a bond in the amount of $50,
000 for a defendant named Claude McQueen. On February 22,
2017, Mr. McQueen failed to appear in the First JDC. On March
28, 2017, Bankers was notified of Mr. McQueen's failure
to appear. At the time, Mr. McQueen was incarcerated in
Dallas County Jail. In its initial petition for nullity,
Bankers claimed that it notified the State of this
information on May 2, 2017. In the same petition, Bankers
also asserted that on November 2, 2017, it provided the Caddo
Parish District Attorney's Office the costs of
transporting Mr. McQueen.
February 12, 2018, the State moved for forfeiture of the
bond. The trial court issued a judgment of forfeiture.
Bankers failed to appear at the hearing and did not offer any
objection to the forfeiture. Bankers did not appeal the
judgment of bond forfeiture.
27, 2018, Bankers filed a petition for nullity. In its
petition, Bankers claimed that it notified the Caddo Parish
District Attorney's Office that Mr. McQueen was in jail
in Dallas, Texas and met the requirements of constructive
surrender. Bankers claimed that these facts entitled it to a
State answered the petition for nullity on August 14, 2018.
In its answer, the State denied the allegations. The State
filed exceptions of res judicata and no cause of action. In
its exception of res judicata, the State argued that the
initial bond forfeiture judgment was valid and final, the
cause of action existed at the time of the final judgment,
and the cause of action asserted in the nullity action arose
out of the transaction or occurrence that was the subject
matter of the initial bond forfeiture. The State claimed that
Bankers was precluded from arguing constructive surrender
because it could have raised the issue in the initial bond
forfeiture case, but failed to do so. In the State's
exception of no cause of action, it argued that Bankers did
not assert a viable cause of action as it was based upon
La.C.Cr.P. art. 349.5, which was repealed as of January 1,
2017. On December 3, 2018, Bankers filed an opposition to the
exception of res judicata. In Bankers' opposition to the
res judicata exception, Bankers argued that La. C. C. P.
arts. 2001-2003 provided an avenue to circumvent res
judicata. Bankers did not mention the exception of no cause
of action in its opposition.
December 3, 2018, the district court granted the exceptions
of res judicata and no cause of action. Bankers now appeals
the district court's ruling.
seeks review of the district court's ruling regarding the
exception of res judicata. It is important to emphasize that
Bankers did not seek review of the other exception granted by
the district court for no cause of action. Bankers argues