CEDRICK LANDRY, ET AL.
BRITTANY USIE, ET AL.
FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST.
MARTIN, NO. 81374 HONORABLE KEITH RAYNE JULES COMEAUX,
Renee Alex The Alex Law Firm COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS: Cedrick Landry Cedrick Landry, o/b/o
D. Boyer F. Dominic Amato Boyer, Hebert, Abels & Angelle,
LLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES: St. Martin Parish
School Board Brittany Usie Lottie P. Beebe
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Elizabeth
A. Pickett, Shannon J. Gremillion, D. Kent Savoie, and
Candyce G. Perret, Judges.
Gremillion, J., dissents for the reasons assigned by Judge
KENT SAVOIE JUDGE.
Landry, individually and on behalf of his son, Cedrick
Senegal,  appeals a summary judgment rendered in
favor of St. Martin Parish School Board and its
superintendent, Dr. Lottie Beebe, as well as Brittany Usie,
and dismissing his claims against them. For the following
reasons, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the
matter for further proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
action arises out of damages Mr. Senegal allegedly sustained
while riding a school bus on April 30, 2013. The bus was
driven by Ms. Usie. According to Plaintiffs' petition,
Ms. Usie struck a curb and drove the bus into a pothole,
which caused Mr. Senegal to be propelled into the air and
injured. The incident occurred as the bus was exiting a
parking lot of a Winn-Dixie.
April 24, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Petition for Damages
naming as Defendants St. Martin Parish School Board and its
superintendent, Dr. Lottie Beebe, as well as Ms. Usie, and
"XYZ Insurance Company". Plaintiffs' petition
asserted claims against Ms. Usie arising out of her alleged
negligence in driving and operating the school bus, as well
as claims against St. Martin Parish School Board and
"XYZ Insurance company" alleging that they had in
effect a liability policy that provided coverage for Ms.
Usie's negligence. In addition, Plaintiffs asserted
claims against St. Martin Parish School Board and Dr. Beebe
arising out of their alleged negligence in hiring and/or
supervising Ms. Usie.
February 12, 2016, St. Martin Parish School Board, Dr. Beebe,
and Ms. Usie (collectively referred to herein as
"Defendants") filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
seeking the dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims against them
and stating, "the evidence shows that there are no
genuine issues of material fact regarding the Defendants'
liability for damages sustained by the Plaintiffs." In
their supporting memorandum, Defendants argued that there was
no evidence to support a finding that Ms. Usie failed to
maintain or operate the school bus in a safe and proper
manner. Defendants also argued that there was no evidence to
support a finding of negligent hiring or negligent
supervision on the part of St. Martin Parish School Board
and/or Dr. Beebe. In support of their motion for summary
judgment, Defendants attached excerpts from Ms. Usie's
deposition, as well as excerpts from Mr. Senegal's
hearing on Defendants' motion for summary judgment was
held November 7, 2016. Plaintiffs did not file an opposition
to the motion, and neither Plaintiffs' counsel, nor
Plaintiffs, were present for the hearing. The trial
court's minutes pertaining to the summary judgment
[Defendants' counsel] Ms. Haynes stated she has not
received an opposition. The court stated he has not received
a summary judgment either. Ms. Hanes [sic] assumed this
matter is unopposed.
The court granted the summary judgment due to no opposing
counsels are present and it is past 10:00 a.m.
On November 23, 2016, the trial court rendered judgment
ordering "that the Summary Judgment filed on behalf of
ST. MARTIN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD, BRITTANY USIE AND LOTTIE P.
BEEBE, is hereby GRANTED at Plaintiff's costs."
thereafter filed a motion seeking to set aside the summary
judgment, and a hearing was held on March 24, 2017.
Plaintiffs' counsel argued that she did not attend the
hearing on Defendants' motion for summary judgment
because an inspection of the bus had been scheduled for a
date after the scheduled hearing date, and, therefore, she
assumed that the scheduled hearing would not be held.
Ultimately, the trial court signed a judgment denying
Plaintiffs' motion to set aside the judgment on June 12,
2017. Plaintiffs appealed.
October 18, 2017, this court dismissed Plaintiffs' appeal
for lack of jurisdiction because neither the November 7, 2016
judgment nor the June 12, 2017 judgment contained appropriate
decretal language, and it remanded the case to the trial
court for further proceedings. Landry v. Usie,
17-839 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/18/17), 229 So.3d 1012.
remand, Plaintiffs filed a "Motion in Opposition to the
Judgment and Motion to Reset Motion for Summary
Judgment," wherein they argued the written judgment
"attempts to expand the stated judgment to include
individuals, parties, and issues not granted in the initial
order." A hearing on the motion was scheduled for
February 15, 2018.
on January 3, 2018, the trial court signed a judgment
granting Defendants' February 2016 motion for summary
judgment and dismissing with prejudice Plaintiffs' claims
against St. Martin Parish School Board, Ms. Usie, and Dr.
February 6, 2016, Plaintiffs filed an "Answer to Motion
for Summary Judgment" and a "Memorandum in Support
of the Motion in Opposition of the Motion for Summary
Judgment" alleging genuine issues of material fact
precluded summary judgment dismissal of Plaintiffs'
matter was heard as scheduled on February 15, 2018. At this
time, Plaintiffs' counsel objected to the scope of the
summary judgment, arguing that it dismissed claims that were
not at issue. The trial court noted counsel's objection,
but denied Plaintiffs' motion. The trial court signed a
judgment on March 8, 2018, denying Plaintiffs'
"Motion in Opposition [to] the Judgment and Motion to
Reset Motion for Summary Judgment[.]"
Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of the January 3, 2018
summary judgment. On appeal, Plaintiffs present the following
as issues for review: (1)"Did the trial [c]ourt err in
granting of a motion for summary judgment while discovery is
ongoing?" and (2) "Did the trial [c]ourt err in
failing to grant [P]laintiffs' motion to reconsider ...