Abbreviating LSU in case names
Some changes to my appellate blog

How not to write an appealable judgment

Before you can take an appeal in Louisiana, you must first have an appealable judgment. Often this step is fouled up, especially when the judgment results from a motion for summary judgment or an exception.

A judgment granting summary judgment must say more than “summary judgment is granted.” In two cases decided last year, Louisiana appellate courts found judgments like this deficient and dismissed the appeals for lack of an appealable judgment. See Gaten v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board, 2011-1133 (La. App. 1 Cir. 3/23/12), 91 So. 3d 1073; Tyler v. DeJean, 12-760 (La. App. 3 Cir. 8/22/12), — So. 3d —. Both decisions discuss the kind of language that should have been included in the judgment.

On a related note, a judgment that merely sustains an exception without dismissing all or part of the plaintiff’s petition is probably insufficient for the same reasons that the judgments in Gaten and Tyler were insufficient. Also, a judgment sustaining an exception must normally do one of two things: (1) allow the plaintiff time to amend the petition to remove the grounds for the exception; or (2) dismiss all or part of the plaintiff’s petition. See La. Code Civ. P. arts. 933 and 934. A judgment that merely sustains the exception leaves unanswered the question whether the plaintiff’s petition has been dismissed.

Of course, if the judgment dismisses only part of the plaintiff’s petition or resolves only one issue in the case, consult La. Code Civ. P. art. 1915 to determine whether it is appealable.

For more rules governing the form of judgments, See La. Code Civ. P. arts. 1841, 1911, 1918, 1919, 1921, and 1922.

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