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City of Carencro v. Acadiana Water and Sewer

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 18, 2019

CITY OF CARENCRO
v.
ACADIANA WATER AND SEWER, ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-20171815 HONORABLE DAVID M. SMITH, DISTRICT JUDGE

          John S. Irion, Jr. Jerry L. Mallet COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: City of Carencro

          Theodore G. Edwards, IV Davidson, Meaux, Sonnier, McElligott, Fontenot, Gideon & Edwards, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Acadiana Water and Sewer, Inc.

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy H. Ezell, and John E. Conery, Judges.

          SYLVIA R. COOKS JUDGE

         This appeal involves the City of Carencro's providing of water and sewer services to Acadiana Water and Sewer, Inc., for use by the residents of Markridge Park Subdivision from January of 2013 through April of 2017.

         The pertinent facts at issue begin in the late 1970's when AAA Brick Company, Inc. developed the Markridge Park Subdivision in Carencro, Louisiana. Over the years, Markridge Park underwent several phases and extensions. In building the subdivision, a main sewer line was constructed by AAA Brick that ran through Markridge Park. Residents of Markridge Park received sewage treatment and water service from the City of Carencro for which they were billed. AAA Brick owned a water and sewer plant that provided water and sewage services to Extensions III and IV of Markridge Park. However, the lots in Extension II of Markridge Park were not connected to sewer lines that would have allowed sewage treatment by AAA Brick's plant. AAA Brick was able to provide water service to Extension II homes.

         In 1985, AAA Brick filed a suit in the Fifteenth Judicial District Court against Carencro, seeking to recover its construction costs for the public water system it built.[1] Carencro filed a reconventional demand against AAA Brick for what it termed an unauthorized connection of AAA Brick's water and sewage system to Carencro's water and sewage system. In its reconventional demand, Carencro alleged it provided water and sewage service from 1979 through 1984 for which it received no payment. Carencro asserted it was entitled to $7, 506.00 for these alleged services.

         In 1987, the parties settled the 1985 lawsuit and executed a document entitled "Compromise of Lawsuit." As a result, the 1985 lawsuit was dismissed by joint motion of the parties. AAA Brick received $12, 500.00 from Carencro for which AAA Brick agreed to release Carencro from "any further liability resulting from the construction of the water line(s) in Markridge Park. . . as well as the costs incurred by" AAA Brick. It was also agreed by the parties that Carencro would release AAA Brick "forever from any and all claims for water and/or sewer services furnished, relating to, or connected with Markridge Park Extension II."

         In 1989, John Pomier, the sole owner of Acadiana Water and Sewer, Inc. purchased the water and sewer plant from AAA Brick. In 1996, Pomier incorporated Acadiana Water and transferred to it his rights in the plant purchased from AAA Brick. Acadiana Water has operated the water and sewer system since that time.

         The parties operated without incident for several years until 2000, when Carencro filed suit against Acadiana Water.[2] Carencro alleged Acadiana Water committed an illegal tap or connection into Carencro's sewer system, thus allowing sewage from homes in the Markridge Park Subdivision to flow into Carencro's sewer system, which was then treated without any compensation being paid. Carencro sought damages resulting from the alleged unauthorized connection into its sewer line, as well as compensation for the sewage treatment services rendered.

         The parties eventually settled the 2000 lawsuit by a "Stipulated Judgment" entered by the trial court on July 30, 2008, that incorporated "Joint Stipulations' entered into by the parties. The "Joint Stipulations" incorporated by reference the 1987 Compromise as relating to Markridge Park. The remainder of the Joint Stipulations relate to the temporary usage by Acadiana Water of Carencro's water service. It was agreed as follows:

[Carencro] does agree to hereafter provide to [Acadiana Water], for back washing purposes and/or when [Acadiana Water] is unable to furnish water to its customers, at [Acadiana Water's] request and within one hour of receipt by one of [Carencro's] representatives of said request, water from [Carencro's] water distribution system/lines which are physically connected to those water distribution lines of [Acadiana water's]; said service shall be provided to [Acadiana Water] by [Carencro] at no charge to [Acadiana Water]. Such services shall be provided by [Carencro] to [Acadiana Water] for a maximum of 72 hours, upon receipts of the above described request and notice. If such services continue to be required by [Acadiana water] after receipt of same for 72 hours, such services shall be provided as per agreement reached between [Carencro] and [Acadiana Water].

         The parties operated in accordance with the 2008 judgment until 2017, during which period Carencro did not bill Acadiana Water for any water or sewer services. However, on March 30, 2017 Carencro filed the instant lawsuit suit seeking compensation from Acadiana Water and Pomier for ...


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