Articles Posted in Business Dispute

american_bank_banking_banknote_0-1024x683When terminating employment in Louisiana, it is crucial to understand the laws governing the timely payment of owed wages. However, a question arises when an employee fails to explicitly state “discharged” or “resigned” in their petition. Kevion Dillon found herself in such a situation after experiencing harassment and discrimination that led her to resign from her position. Despite not using specific terminology, she sought to receive her final wages within the 15 days mandated by Louisiana law. This case sheds light on the importance of legal guidance to navigate the complexities of claiming unpaid wages and exercising one’s rights when facing employment challenges.

Kevin Dillon worked at Babies R US, which Toys R Us owned. After she resigned due to the alleged harassment and discrimination she suffered from, Dillon filed a lawsuit under the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law, La. R.S. 23:301. She also brought other claims against Toys R Us, including alleging Toys R Us had violated La. R.S. 23:631 and 632, the Louisiana Wage Payment Act, by not timely paying her final wages within the 15 days required under the statute. 

Dillon then filed a Rule to Show Cause related to her Louisiana Wage Payment Act claims. In response, Toys R US filed an exception of no cause of action, which the trial court granted and dismissed Dillon’s wage claims. The trial court explained there was no legal remedy available to Dillon because she did not use the words “discharged” or “resigned” in her petition. Dillon then appealed, arguing her petition properly asserted a cause of action under the Louisiana Wage Payment Act. 

computer_computers_1245714-1024x680Domestic violence affects countless individuals, and while physical harm may be the most obvious form of abuse, technology has expanded the range of abuses victims endure. Filing for a protective order is one action victims can take to address domestic violence. This case delves into whether cyberstalking qualifies as domestic abuse to obtain a protective order, highlighting how the law adapts to address technological advancements and protect victims.

Alicia Shaw and Melvin Young lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. After they had been married for just over a year, Shaw filed for a protective order under the Louisiana Domestic Abuse Assistance Law, La. R.S. 46:2131. She alleged that Young had punched, shoved, and threatened her with bodily harm. The trial court entered an Order of Protection. 

A few months later, Young filed for divorce on fault under La. C.C. art. 103. Shaw also sought a permanent protective order against Young. In support, Shaw testified that Young posted messages threatening to provide private photos of her to others. She also claimed that Young sent her friends messages saying “bad things” about her. Young also made posts on Facebook claiming she had broken into his home and accusing her of abusing the immigration system. She explained that as a result, she constantly feared Young, lost her hair and became isolated. After a trial, the court entered a judgment granting the divorce and granting Shaw a permanent protective order against Young. Young appealed. 

audience_speech_speaker_1677028-1024x768The diverse range of viewpoints expressed at city council meetings often evokes mixed reactions from attendees. While some voices may test our patience, it is crucial to recognize that the First Amendment safeguards individuals’ freedom of speech during such gatherings. A case involving Tom Heaney’s experience at a Jefferson Parish city council meeting in Gretna, Louisiana, sheds light on the constitutional rights protected in these limited public forums. The subsequent legal proceedings provide valuable insights into the requirements for successfully pursuing a First Amendment claim related to alleged silencing in such settings.

Tom Heaney registered to speak at a Jefferson Parish city council meeting in Gretna, Louisiana. The city council rules allowed registered individuals to speak for five minutes. After Heaney had spoken for approximately three minutes, the presiding official, Christopher Roberts, interrupted him and asked him if he would yield to the Jefferson Parish attorney. Heaney thought he would get the remaining two minutes back after the attorney spoke because that happened with the prior speaker who yielded. However, after a heated back-and-forth between Heaney and Roberts, Roberts asked for Heaney to be removed. 

