Reyes v. Julia Place Condominiums Homeowners Association, Inc. et al
ORDERED that Julia Place's 669 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the Claims for Property Damages is GRANTED. Plaintiff's property damage claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Carl Barbier. (Reference: 12-2043)(gec)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
NICOLE REYES, ET AL.
JULIA PLACE CONDOMINIUM
INC., ET AL.
ORDER & REASONS
Homeowners Association, Inc.’s (“Julia Place”) Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment on Property Damage (R. Doc. 669), an opposition
thereto filed by Plaintiff, Nicole Reyes (R. Doc. 712), and a reply
to Plaintiff’s opposition filed by Julia Place (R. Doc. 748).
Having considered the motion and legal memoranda, the record, and
the applicable law, the Court finds that the motion should be
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Condominiums. Along with a myriad of other claims, Plaintiff has
made a claim for personal property damages. See (R. Doc. 40 at 2.)
Plaintiff’s condominium was located on the fourth floor of the
condominium building. There was not another condominium unit above
Plaintiff’s unit. Rather, the roof of the condominium building was
September 2012, Hurricane Isaac damaged the roof of Julia Place
Condominiums above Plaintiff’s condominium unit. As a result,
damage, and that Julia Place refused to inspect her unit or cover
the costs of repairing her unit. Again in February 2014, Plaintiff
alleges that the roof had a leak and a heavy rain caused additional
damages to her unit, which Plaintiff claims that Julia Place will
emotional distress damages and the repair costs associated with
repairing the damage to her unit.
On October 9, 2016, Julia Place filed the present Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment on the Claims for Property Damage (R.
Doc. 669). In short, Julia Place argues that Plaintiff cannot prove
that any damage to the roof of the condominium unit caused water
to enter her unit. Julia Place further argues that Plaintiff has
not produced any evidence of damages. (R. Doc. 669-1 at 3.) In
response, Plaintiff argues that she is capable of testifying as to
the cause of the water damage and that Julia Place is legally
required to make repairs for damages to the roof because it is a
“common element” 1 of the condominium. (R. Doc. 712.) Julia Place’s
motion is now before the Court on the briefs and without oral
In general, Julia Place is responsible for repairs to “common elements” of
the condominium. The Julia Place Condominium Declarations provide examples of
certain “common elements,” but the parties do not dispute that the roof of the
condominium complex is a “common element.”
1. Julia Place’s Arguments
designate an expert witness who will testify as to the alleged
cause of Plaintiff’s property damage. (R. Doc. 669-1 at 5.) Julia
Place argues that specialized and technical knowledge is required
to discuss the origin of the alleged leak. Id. Further, Julia Place
argues that Plaintiff has failed to produce any documents (i.e.
repair invoices, estimates, receipts) to support her property
damage claim. Id. Julia Place further argues that even if an expert
is not needed to prove Plaintiff’s property damage claim Nicole
Reyes cannot testify to such damage. Julia Place asserts that
Plaintiff Nicole Reyes has admitted that she does not know the
cause of the damage to her unit.
repairing the interior of Plaintiff’s condominium unit. Id. at 6.
Julia Place asserts that pursuant to the Louisiana Condominium
replacement of her individual unit. Id. (citing La. Rev. Stat.
9:1123.107). Julia Place argues that interior sheet rock damage is
not a common element, and therefore Julia Place is not responsible
Plaintiff has not produced any no evidence that Julia Place fails
to maintain property insurance for the condominium building. Id.
2. Plaintiff’s Arguments
Plaintiff argues that she is able to testify that the damage
to her unit came from a leak in the roof of the condominium that
was caused by Hurricane Isaac. (R. Doc. 712.) Plaintiff asserts
that expert testimony is not necessary prove the cause of the water
damage. Id. at 2. Plaintiff argues that the LCA and Julia Place’s
Condominium Declarations require Julia Place to make such repairs.
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that because the damage to her unit
was caused by the roof, a common element of the condominium, Julia
Place is responsible for making repairs to Plaintiff’s condominium
Summary judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (citing Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(c)); Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075
(5th Cir. 1994). When assessing whether a dispute as to any
material fact exists, a court considers “all of the evidence in
the record but refrains from making credibility determinations or
Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395, 398 (5th Cir. 2008). All
reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party,
allegations or unsubstantiated assertions. Little, 37 F.3d at
1075. A court ultimately must be satisfied that “a reasonable jury
could not return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Delta, 530
F.3d at 399.
If the dispositive issue is one on which the moving party
will bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving party “must
come forward with evidence which would ‘entitle it to a directed
verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial.’” Int’l
Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally’s, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1264-65 (5th Cir.
1991). The nonmoving party can then defeat the motion by either
countering with sufficient evidence of its own, or “showing that
the moving party’s evidence is so sheer that it may not persuade
the reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict in favor of the
moving party.” Id. at 1265.
If the dispositive issue is one on which the nonmoving party
will bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may
satisfy its burden by merely pointing out that the evidence in the
record is insufficient with respect to an essential element of the
nonmoving party’s claim. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. The burden
then shifts to the nonmoving party, who must, by submitting or
referring to evidence, set out specific facts showing that a
genuine issue exists. See id. at 324. The nonmovant may not rest
upon the pleadings, but must identify specific facts that establish
a genuine issue for trial. See, e.g., id. at 325; Little, 37 F.3d
property damage claim. (R. Doc. 669.) “Under Louisiana law, when
property is damaged through the fault of another, the primary goal
is to restore the property, as nearly as possible, to the state it
was in immediately prior to the damage. It is well settled, in
this regard, that the measure of property damage is the cost of
restoring the property to its former condition.” In re ChineseManufactured Drywall Prods. Liab. Litig., No. 09-6050, 2010 WL
1710434, at *23 (E.D. La. April 27, 2010) (citing Summarell v.
Ross, 95-27,160 (La. App. 2 Cir. 8/23/95); 660 So.2d 112, 116-17).
“Generally, Louisiana courts consider the cost of restoration to
be the proper measure of damage where the thing damaged can be
Plaintiff has not produced any evidence that the cause of the
damage to her condominium unit was a leak in the roof of the
deposition testimony that she did not know what caused the water
damage to her unit. See (R. Doc. 748-1 at 1-4.) Additionally,
Plaintiff has not identified any other witness that will testify
to the cause of the damage to her unit. Further, Plaintiff admits
she has not spent any money to fix her unit, and has not received
an estimate from anyone as to the cost of such repair. Id. at 5.
Accordingly, because Plaintiff has not identified any damages and
has not identified a single witness that can testify to the cause
of the damage to her unit, Plaintiff’s property damage claims must
Finally, Plaintiff failed to address Julia Place’s argument
that it properly maintained property insurance for the condominium
building. (R. Doc. 669-1 at 8.) “Failure to address a claim in
response to a defendant’s summary judgment motion constitutes
abandonment of the claim.” Valenza v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No.
16-2469, 2016 WL 7407178, at *4 (E.D. La. Dec. 22, 2016) (citing
Venezia v. ConcoPhillips Co., No. 12-2168, 2014 WL 107692, at *13
(E.D. La. Jan. 8, 2014; Vela v. City of Houston, 276 F.3d 659,
678-79 (5th Cir. 2001)). Accordingly, any claim that Julia Place
did not properly maintain property insurance for the condominium
building is abandoned and dismissed.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Julia Place’s Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment on the Claims for Property Damages (R. Doc. 669)
is GRANTED. Plaintiff’s property damage claims are DISMISSED WITH
New Orleans, Louisiana this 26th day of January, 2017.
CARL J. BARBIER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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