Ellison v. Michelli, CA-6101

CourtCourt of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
Writing for the CourtARMSTRONG
Citation513 So.2d 336
PartiesCharles ELLISON v. Joseph T. MICHELLI, XYZ Insurance Company And Allstate Insurance Company.
Docket NumberNo. CA-6101,CA-6101
Decision Date04 September 1987

Page 336

513 So.2d 336
Joseph T. MICHELLI, XYZ Insurance Company And Allstate
Insurance Company.
No. CA-6101.
Court of Appeal of Louisiana,
Fourth Circuit.
Sept. 4, 1987.

Page 337

Michael E. Katz, Gregory P. Beron, New Orleans, for plaintiff-appellant.

Law Offices of Richard E. Britson, Jr., Deanna A. Dean-Badeaux, New Orleans, for defendants-appellees.



Appellant Charles Ellison appeals a judgment of the District Court granting defendants' exception of res judicata based upon a release plaintiff executed in favor of defendants. We affirm.

The record reflects that on July 14, 1985, Charles Ellison, was involved in an accident in which his vehicle was struck by an automobile owned and operated by defendant, Joseph T. Michelli. Ellison met with an Allstate 1 claims adjuster on July 17, 1985 and after negotiations signed a "Release of all Claims (Open Medical)" form in which he agreed to accept $250.00 in return for his discharge of Michelli and Allstate from any personal injury or damage claims resulting from the accident. The release also stated that any additional reasonable medical expenses resulting from the accident would be paid in an amount up to $500 if claimed within 60 days of the signing of the agreement. Ellison was presented with a draft from Allstate for $348.00 which included the $250.00 for any bodily injury and $98.00 compensation for the loss of the use of his automobile while it was being repaired.

On July 24, 1985 plaintiff executed a second release for $200.00 in discharge of any property damage claims. He was, in fact, presented with drafts for $875.00 and $342.00 in satisfaction of damages sustained to his automobile.

Plaintiff filed suit against Michelli and Allstate on February 16, 1986 seeking damages in the amount of $117,000. (Past medical expenses: $2,000.00; future medical expenses: $5,000; mental pain and anguish: $50,000; physical pain and suffering: $50,000; lost wages and impairment of earning capacity: $10,000).

The defendants subsequently filed an exception of res judicata alleging that the matter in controversy had already been compromised and settled. After a hearing in which both the plaintiff and the Allstate claims adjuster testified the trial court sustained the exception.

On appeal plaintiff maintains that the exception of res judicata was sustained in error as the release executed in favor of Allstate by plaintiff was tainted by vices affecting consent. Plaintiff argues that the July 17, 1985 release was not fully explained to him by the Allstate adjuster and that he thought he was signing a release for reimbursement of medical expenses only. Plaintiff alleges that he did

Page 338

not understand the document to be a waiver of his right to seek further recovery for related losses due to his personal injury.

The requisites necessary to sustain a plea of res judicata are enumerated in LSA-R.S. 13:4231 (formally LSA C.C. Art. 2286):

The authority of the thing adjudged takes place only with respect to what was the object of the judgment. The thing demanded must be the same; the demand must be founded on the same cause of action; the demand must be between the same parties, and formed by them against each other in the same quality.

The absence of any one of the above elements is fatal to an exception of res judicata. First Guaranty Bank v. Durham, 409 So.2d 380 (La.App. 4th Cir.1982). While the doctrine of res judicata is normally based on a conclusive legal presumption of "the thing adjudged" between the same parties and is ordinarily predicated upon a final judgment, the doctrine is also applicable where a transaction or settlement of a disputed or compromised matter has been entered into between the parties. LSA-C.C. art. 3071;...

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13 cases
  • Brown v. Drillers, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Louisiana
    • January 14, 1994
    ...Medical, Disability & Life Trust, 569 So.2d 1115, 1117 (La.App. 3d Cir.1990), writ denied, 572 So.2d 93 (La.1991); Ellison v. Michelli, 513 So.2d 336 (La.App 4th Cir.1987). Those cases stand for the proposition that the burden of establishing the invalidity of a compromise is on the party a......
  • Hoddinott v. Hoddinott, 2017-CA-0841
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • August 1, 2018
    ...favored in the law and the burden of proving the invalidity of a compromise is on the party attacking the agreement. Ellison v. Michelli, 513 So.2d 336, 339 (La. App. 4 Cir.1987). A consent judgment, which has the nature of a compromise, is "a bilateral contract" that allows the parties to ......
  • Hymel v. Eagle, Inc., 2008-CA-1287.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • March 18, 2009
    ...(La.2/25/97), 689 So.2d 1358 and Tarver v. Oliver Van Horn Co., 591 So.2d 1366 (La.App. 4 Cir.1991); See also, Ellison v. Michelli, 513 So.2d 336, 339 (La.App. 4 Public policy favors compromises and the finality of settlements. Brown v. Drillers Inc., 93-1019 (La.1/14/94), 630 So.2d 741; Ri......
  • Elder v. Elder & Elder Enterprises, Ltd., 2006-CA-0703.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • January 11, 2007
    ...of such an agreement is on the party attacking it. Duet v. Lucky, 621 So.2d 168, 172 (La.App. 4 Cir.1993) (citing Ellison v. Michelli, 513 So.2d 336 (La.App. 4th Cir. The issue that Mrs. Elder raises on appeal necessitates that we answer two questions. First, is there a specialized procedur......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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