A police officer, Ronald Black, responded to the request to remove Heaney. Heaney then filed a lawsuit, claiming that Roberts and Black had violated his constitutional rights, including the First Amendment, and that Black had also committed various torts. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied Roberts’ summary judgment motions concerning the First Amendment claim but granted Black’s motion on the First Amendment claim. Comparing these two outcomes provides insight into the requirements to succeed on a First Amendment claim involving purported silencing in a limited public forum.

police_policemen_guards_security-1024x702In an era where workplace equality and fairness have gained significant prominence, it is crucial to be aware of the robust safeguards provided by federal law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act serves as a formidable shield, offering protection to employees who have experienced retaliation or discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, and more. While many individuals may be unaware of their rights, understanding the scope and power of Title VII is essential for fostering a work environment free from bias and ensuring that justice prevails

Many people are unaware that federal law protects them from retaliation that results from them filing a lawsuit against their employer under Title VII. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000–3(a). Even if you are not fired, you might still be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer if you suffer other adverse actions, such as being denied a promotion. However, there are strict requirements that must be met to succeed in such a claim. 

Edward Smith was a security guard for G4S Secure Solutions (“G4S”) and worked at the Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Several years before the instant lawsuit, he filed an EEOC charge against G4S’s predecessor claiming discrimination in an unrelated event.  Approximately six years later, Smith was denied a promotion to become a Custom Protection Officer. 

transport_roadworks_autobahn_837813-1024x768In the aftermath of a tragic situation, such as the death of a child, the last thing you might want to consider are insurance policies and legal requirements. However, it is essential to understand how courts determine whether an individual was covered by a specific insurance policy so that you know who might be liable for your losses. This is especially important when the accident involves a vehicle used both commercially and personally. 

Jamie and Ericka Myers found themselves in a tragic situation after Brad Welch hit and killed their six-year-old son, Tyler, as Welch was turning into his house’s driveway. The Myers filed a lawsuit against Welch, his employer, Valentine & Leblanc, and Security National Insurance. Valentine & Leblanc insured the car that hit Myers’ son, although Welch owned the vehicle personally.  

The Myers brought claims for themselves, their deceased son, and their twelve-year-old son Peyton. After a successful mediation, the court dismissed the claims against Welch, Valentine & Leblanc, and Security National Insurance. The Myers added AIG Specialty Insurance Company as a defendant as Valentine & Leblanc had a commercial umbrella liability insurance policy from them. AIG Specialty Insurance Company then filed a summary judgment motion, arguing that Welch was not in the course or scope of his employment with Valentine & Leblanc when the accident occurred and therefore was not covered by the at-issue insurance policies. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of AIG Specialty Insurance Company, holding that Welch was not an “additional insured” under the at-issue insurance policy. 

Have you ever wondered what happens when things go wrong on a construction project? A recent case out of Louisiana sheds light on the complicated legal battles that can ensue when construction defects are discovered. The case highlights the importance of understanding your legal rights and options when dealing with construction disputes and the need for skilled legal representation to navigate the complex world of construction law.

The owner of multiple oyster leases, Wade White, filed a lawsuit against Cox Operating, LLC, seeking damages for the harm caused to his oyster beds during Cox’s drilling of oil wells. In 2000, Cox entered into an agreement with White when it began drilling wells near some of his oyster leases. Cox negotiated another drilling release with White in 2012 when it sought to drill more wells near his leases. However, White discovered that Cox had driven pilings into his oyster leases and was using routes that differed from the agreed-upon routes. As a result, Cox removed the pilings and continued to follow the previous routes. Cox later claimed the executed drilling releases covered any damages caused by the pilings and extra water traffic.

White then filed a lawsuit against Cox due to the pilings, and Cox filed an exception of res judicata, arguing the written releases barred the plaintiff’s suit. If someone wants to use the res judicata defense in a lawsuit, they need to prove it is true using evidence that shows it’s more likely than not true. Then, at the trial, they can bring in more evidence to support their argument as long as the reasons for using that evidence were already brought up before the trial.

doctor_consults_with_patient_0-1024x683If you are injured as a longshoreman, you may be eligible for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”). It is essential to understand what this statute covers, including when you can switch to a new doctor. 

Alexander Scott was a longshore foreman at Ports America. He suffered injuries to his lower back and hip after a forklift at work hit him from behind. Scott agreed to be treated by Dr. Steiner, a doctor for Ports America.  After Scott had been under Steiner’s care for about five months, Steiner told him that he had improved as much as medically possible and did not need further care, and could return to work with no restrictions. Scott claimed he was still in pain. Steiner told Scott to try to work and come back for a checkup the next month. Scott did not go back to work and, rather, went to other doctors who told him not to return to work. 

