CARR AND ASSOCIATES, INC.
Appeal from the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court In and
for the Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Docket No.
2018-10569 Honorable William J. Knight, Judge Presiding
L. Browne Cynthia M. Cimino New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel
for Plaintiff/ Appellee Defendant In Intervention Carr and
C. Lehman Mandeville, Louisiana Intervenor/ Appellant In
M. Danner Madisonville, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/
Appellee Roselle Jones
BEFORE: McCLENDON, WELCH, AND HOLDRIDGE, JJ.
appeals the trial court's judgment granting
defendant's Exception of Prescription and dismissing all
claims against defendant. For the reasons that follow, we
reverse and remand with instructions.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Jones ("Ms. Jones") was the owner of property
located at 1817 Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana,
when it was damaged by a fire. Ms. Jones hired Carr &
Associates, Inc., ("Carr") to perform appraisal and
estimating services in connection with her resulting
insurance claim. The contract was memorialized in writing and
set Carr's fees at the rate of $300.00 per hour. Carr
submitted a final invoice to Ms. Jones reflecting that Carr
last performed work on the contract on February 18, 2014, and
that Ms. Jones owed Carr a total of $55, 335.00 for the work
performed during the insurance appraisal process and
subsequent litigation. Ms. Jones paid $5, 000.00 of the total
30, 2014, Carr filed suit against Ms. Jones in the Civil
District Court for the Parish of Orleans ("CDC trial
court"). Carr's petition alleged that "in
accordance with the remuneration agreed upon between the
parties, the compensation due to petitioner on open account
is $50, 335.00." Service on Ms. Jones was unsuccessful.
A curator was subsequently appointed, though additional
attempts at service were also unsuccessful. On May 8, 2015,
the CDC trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Carr
against Ms. Jones.
5, 2017, Ms. Jones filed a petition to nullify the May 8,
2015 judgment. Ms. Jones alleged that she had never been
served with process, had not waived service, and had not
waived objection to jurisdiction. Further, Ms. Jones asserted
that there had been no basis to appoint a curator because
Carr's counsel, Robert Lehman, had originally requested
service at an incorrect address. On August 4, 2017, the CDC
trial court executed a judgment of nullity as to the May 8,
the CDC trial court's judgment of nullity, Mr. Lehman
requested service on Ms. Jones through her counsel, Bruce
Danner. Ms. Jones was then properly served. Ms. Jones filed a
Declinatory Exception of Improper Venue, arguing that St.
Tammany Parish was the only parish of proper venue for
Carr's suit because Carr and Ms. Jones were both
domiciled in St. Tammany Parish, and because Carr did not
perform any work on the contract in Orleans Parish. Mr.
Danner prepared, and Mr. Lehman signed, a judgment on the
Exception of Improper Venue. The below judgment was executed
by the CDC trial court on November 3, 2017 ("the
November 3, 2017 judgment"):
the November 3, 2017 judgment on the Exception of Improper
Venue had been executed by the CDC trial court, and on the
same day, Carr filed a Motion to Substitute requesting the
withdrawal of Mr. Lehman and substitution of David Browne and
Cynthia Cimino as counsel of record on Carr's behalf; the
CDC trial court executed the accompanying Order enrolling Mr.
Browne and Ms. Cimino as counsel of record; and Carr filed a
Memorandum in Opposition to the Exception of Improper Venue
through his new counsel. Upon discovering that the CDC ...