Articles Posted in Property

house_townhouse_house_exterior_0-1024x768Buying and selling real estate can be stressful because of the emotions and large sums of money involved. In order to have certainty in transactions involving real estate, Louisiana law has strict requirements of what is required to form a valid contract, including signatures from both the buyer and seller. What happens if a would-be buyer unilaterally signs a contract and claims they own your property? 

James Gobert owed a house located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He listed the house for sale with Lutricia Cobb, who owned a real estate company. He signed an agreement with Cobb whereby Cobb would act as his agent to lease and manage his property. 

Linda Haley personally contacted Gobert, without Cobb knowing, and made him an offer to buy his property. Haley asked to rent the property from Gobert while they tried to get a mortgage. Gobert suggested entering into a six-month lease that had an option to purchase. The lease set a monthly rental payment of $800 and included an option to buy the property for $131,000 at the end of the six month lease. 

stairs_away_gradually_rise-683x1024Sometimes, commonplace items such as stairs can lead to serious injuries. This case involves the unfortunate situation of a woman who fell down stairs and was injured. Under what circumstances can a building owner be held responsible for injuries from falling down the stairs? 

Earline Couvillion fell on stairs while leaving a building owned by Riverside Properties. The stairs were made of cement. The stairs were frayed on the edges and did not have a handrail. Couvillion claimed she herniated discs in her back, strained and cut her knee, and damaged her nerves as a result of her fall down the stairs. 

Couvillion filed a lawsuit against Riverside Properties and their insurer, claiming their negligence resulted in her accident. She claimed Riverside Properties had failed to maintain and keep the stairs safe, had not installed handrails, and had otherwise been negligent. Riverside Properties filed a summary judgment motion, which the district court granted. Couvillion appealed.

neighborhood_house_roof_line-1024x768Under the Louisiana Recreational Use Immunity Statues, owners and operators of property used for recreational purposes are immune for liability for tortious acts. Does this immunity apply when a child is injured playing in a gated residential community? 

Three Doyle children were playing in the common area of their subdivision in Covington, Louisiana when a rotted tree fell on one of the children, severely injuring him. His parents filed a lawsuit against Lonesome Development, the Natchez Trace Property Owners Association, Renaissance Property Management, and their insurers. The Doyles claimed Lonesome and Natchez Trace were responsible for maintaining the common area of the subdivision. The Doyles also claimed Lonesome, Natchez Trace, and Renaissance had responsibility and control for the rotted tree and should have known it posed an unreasonable risk of harm. 

Lonesome was the original owner of the Natchez Trace subdivision. Natchez Trace had an agreement with Renaissance, whereby Renaissance was responsible for maintaining and managing the homeowners’ association. Lonesome and its insurer filed a summary judgment motion, arguging it was immune from liability under La. R.S. 9:2791 and 9:2795 (the Recreational Use Immunity Statutes). Renaissance and Natchez Trace subsequently filed almost identical summary judgment motions. The trial court granted Natchez Trace’s summary judgment motion, finding it was immune under the Recreational Use Immunity Statutes, but denied Lonesome and Renaissance’s summary judgment motions. 

spur_gasoline_station-1024x681If you slip and fall at a car dealership because of wet floors, you might think you have a slam dunk case. However, if the condition that caused your fall might be considered open and obvious, you could face an uphill battle. 

Anna Landry took her vehicle to Leson Chevrolet in Harvey, Louisiana, to receive regular service. On her drive there, it started raining. An employee told her to park her car in one of the four service bays. When Landry got out of her car, she stepped onto the floor and immediately fell. She subsequently went to the emergency room, where she learned she had broken her tailbone. Landry filed a lawsuit against Leson, claiming she fell because of their slick and wet floors. She said the excess water and puddles were a hazardous condition, so she was entitled to damages for negligence and premises liability. 

Leson filed a summary judgment motion, claiming they were not liable for Landry’s injuries under La. R.S. 9:2800.6 because any water was an open and obvious condition. Leson also argued Landry did not have any evidence that Leson had constructive or actual notice of the allegedly hazardous condition. Landry argued summary judgment was inappropriate because there were genuine issues of material fact. For example, testimony from Leson employees indicated Leson did not have any policies in place for maintaining the floor of their service bays and did not warn customers of potentially hazardous conditions. The trial court granted Leson’s summary judgment motion. Landry appealed. 

the_samuel_young_house-1024x683Owning property is not easy, especially when you have to share ownership with multiple individuals. Co-ownership can present challenging issues, especially when one owner wants to make renovations or sell the property. This case examines a dispute among family members involving property in the Parish of St. Bernard in Louisiana. 

The plaintiffs, including Charles Gettys, Jr., and defendants, including William Gettys, each had a one-fifth interest in the at-issue property. The plaintiffs sued to have the property sold and the proceeds divided among the five co-owners. William responded, claiming after Hurricane Katrina, the defendants said they no longer wanted to have an interest in the property and did not want to spend any more money on the property or repairs.  William claimed he completed a property renovation and moved into the house following Hurricane Katrina. William claimed before Hurricane Katrina that he had agreed with Charles that they would renovate the property together and then sell it. Then, they would split the money they made from the sale. The renovations purportedly cost $46,000. William claimed Charles had agreed to split the renovation costs with him.  

However, Charles had not paid for his share of the renovations. William argued Charles owed him his share of the total cost of the repairs and renovations. After trial, the court ordered the parties to sell the property via auction, at a $50,000 minimum bid, or through a private sale, with the first $48,476 of the proceeds to go to William to reimburse him for the renovations he carried out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

law_justice_court_judge-1024x768The legal landscape can be full of unexpected twists and turns, and one such situation arose in this perplexing lawsuit. Erika Mann’s post-Hurricane Katrina home-raising project became a legal battle when she filed a lawsuit against Tim Clark Construction LLC and their insurer, Evanston Insurance Company. As the trial court issued a judgment that seemingly favored both parties, questions arose about the validity and coherence of the ruling. Join us as we delve into the intricacies of this case and explore how an inconsistent judgment navigated its way through the appeals process.