When Scott returned to Stiner, Stiner told him again he should return to work. Scott met with another doctor who recommended additional physical therapy and medication and advised he should not return to work. Ports America refused to pay for this additional recommended treatment and stopped paying compensation payments. 

word_recessed_into_concete-1024x768The old Disney adage from the original Bambi movie, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is probably wise life advice. Still, when it comes to legal advice, any good attorney will tell you, “if you can’t establish the falsity of the claims said about you, then you likely don’t have a defamation claim.” Nevertheless, after some not-so-nice comments appeared in a local newspaper article detailing a Louisiana attorney’s alleged outburst outside a courtroom, he sued for defamation. Still, the courts were ultimately unconvinced by his arguments.

Attorney Martin Regan (“Regan”) represented St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta (“Peralta”) in a case involving multiple criminal indictments, including perjury and filing false records related to using campaign funds for his personal gambling. A grand jury found Peralta guilty on those charges brought by the District Attorney’s Office with the help of Assistant Attorney Generals David Caldwell (“Caldwell”) and Molly Lancaster (“Lancaster”). At some point during or after the proceedings, Regan confronted Lancaster about an issue in the case. According to Caldwell, the conversation between the attorneys escalated to Regan threatening Lancaster and swearing at her. 

Caldwell shared his version of the events he witnessed with the New Orleans Advocate, which published his account in a newspaper article. In part, Caldwell was quoted stating that Regan was “threatening his female assistant,” “dropping F-bombs on her,” and thought that if he had gotten close enough to Regan, “he might have taken a swing at [Caldwell].” The newspaper also reached out to Regan for his comments, who, after calling Caldwell a “liar,” continued to state that he “didn’t lose his cool” and “never swore at anybody.” After that, Regan filed a lawsuit against Caldwell, the State Attorney General, and the Office of the Attorney General, seeking damages for defamation. 

hammer_books_law_court_0-768x1024Knowing and adhering to the Rules of Civil Procedure in bringing a lawsuit cannot be understated in its importance. Before a lawsuit makes it to court, various steps and procedures must be followed for the case to proceed. Chief among these pre-trial requirements is establishing that the court has the power to decide the present case, otherwise known as the court’s jurisdiction over the case. If a court lacks judicial control over a party to the case or the subject matter involved, the case should not proceed, and the court cannot hand down a valid, binding judgment.

In a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, assault, mental and physical abuse, perjury, and character defamation, Tyniski Evans represented herself against Dillard University (Dillard). Dillard responded to Evans’s complaint by moving for dismissal for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which the court may grant relief. See Fed.Civ. P. 12(b)(1), (6). The district court granted Dillard’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and dismissed without prejudice, permitting Evans to bring the case again. 

Evans appealed this dismissal, arguing the court had federal subject matter jurisdiction due to Evans receiving financial aid from the Department of Education. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal by the district court, finding that Evans’s complaint did not sufficiently show that the federal court had the power to adjudicate her lawsuit. 

craftsmen_building_scaffold_19584-1024x679The evolving nature of employment now means the relationship between employer and employee can be indirect and through different contracting methods. In addition, many people employed by one company are, in fact, on the job doing work for another. A recent case in Louisiana highlights these distinctions and the risks posed to workers and their families when seeking compensation.

While working in 2013, Michael J. Louque Jr. was crushed to death by a piece of heavy machinery that rolled off the truck it was being loaded onto. Mr. Louque was employed by River Parish Maintenance (RPM) but was working at the Motiva Enterprises, LLC (“Motiva”) manufacturing complex. Upon his death, the family of Mr. Louque filed a lawsuit against Motiva and others, seeking compensation for his wrongful death. 

The contract that brought Mr. Louque to the Motiva manufacturing complex was actually between RPM and Shell Oil Products US (“Shell”). This point is crucial in understanding the state of the Louque’s litigation, as Louisiana law prohibits employees from directly suing their employers in a tort claim rather than pursuing worker’s compensation benefits. See Deshotel v. Guichard Operating Company, Inc.

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