The question of law herein presented is res nova and because of its importance we directed certiorari to the Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit, for review of its judgment which held that plaintiff, Robert L. Morris, III, as a joint tortfeasor, and his insurer, Reliance Insurance Company of Philadelphia, were entitled to recover in a separate or plenary lawsuit the plaintiffs' virile share of money expended as a result of a voluntary compromise between themselves and the injured party, Frederick Elliot, without the knowledge, consent, or concurrence of the other joint tortfeasors, that is, Rudy Kospelich and the Cooperative Cab Company, Inc. Art. VII, Sec. 11, La. Const. of 1921; La.App., 206 So.2d 155; 251 La. 1078, 208 So.2d 535. The Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court.
Defendants-applicants contend that the Court of Appeal erred in its interpretation of LSA-C.C. Arts. 2103 and 2104 as they may apply to debts ex contractu and an action for damages arising ex delicto.
We have carefully reviewed the record and have thoroughly studied the findings of the Court of Appeal set forth in its opinion. The Court concluded: "We have carefully considered Article 2103, Article 2104, and the jurisprudence interpretive thereof both before and after the amendment of 1960, and we have reached the inevitable conclusion that if a joint tortfeasor discharges the debt through the medium of a compromise, he may request contribution from his fellow joint tortfeasor by an independent plenary action. If the joint tortfeasor requesting contribution proves that a tort was in fact committed, that the defendant was solidarily liable with him for the amount compromised, and that the amount paid was not in excess of the damage inflicted, he may collect his pro rata share from the other joint tortfeasor by virtue of a separate suit."
FOURNET, C. J., dissents, being of the opinion the judgment of the trial judge should be affirmed.
McCALEB and SUMMERS, JJ., concur in the decree.
BARHAM, J., concurs.