Petitioners herein the six surviving children, and two surviving grandchildren of John L.
Carter, Sr., who died on December 26, 2018. The Defendants herein are attorney Sherri L.
Hutton, the independent Executrix of the succession of John L. Carter, Sr., and Deandria
Young Carter, the surviving spouse of the decedent.
A Last Will and Testament, purportedly executed on October 4, 2018, was ordered to be
probated by the trial court on January 16, 2019 (Record at page 3). The Testament was
prepared and notarized by Sherri Hutton, who was also named the Independent Executrix on
October 4, 2018 Testament, (Record on Page 3). The petitioners herein were first apprised of
October 4, 2018. Testament when the succession was opened in January of 2019 only after
hiring an attorney, Mr. Osborne.
It is the humble submission of the Petitioner that Sherri Hutton an officer of the court
misleads the court by filling an Affidavit of Death, Domicile and Heirship stating that the
Petitioner died on two separate days, that is October 4, 2018 and December 26, 2018 (Record
at Page 10.) After reviewing the succession documents and purported testament around
February of 2019, the Petitioners filled a Petition and Motion to Annul Probated Testament
on February 21, 2019, based on the fact that the testament failed to satisfy the legal
requirements of a notarial testament under Louisiana Law (Record at page 15.) Specifically,
the testament was defective in law since Sherri Hutton who was named the independent
Executrix had made the will and notarized her own document. This makes the will defective
at law since a notary cannot notarize her own document, this was however not the case as
Sherri Hutton had made and notarized her own document.
The Petitioners believe that there was fraud carried out by Sherri Hutton in being granted
probate to the estate of our father. It is the humble submission of the Petitioners that their
later father and grandfather died on December 26, 2018 and his funeral was on January 7,
2019. The will was probated on January 16, 2019, this raises more than suspicion for fraud as
the hurry of probating a valid will was not warranted.
The hearing that was held in court on April 22, 2019 was a charade that our former attorney
Mr. Osborne was taking the court through. The Petitioners believe that their attorney was
covering up for Sherri Hutton at their expense and that is why he had refused to raise the
pertinent legal issue of Sherri Hutton notarizing a document that placed her as the
Independent Executrix. This made the Petitioners to file a new Petition to Annual Probated
Last Will and Testament on the grounds of fraud. The Defendant have failed, neglected or
remained adamant to respond to the petition and a judgment was rendered on July 29, 2019.
ACTION OF THE TRIAL COURT
The Petitioners filled a Petition and motion to Annul Probated Testament on February 21,
2019. Based on the fact that the testament failed to satisfy the legal requirements of a notarial
testament under Louisiana Law (Record at Page 15). A hearing on the issue was held on
April 22, 2019, and judgment was rendered on May 9, 2019, wherein the trial court rejected
the Petitioner’s argument and denied the Motion to Annul (Record at Page 64)
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
1. Was the Trial Court’s ruling denying Petitioners’ Petition to Annual Probated
Testament, manifestly erroneous?
ISSUES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW
2. Was the Trial Court considerate of the Louisiana law that applies to form for
STATEMENT OF FACTS
1. A last Will and Testament, purportedly executed on October 4, 2018 was ordered to
be probated by the trial court on January 16, 2019 (Record at page 3).
2. The testament was prepared and notarized by Sherri Hutton, a named defendant, who
was also named Independent Executrix in October 4, 2018 Testament. This is in
violation of civil code 577, where a document needs to be witnessed by two
independent witnesses and an independent executrix.
3. A Petition was filled on February 21, 2019 to annual the Probated Testament based on
the fact that the testament was defective in law. Specifically, the testament had not
been witnessed by two independent witnesses and further the author of the document
was named the executrix of the estate of John Carter Sr. this transcends to a violation
of law and Perjury to an officer of the Court who should know better.
4. A hearing on the issue was held on April 22, 2019 and judgment was rendered on
May 9, 2019, wherein the trial court rejected the Petitioners’ arguments and denied
the Motion to Annul. (Record at page. 64)
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS
The trial court erred in concluding that the testament was valid yet it was clear from the face
of it that civil code 1577 was violated by Sherri Hutton who was the attorney, where she drew
the document and notarized it herself yet the same document named her the executrix. This
clearly shows that the testament was invalid at law.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO.1
The Trial Court’s ruling on denying the Petitioner’s Petition to Annul Probated Testament
was made erroneously thus disregarding the provisions of Louisiana law. The applicable
standard of review was stated in Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of
Welsh, LLC, et al v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain, LLC, et al, so 3d-,2014-2592 (La.
12/8/15). It is therefore, the humble petition of the Petitioner to have the court reverse the
decision of the lower court.
