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 2019 News Releases

News Release #045

 

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE
NEWS RELEASE #045
   
FROM: CLERK OF SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA  

 

The Opinions handed down on the 22nd day of October, 2019, are as follows:

 

BY JOHNSON, C.J.:

2019-CC-00052 Beverly Smith vs. Citadel Insurance Company as Successor to Gramercy Insurance Company and Goauto Insurance Company (Parish of East Baton Rouge)
For the above reasons, we hold an insurer’s duty of good faith owed to its insured under La. R.S. 22:1973 does not exist separate and apart from an insurer’s contractual obligations. The duty of good faith is codified in La. R.S. 22:1973, but this duty is an outgrowth of the contractual and fiduciary relationship between the insured and the insurer, and the duty of good faith and fair dealing emanates from the contract between the parties. Thus, first-party bad faith claims against an insurer are governed by the ten-year prescriptive period set forth in La. C.C. art. 3499. Consequently, Ms. Smith’s first-party bad faith claim against GoAuto, brought pursuant to an assignment of rights from the insured, was subject to a 10-year prescriptive period and is not prescribed. The district court correctly overruled GoAuto’s exception of prescription.
AFFIRMED.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Weimer, J., concurs in the result and assigns reasons.

 

 

BY WEIMER, J.:

2019-C-00405 Succession of Edward Robin, Sr. c/w Succession of Edward Robin, Sr. (Parish of St. Bernard)
This court granted the writ application of an heir to determine the validity of an undated act signed by a testator in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public in which the testator declared that all of his prior testaments were revoked.  Although lacking a date, this court finds that the act of revocation is valid as an authentic act.  Because extrinsic evidence regarding the date on which the act of revocation was executed did not “negate or vary” the content of the act of revocation, the lower courts improperly applied La. C.C. art. 1848 to preclude the admission of such evidence.  The extrinsic evidence establishes that the act of revocation was executed after the testament at issue in this case.  Because the testament was revoked by the testator, the trial court’s judgment is reversed, and this matter is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Hughes, J., concurs with reasons.

 

 

BY CRICHTON, J.:

2018-CK-01571 State of Louisiana in the Interest of A.N. (Parish of Orleans)
We granted the writ in this matter primarily to address the constitutionality of mandatory lifetime sex offender registration as applied to a juvenile. This appeal arises from an application for post-conviction relief in which the juvenile argued that mandatory lifetime sex offender registration pursuant to R.S. 15:542, as applied to a fourteen-year-old juvenile, violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of inflicting “cruel and unusual punishments.” U.S. Const. amend. VIII. Finding that A.N. did not have a right to file for post-conviction relief because he was not in custody at the time of his application, we affirm the denial of A.N.’s post-conviction relief application by the juvenile court. Since A.N. is denied relief on the basis of custody, all remaining issues presented by his writ application, including whether R.S. 15:542 is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment, are moot.
AFFIRMED.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Weimer, J., concurs and assigns reasons.
Hughes, J., dissents with reasons.
Chehardy, J., additionally concurs for the reasons assigned by Kirby, J.
Kirby, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.
  

2018-CK-01763 State of Louisiana in the Interest of E.S. (Parish of St. Tammany)
We granted the writ in this matter primarily to address the constitutionality of mandatory lifetime sex offender registration under R.S. 15:542 as applied to a juvenile.  This is a direct appeal by the juvenile, E.S., who was adjudicated delinquent for the first degree rape of a child under the age of thirteen years old.   Finding that there was insufficient evidence to determine E.S. was fourteen years old at the time of the offense, and therefore mandatory disposition pursuant to Ch. C. art. 897.1 and R.S. 15:542 is inapplicable to the case at hand, we affirm the adjudication of first degree rape, reverse the court of appeal’s determination that there was sufficient evidence to establish E.S.’s age, vacate the disposition of the district court and remand for redisposition.
AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, DISPOSITION VACATED, AND REMANDED FOR REDISPOSITION.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Weimer, J., concurs in the result and assigns reasons.

 

 

BY GENOVESE, J.:

2019-KK-00367 State of Louisiana vs. Fred Reimonenq (Parish of Orleans)
This case involves the authority of the district attorney to dismiss and reinstitute criminal prosecutions. We granted writs to determine whether fundamental fairness and due process prohibit the state from dismissing and reinstituting criminal charges in order to circumvent the normal order of criminal proceedings. Specifically, the district attorney in this case dismissed and reinstituted charges against defendant in response to two adverse rulings in the trial court. The state refiled charges without ever challenging the rulings in the appellate court, and defendant subsequently filed various motions in limine and a motion to quash, which the trial court denied. Because the actions of the state in this matter so undermine the authority of the trial court that it offends bedrock principles of fundamental fairness and due process, we reverse.
REVERSED.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Weimer, J., concurs and assigns reasons.
Hughes, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.
Crichton, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.

