News: District Court, Appellate Court, and Supreme Court Success
Apr 25, 2023
The BBFV team of Dawn Bonnecaze, Chip Marionneaux, and Jade Avant recently secured several victories on behalf their client in a contentious family dispute brought in a lawsuit challenging their client’s actions under a power of attorney executed in her favor by her mother. The lawsuit was filed pursuant to the recently enacted “Action to Review” statute, La. R.S. 9:3851. The Plaintiff in this case sued her elderly mother and her sister (BBFV’s client), asking the Court to review the sister’s acts as the mother’s mandatary (aka, “power of attorney”), alleging, among other things, that her sister’s power of attorney was “procured by means of undue influence,” and that her sister “mismanaged, concealed, and divested” her mother’s assets. Plaintiff also asserted a claim for intentional interference with contractual rights against BBFV’s client alleging that she unduly influenced her mother to withdraw an annuity contract, depriving the Plaintiff of money she would have otherwise inherited as an irrevocable beneficiary under the contract. With the help of her independent counsel, the Plaintiff’s mother filed a Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff’s mandate claims pursuant to La. R.S. 9:3852 and a Motion for Attorney’s Fees. After hearing the mother’s testimony, 19th JDC District Court Judge M. Trudy White granted the Motion to Dismiss, finding that the Plaintiff’s mother was able to comprehend generally the nature and consequences of the acts of the mandatary, and that the mandatary's authority to act was not the result of fraud, duress, or undue influence. The Plaintiff appealed. BBFV’s team, working with the mother’s counsel, successfully defended the District Court’s ruling before the First Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court, resulting in the first reported decision under these newly enacted statutes. Following the ruling on the Motion to Dismiss the mandate claims, BBFV filed an Exception of No Cause of Action as to Plaintiff’s claims for Intentional Interference With a Contract (“IIWC”), on the basis that the facts, as alleged, failed to state a claim for IIWC as that claim is narrowly recognized under Louisiana Law. The District Court sustained BBFV’s Exception, and, in a recent decision, the First Circuit affirmed the District Court’s ruling, dismissing all remaining claims against BBFV’s client.
BBFV Founding Member, Dawn Bonnecaze
BBFV Partner, Chip Marionneaux
BBFV Associate, Jade Avant