A genuine issue is one as to which reasonable persons could disagree; if reasonable persons could reach only one conclusion, no need for trial on that issue exists and summary judgment is appropriate. To affirm a summary judgment, we must find reasonable minds would inevitably conclude that the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of the applicable law on the facts before the court.
Mr. Jones's wife died after a vehicle driven by a Harrah's New Orleans employee struck her. At the decedent's succession proceeding, a creditor filed a claim seeking payment for a debt owed by the decedent's estate. The trial court granted the creditor's motion for summary judgment and ordered the estate to pay $200,000.00. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeal of Louisiana.
Was it proper for the court to grant a summary judgment?
The Court held that the trial court erred in granting an agent summary judgment as to his claim in the succession proceeding for a debt owned by an estate because the agent failed to prove that no genuine issue of material fact existed and that he was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law for the debt. Even assuming that the agent was allowed to use parol evidence to prove the debt, the only testimony offered to prove the alleged debt was an affidavit of the agent, the creditor himself, and without testimony of another credible witness attesting to the debt as required under law, the evidence was insufficient to prove the alleged debt.