STEVENS CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN, L.L.C.
ST. TAMMANY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT NO. 1
Appealed from the 22nd Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Docket Number
2018-14143 Honorable Martin E. Coady, Judge Presiding.
Charles K. Chauvin Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant Destrehan,
LA Stevens Construction & Design, L.L.C.
G. Ingram Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Slidell, LA St.
Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1.
Dale Clary Counsel for Intervenor/Appellee Adrian G. Nadeau
Domain Architecture, APAC, J. Weston Clark Greenleaf Lawson
Architects, Baton Rouge, LA APAC, and Domain Architecture
Greenleaf Baton Rouge, Architects, A Joint Venture.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUIDRY, McDONALD, McCLENDON, WELCH,
HIGGINBOTHAM, CRAIN THERIOT, HOLDRIDGE, CHUTZ, PENZATO, AND
Stevens Construction & Design, L.L.C., appeals a judgment
of the district court denying its petition for a preliminary
injunction. For the following reasons, we dismiss the appeal
and decline to consider the related writ applications, 2018
CW 1759 and 2019 CW 0642, which were referred to the merits
panel for consideration, as untimely.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
11, 2017, Stevens Construction & Design, L.L.C. (Stevens
Construction) entered into a contract with the St. Tammany
Fire Protection District No. 1 (Fire District), wherein
Stevens Construction would serve as the general contractor
for the construction of a new fire station and headquarters
building located at 522 Robert Boulevard and 530 Robert
Boulevard in Slidell, Louisiana for a total sum of $2, 845,
678.00. The architect for the project was a joint venture
between two architectural firms, Domain Architecture, APAC
and Greenleaf Lawson Architects, APAC (the Architect). The
contract provided for completion of the project in 365
calendar days. Construction work on the project began on June
1, 2017, pursuant to a "notice to commence work"
issued by the Fire District. An additional 47 calendar days
were added to the contract's completion date pursuant to
approved change orders.
19, 2018, the Architect sent a letter to Stevens
Construction, notifying it that the contractual date for
substantial completion, July 18, 2018, had passed and
requesting that Stevens Construction provide a
"realistic completion plan by Monday, July 23."
Stevens Construction, through owner Adam Stevens, responded
on July 23, 2018, with a "scheduled contractual
completion response," which proposed that the project
would be substantially complete by September 14, 2018. On
July 27, 2018, Fire Chief Chris Kaufmann issued a letter to
Stevens Construction and its surety by electronic and
certified mail to the addresses listed in the contract,
notifying them that the Fire District was considering
declaring Stevens Construction in default under the contract
and requesting a meeting with Stevens Construction and its
surety within ten days. Counsel for Stevens Construction
responded on August 6, 2018, agreeing to a meeting.
Subsequently, the Architect outlined various concerns with
the project in a letter dated August 15, 2018, which was sent
to Stevens Construction, its surety, and the Fire District.
On August 22, 2018, Chief Kaufmann sent a letter to Stevens
Construction and its surety by electronic and certified mail,
summarizing his concerns with Stevens Construction's
performance on the project and directing Stevens Construction
to stop work on the project by 4:00 p.m. on August 23, 2018.
August 23, 2018, Stevens Construction filed a verified
petition for temporary restraining order, preliminary
injunction, permanent injunction, and writ of mandamus.
Pertinent to this appeal, Stevens Construction alleged that
the Fire District had invalidly issued a stop work order with
the purported intent to terminate Stevens Construction from
the project; therefore, Stevens Construction was seeking a
temporary restraining order and injunctive relief to prohibit
the Fire District's purportedly invalid actions. On
August 24, 2018, the district court signed a temporary
restraining order, enjoining the Fire District from taking
any further action to enforce the subject stop work order or
otherwise bar Stevens Construction from continuing to
complete its work on the project. That same day, the
Architect issued a certification in its role as the initial
decision maker under the General Conditions of the contract,
providing reasons why sufficient cause existed for
terminating Stevens Construction under the terms of the
contract. After receiving the certification-of-cause letter
from the Architect, the Fire District issued a letter to
Stevens Construction and its surety, dated August 24, 2018,
via electronic and certified mail, providing seven days
written notice prior to the Fire District's termination
for cause of Stevens Construction. On September 4, 2018, the
Fire District issued a Notice of Termination to Stevens
Construction and its surety by both electronic and certified
mail, citing Articles 14.2.1. and 14.2.2 of the General
Conditions and Article 3.10.3 of the Supplementary Conditions
of the contract, detailing the reasons the Fire District
found sufficient cause for terminating Stevens Construction
and attaching the Architect's certification.
district court held a hearing on the preliminary injunction
on September 4 and 6, 2018. Following the hearing, wherein
the court heard testimony and received evidence, the district
court took the matter under advisement. On September 13,
2018, the district court issued its reasons for judgment,
finding that in the time between the issuance of the
temporary restraining order and the hearing on the
preliminary injunction, the Fire District had complied with
the terms of the contract between it and Stevens Construction
in order to terminate Stevens Construction. Accordingly, the
district court found that Stevens Construction's request
for a preliminary injunction should be denied, and that its
temporary restraining order should likewise be dissolved. The
district court instructed counsel for the Fire District to
submit a judgment reflecting the court's ruling.
judgment submitted by the Fire District was signed by the
district court, with a date of September 20,
2018. On October 4, 2018, Stevens Construction
filed a motion for new trial from the district court's
September 20, 2018 judgment denying its request for
preliminary injunction and dissolving its temporary
restraining order. The following day, the district court
signed a rule ordering the Fire District and Architect to
show cause as to why Stevens Construction's motion should
not be granted. The district court specifically wrote on the
order that the "hearing is limited in scope only to
reconsideration of plaintiffs objection raised regarding the
language of the September 20, 2018 judgment and will be
limited to oral arguments only." On October 10, 2018,
Stevens Construction filed a motion and order for suspensive
appeal from the September 20, 2018 judgment, which was denied
by the district court.
November 2, 2018, the district court signed a judgment
purporting to "correct and amend" the September 20,
2018 judgment. However, the district court's ruling on
the preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order
remained unchanged. On November 14, 2018, Stevens
Construction filed an amended and supplemental motion for