 

 

PER CURIAM:

2017-K-00658 State of Louisiana vs. Kenneth Jones (Parish of Orleans)
From the district court's lone statement that it was not satisfied with defendant's proffered race-neutral reasons, we find it inappropriate to infer that the district court did not blur the line between Batson's second and third steps, that the district court was persuaded after it properly weighed the State's proof against the defendant's proffered race-neutral reasons, and that the court did not impermissibly shift the burden onto the defense to rebut the State's prima facie case. See State v. Harris, 15-0995 (La. 10/1916), 217 So.3d 255; State v. Nelson, 10-1724 (La. 3/13/12), 85 So.3d 21; State v. Green, 94-0887 (La. 5/22/95), 655 So.2d 272. Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeal, vacate the convictions and sentences, and remand the case to the district court for a new trial. We also encourage the district court to consider carefully on retrial: (1) whether the State can present sufficient competent evidence at trial that defendant engaged in the alleged other crimes; (2) whether the other crimes evidence, considered on an individual basis, has an independent relevance outside of its implications for defendant's character; (3) whether the admission of the State's other crimes evidence comports with the rules governing hearsay; and (4) whether the probative value of the State's other crimes evidence "is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, or waste of time" in accordance with La. C.E. art. 403.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Johnson, C.J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.
Weimer, J., concurs in part and dissents in part and assigns reasons.
Crichton, J., dissents and assigns reasons.
Chehardy, J., dissents for the reasons assigned by Crichton, J.

 

2019-K-00028 State of Louisiana vs. Desmond C. Parker (Parish of Orleans)
We find the lack of an individually articulated waiver of each of the three Boykin rights in the documentary evidence produced by the State constitutes affirmative evidence showing an infringement of defendant’s rights or a procedural irregularity in the taking of the plea, which is sufficient to shift the burden of proving the constitutionality of the plea to the State. Because the State rested on this documentary evidence and produced nothing else, the district court correctly rejected the prior out-of-state guilty plea and adjudicated defendant as a third, rather than a fourth, felony offender. Accordingly, we affirm the ruling of the court of appeal that found defendant was correctly adjudicated a third-felony offender. 
AFFIRMED.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Weimer, J., dissents and assigns reasons.
Crichton, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.
  

2019-C-00053 LeBlanc Marine, L.L.C. vs. State of Louisiana, Division of Administration, Office of Facility Planning and Control (Parish of East Baton Rouge)
In this case, we are called upon to decide whether a public entity’s bid advertisement can impose more restrictive requirements than those requirements set forth in the Louisiana Public Bid Law, La. R.S. 38:2212, et seq. For the reasons that follow, we conclude a public entity may not deviate from the statutory requirements. The judgment of the court of appeal is reversed, and the petition of LeBlanc Marine, L.L.C. is dismissed with prejudice.
REVERSED.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

 

2019-KO-00203 State of Louisiana vs. Henry Pierre Lyles (Parish of St. John)
We find that 2017 La. Acts 282, § 2, which provides that Act 282 shall become effective November 1, 2017, and shall have prospective application only to offenders whose convictions became final on or after November 1, 2017 is unequivocal, and therefore not subject to further judicial construction. For persons like defendant, whose convictions became final on or after November 1, 2017, and whose habitual offender bills were filed before that date, the full provisions of Act 282 apply. Accordingly, we find defendant was adjudicated and sentenced pursuant to the wrong version of the Habitual Offender Law. We reverse the court of appeal, vacate the habitual offender adjudication and sentence, and remand for further proceedings. On remand, the district court is directed to apply the version of the Habitual Offender Law, La.R.S. 15:529.1, as it was amended by 2017 La. Acts. 282, and before its amendment by 2018 La. Acts 542.
REVERSED, HABITUAL OFFENDER ADJUDICATION AND SENTENCE VACATED, AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

Chief Judge Susan M. Chehardy of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, appointed as Justice pro tempore, sitting for the vacancy in the First District, is recused in this matter.
Retired Judge Michael Kirby appointed Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J.

Crichton, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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