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Marchand v. Texas Brine Company, LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 27, 2019

SUSAN RUSSO MARCHAND, ET AL
v.
TEXAS BRINE COMPANY, LLC, ET AL

          On appeal from the Twenty-Third Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Assumption State of Louisiana Docket No. 34, 270, Div. A Honorable Jason Verdigets, Judge Presiding.

          Leopold Z. Sher James M. Garner Peter L. Hilbert, Jr. Neal J. Kling Jeffrey D. Kessler Jonathan B. Cerise Martha Y. Curtis Rebekka C. Veith Kevin M. McGlone David A. Freedman, Robert Ryland Percy III Travis J. Turner Gonzales, LA Katie D. Bell Bradley C. Myers Troy J. Carpentier Baton Rouge, LA Dane S. Ciolino Metairie, LA Counsel for Third -Party Plaintiff/Appellant Texas Brine Company, LLC

          James Kuhn, Christoper B. Bailey Matthew J. Randazzo, III Shawn A. Carter Will Montz Joshua S. Barnhill, Erika L. Bright Jeffrey L. Millis, Counsel for Third -Party Defendant/Appellee Browning Oil Company, Inc., Colorado Crude Company, and LORCA Corporation.

          Joseph L. Shea Katherine Smith Baker Ashley G. Gable Joshua A. Chevallier, Jason M. Cerise Chad J. Landry, Margaret G. Patton, Counsel for Third -Party Defendant/Appellee Reliance Petroleum Corporation

          Margaret G. Patton Baton Rouge, LA Charles E. Tabor Reid A. Jones Frank H. Spruiell, Jr. Reid A. Jones Seth M. Moyers, Counsel for Third -Party Defendant/Appellee Sol Kirschner.

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, WELCH, AND THERIOT, JJ.

          GUIDRY, J.

         Third-party plaintiff, Texas Brine Company, LLC (Texas Brine), appeals a judgment granting the peremptory exceptions ofres judicata and collateral estoppel filed by third-party defendants. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The underlying history of this case is familiar to this court as it has previously been before us on numerous occasions. In May of 2013, twenty plaintiffs, as owners of land in Assumption Parish, filed suit against Texas Brine, among others, asserting damages and injuries from a sinkhole caused by salt mining operations. Texas Brine answered the plaintiffs' petition, generally denying liability. Texas Brine also filed various incidental demands.

         Most relevant to this case, in 2015, Texas Brine filed amended incidental demands against multiple parties including the third-party defendants herein, Reliance Petroleum Corporation, Browning Oil Company, Inc., LORCA Corporation, Colorado Crude Company, and Sol Kirschner (collectively, "the oil and gas parties"). In the first matters to proceed to trial, the Pipeline cases, [1] the oil and gas parties filed motions for partial summary judgment and involuntary dismissal as to all of Texas Brine's claims against them. These motions were granted by the trial court, in favor of the oil and gas parties, with several rulings affirmed by this court on appeal.[2]

         Thereafter, with nearly identical incidental demands filed by Texas Brine against them in the matter herein, the oil and gas parties filed peremptory exceptions based on the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. The trial court sustained those peremptory exceptions in a judgment signed on July 16, 2018. Now, Texas Brine appeals, claiming that the trial court's res judicata judgment "will be in error," to the extent that any summary judgment or involuntary dismissal in a Pipeline case is overruled or modified on appeal, and that the trial court erred in prematurely dismissing, with prejudice, Texas Brine's claims against the oil and gas parties. Texas Brine also filed a motion to stay the instant appeal.[3]

         DISCUSSION

         Texas Brine argues that the trial court's res judicata judgment was in error and that the court prematurely dismissed, with prejudice, Texas Brine's claims against the oil and gas parties. We first address Texas Brine's assertion of error regarding the "premature dismissal" of its claims. In doing so, we recognize the general rule, codified in Uniform Rules-Courts of Appeal, Rule 1-3, which provides: "[t]he Courts of Appeal will review only issues which were submitted to the trial court..., unless the interest of justice clearly requires otherwise." We ...


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