Erika Mann hired Tim Clark Construction LLC to raise her house in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as part of Louisiana’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Evanston Insurance Company was Tim Clark’s insurer for the relevant period. Its policy included a commercial general liability form covering bodily injury and property damage. It was an occurrence policy, which required that the injuries and damage occurred during the policy period. Additionally, the insurance policy had a pre-existing endorsement, which excluded any damage or loss that began to occur from an occurrence that began before the policy period. 

The construction took a few months, after which Tim Clark Construction obtained a certification of completion and occupancy. However, elevation studies revealed that the house had not been appropriately elevated. Mann then informed Tim Clark Construction it had not properly completed the project, and the house had failed inspection.

defense_gov_news_photo_526-1024x680When renting an apartment, tenants expect a safe and secure living environment. However, what happens when an accident occurs due to negligence by the apartment owner and management company? If a leaky roof in your apartment injures you, can you make a claim for your injuries? The following lawsuit answers that question. 

Kim Faciane lived in the Golden Key Apartments. After moving out, she filed a lawsuit against Golden Key, who owned the apartment complex, and Ohio Management, who managed the complex, and its insurer (collectively, the defendants). She claimed one night, while asleep in her apartment, sheetrock fell from the ceiling because of the leak. She claimed it hit her leg and caused her to slip and injure her back and neck. She claimed the defendants were liable because they kept the apartment in disrepair, did not repair the ceiling after being informed it leaked, and otherwise not properly maintaining or inspecting the apartments. 

The defendants filed a summary judgment motion, arguing that the lease had a provision that required Faciane to hold them harmless for any property or personal injury claims. They argued under La. R.S. 9:3221, Faciane was responsible for the premises’ conditions unless they were neglectful or failed to take action after she notified them in writing of a defect. They argued they did not know of any issues with the roof until after the accident occurred. Faciane countered the defendants had been notified about issues with the apartment’s ceiling at least two times before. The trial court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion and dismissed Faciane’s lawsuit, who appealed.

oil_oil_production_oil-1024x768Can a trial court’s approval of a settlement agreement in a property contamination lawsuit be upheld without determining remediation requirements and the deposit of funds into the court registry? This question lies at the heart of the following case, which features an appeal of the trial court’s judgment approving a settlement agreement regarding property contamination caused by historic oil and gas operations. The appeal raises issues of statutory interpretation and whether the trial court erred in its application of the law. The resolution of this question has significant implications for the approval process of settlement agreements in similar cases governed by Act 312.

In this case, Certain Insurers appealed the trial court’s approval of a settlement agreement in a property contamination lawsuit. The insurers raised two issues for the court to decide: (1) whether the trial court erred by not determining whether remediation was required before approving the settlement, and (2) if remediation was necessary, whether the court erred by not ordering the deposit of funds into the court registry.

The litigation involved historic oil and gas operations in Jefferson Davis Parish, and the plaintiffs sued Riceland and BP for damages and remediation. Riceland, in turn, filed a third-party demand against Certain Insurers seeking coverage under applicable insurance policies. After years of litigation, the plaintiffs, BP, and Riceland reached a compromise to resolve all claims. The settlement agreement included provisions for remediation by state regulatory standards, and Riceland assigned its rights against Certain Insurers to the plaintiffs.

roofers_job_people_roof-1024x683When accidents occur on a construction site, questions of liability and responsibility arise, leaving property owners wondering about their potential legal obligations. In a compelling lawsuit from Alexandria, Louisiana, the issue of whether a homeowner can be held liable for injuries sustained by a roofer while working on their property takes center stage. The case of Robert Schram v. Ronnie Waters provides valuable insights into this perplexing matter, shedding light on the factors determining a homeowner’s liability when a roofer falls from their roof.

Robert Schram, an employee of Dan Baker, slipped and fell while working on a tin roof. He fell while trying to catch a nail gun thrown from the ground causing him to break his ankle. He sued the property owner, Ronnie Waters, and his insurer Colony Specialty Insurance Company (Colony), claiming Waters was liable for his injuries because he was supposed to provide the necessary safety materials for the job. 

The trial court granted Colony’s and Waters’s joint motion for summary judgment to dismiss the claims, which found no genuine issue of fact on the question of Waters’s liability. Schram appealed, claiming the trial judge committed a legal error in his decision because there are three issues of material fact concerning Waters’s negligence.

man_person_street_sidewalk-1024x683Parents can imagine all sorts of dangerous situations their children could find themselves in walking to school – kidnappings, getting hit by a car, bullying. But what happens if the cause of the injury was a defective sidewalk the city was supposed to maintain? Can the city be held liable? The following case examines the liability of a city when a teenager is injured due to a defective sidewalk in front of her high school.

While fifteen-year-old Cora Minix was walking to her high school in Rayne, Louisiana, she fell on a sidewalk in front of the school and was injured. Her parents filed a lawsuit against the City of Rayne, claiming the sidewalk’s concrete was cracked and shifted as Minix walked on it, causing her to fall. 

The city claimed the sidewalk’s condition was open and obvious and not unreasonably dangerous. At a trial, the court ruled in favor of the City of Rayne, finding the sidewalk’s defect was open and obvious and did not present an unreasonable risk of harm. Further, the city did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the sidewalk’s defect. The Minixes appealed. 

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