Fishman Haygood Appellate Team Wins Reversal in Louisiana Second Circuit

On May 10, 2023, the Second Circuit Court of Appeal (State of Louisiana) issued a reversal of a Fourth Judicial District Court (Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana) ruling in a case involving a lender liability claim against Cross Keys Bank. The plaintiff-appellant, Brokenburn, Inc., filed a petition for damages on Feb. 6, 2019, alleging that defendants Cross Keys Bank and loan officer Bradley Bridges breached the terms of an executed Collateral Release Agreement that was to govern a like-kind exchange of several commercial properties. When Cross Keys backed out of the deal and forced Brokenburn to repay most of its outstanding debts, Brokenburn alleged that the bank had breached the affirmative duty of good faith it assumed in the parties’ Collateral Release Agreement (CRA). On June 29, 2022, the trial court had granted the defendants’ exception of no cause of action pursuant to the Louisiana Credit Agreement Statute, dismissing Brokenburn’s claims with prejudice.

Second Circuit Judges James M. Stephens, Craig O. Marcotte, and Danny Ellender reversed that decision, holding that the Collateral Release Agreement is not a credit agreement and that Brokenburn can enforce the Collateral Release Agreement according to its terms and assert standard Louisiana claims for breach of contract, detrimental reliance, and negligent misrepresentation. In remanding the case for further proceedings, the Court held that notwithstanding the Louisiana Credit Agreement Statute, executed contracts with banks that are not credit agreements remain enforceable, because otherwise contracts that banks choose to execute would “be rendered meaningless.” Click here to read the published decision.

Fishman Haygood attorneys Jason Burge, Kaja Elmer, and Tad Bartlett represent Brokenburn.

Our lawyers handle appeals for both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation across many subject matters, in review of administrative proceedings, and, as part of our pro bono commitment, in immigration and post-conviction proceedings. The appellate practice at Fishman Haygood is not limited to representation before the appellate courts, but also includes advising clients and their trial counsel on litigation issues to ensure proper preservation of appellate issues at the trial court. Click here to read more about our Appellate Group.