The Petitioner submits that there was failure by the court to observe the criteria used by the
courts to validate a will. In this case the will presented by Sherri Hutton was not signed by
the testator on every page. This makes the will null and void as it does not conform to the
provision of La c.c 1577 as it provides that the will needs to be signed and dated at every
page by the testator in presence of two witness and a notary. This however was not observed
by the testator or rather in the will.
It is therefore the humble appeal of the Petitioners to have the court reconsiders the decision
that was made by the lower court in denying the motion of the Petitioner to annul the
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO.2
The Trial Court’s ruling, denying Petitioners’ Petition to Annul Probated Testament, was
clearly erroneous pursuant to Louisiana Law. The courts have been able to set standards for
review that should have been applied by the Trial Court. The court was misled by Mr.
Osborne by false statement thus making an error.
In re Succession of Holbrook, 144 So. 3d 845, 848 (La. 2014). The Louisiana court circuit
was able to hold the will null and void since it lacked form, what seemed to be a minor flaw
of not having the date of the will yet the month and year were provided made the will null
and void. It is with this strict adherence to the provisions of Louisiana Civil Code article 577
that the court ought to have applied it in Annulling the Probated Testament which had named
Sherri Hutton as the executrix.
I Succession of Harlan, 17-1132, p.5 (La 5/1/18), 250 So.3d 220, 223, the Court held that
formalities prescribed for the execution of a testament must be observed or the testament is
absolutely null. The Court erred in not declaring the testament null and void as there was no
attestation to the will and also Sherri Hutton who was the notary was named the executrix in
the same will. This is blunt violation and disregard of the provision of the Louisiana Civil
Code article 1577.
Louisiana Civil Code 1577-1580 provides for the requirements for a valid notarial testament.
Article 1577 provides that “The statutory will shall be prepared in writing and shall be
dated and executed in the following manner:
(1) In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses, the testator shall declare
or signify to them that the instrument is his last will and shall sign his name at the end
of the will and on each other separate page of the instrument.
(2) In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses shall
sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar: “The testator has signed
this will at the end and on each other separate page, and has declared or signified in our
presence that it is his last will and testament, and in the presence of the testator and
each other we have hereunto subscribed our names this _ day of _, 19_.”
Based on the foregoing provision it is trite law that the testators will has to be witnessed, in
this case one of the witness was the notary who was notarizing the said will. This is a clear
violation of the law and it is in this regard that the will was null and void abi intio. The failure
of having another person notarize the said will makes it defective and it cannot be produced
as the last will and testament of the Decedent.
Finally, Petitioners have demonstrated a clear violation of the provisions of the Louisiana
Civil Code 1577, where the notary is notarizing a document that names her as the executrix
of the estate of the decedent. The actions of the notary are a flagrant violation of the letters
and provisions of laws in Louisiana. Therefore, the trial court made an error in not observing
this clear violation of the law committed by the name Independent Executrix that is Sherri
Hutton. It is also important to note in re Succession of Mrs. Sophie Jones Arnouil ECK 98
So. 2d 181 (1957) 233 La. 764, the Supreme Court of Louisiana was able to declare the will
of the testator null and void since the signature of the testator, notary and witnesses be affixed
in the presence of each other, and must appear under the attestation clause. This was not the
case in the will of the decent as there were already two contracting dates that were provided
by Sherri Hutton on the date that the will was signed.
The Trial Court erred in concluding that that will was valid as the Petitioners have clearly
demonstrated that the provisions of La. C.C arts. 1577-1580 of Louisiana had been violated
by the notary who was named the Independent Executrix in the said will.
Based on the foregoing reasons, it is the humble submission of the Petitioners-Appellants
Pray that the Judgment of the trial court be reversed.
Respectfully submitted by:
5076, Woodcrest Dr.
Marrero, LA, 70056.
AFFIDAVIT OF VERIFICATION AND MAILING
STATE OF LOUISIANA
PARISH OF EAST BATON ROUGE
BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, personally came and appeared:
Who after being duly sworn, deposed and stated the following:
He is one of the Plaintiffs-Applicants. The allegations contained in this Appeal Brief are true
and correct to the best of his knowledge. Further, he certifies that copies of the same have this
date been mailed to the following:
Sherri L. Hutton
Attorney at Law
1010 Common Street, Suite 1950
New Orleans, LA 70112
Honorable Lee V. Faulkner, Jr.
24 th JDC, Parish of Jefferson
Thomas F. Donelon Courthouse
Gretna, LA 70053
Timon V. Webre
Attorney at Law
700 Camp Street, Suite 203
New Orleans, LA 70130
Curtis B. Pursell
Clerk of Court
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal
P.O. Box 489
Gretna, LA 70054
SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED before me, Notary Public, this _________ day of
My commission expires upon my death