Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 1916 no longer applies strictly to jury cases. House Bill No. 414, effective August 15, 2006, amended Article 1916 to apply to judge and jury trials, and to establish time delays for the preparation and execution of judgments, including contradictory motions, exceptions and compromise agreements. (Link to House Bill)
Former Article 1916 made a distinction between jury trials in which a general verdict was reached and those resulting in a special verdict. In the case of a general verdict, the judge was required to sign a judgment within three days of the verdict. For special verdicts, the judge was allowed unspecified time for deliberation, but was required to sign a judgment.
Amended and reenacted Article 1916 extends the three day rule for judges in jury trials and no longer makes a distinction between general and special verdicts. Regardless of the nature of the verdict rendered, judges must prepare and sign a judgment within ten days of the jury’s verdict. Alternatively, amended Article 1916 gives judges express authority to order counsel for a party to submit a judgment for signature by the court within ten days of the verdict.
With regard to all other matters in which a judgment is rendered but not immediately signed, including confirmations of default, hearings on exceptions and motions, and all other contradictory hearings, judges (or counsel if so ordered) must prepare and sign a judgment within ten days of the ruling. When a matter is taken under advisement, the judge (or counsel if so ordered) shall prepare and sign a judgment according to the delays set forth in Louisiana Revised Statutes 13:4207, i.e. thirty days.
In the event parties in a contested matter reach a compromise agreement which is recited in open court, the court or counsel if so ordered shall reduce the agreement to writing within twenty days of the recital.
Amended and reenacted Article 1916 is expanded in its application, creates consistency among the state courts with regard to the preparation of judgments and fosters efficiency by requiring that that rulings and compromise agreements are promptly prepared and executed. .