Articles Posted in Business Dispute

sunsets_family_happiness_beach-1024x683The challenges posed by mental and physical disabilities can place immense strain on families, particularly when the affected individual is unaware or unable to acknowledge their condition. When individuals face difficulties managing their health, personal matters, finances, and business affairs due to mental incapacity, they must take legal steps to protect their interests. During such trying times, the guidance of a skilled lawyer can alleviate some of the pain and stress that families experience. 

Stanton Lee Cadow faced just such a situation when his mother, America Jean Morris Metzler, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and, as a result, could no longer live independently, care for herself, or make sound personal and financial decisions. Her son, Cadow, thus sought a full interdiction to make legal decisions on her behalf. However, Metzler asserted her husband, John Metzler, Sr., was her power of attorney.

The proceedings began when Stanton filed a petition in 2014 seeking the interdiction of his mother, America Jean Morris Metzler, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Cadow alleged that his stepfather, John Metzler Sr., could not care for Metzler due to his health issues. Metzler contested the petition, asserting that Metzler, Sr., had a valid power of attorney and could act on her behalf. Initially, the trial court denied and dismissed Cadow’s claims without prejudice in 2015.

hole_dark_light_black-1024x685Homeowners often have to deal with contractors, such as plumbers, completing work in their homes or yard. What happens when a homeowner is injured from a condition on the property the contractor created? The following case helps answer that question. 

Donald and Marilyn Lincoln hired Acadian Plumbing & Drain to go under their Metairie, Louisiana home and replace its drain lines. A few weeks after Acadian started the work, Marilyn Lincoln walked outside and fell into a hole Acadian had dug to access the pipes under their home. She injured her hip or leg and had to have surgery. 

The Lincolns filed a lawsuit against Acadian and its insurer. They claimed Acadian was negligent for not sufficiently securing or barricading the hole in the yard and for not warning them of the danger. While the lawsuit was still ongoing, Marilyn Lincoln passed away. Her son claimed her death resulted from a stroke caused by a blot clot that formed because of her injuries from falling into the hole and her resulting surgery. 

taiwan_shilin_district_court-1024x768Racial discrimination in the workplace is a pressing issue that demands attention and action within our legal system. However, bringing a claim of racial discrimination or a hostile work environment requires the ability to substantiate crucial factors. The following case highlights the significance of providing essential evidence when pursuing racial discrimination or hostile work environment claims.

 Bobby Whitlock was terminated by his Monroe employer, Lazer Spot, Inc. after it claimed he left the vicinity of a loading dock while the light remained red. Next, Whitlock filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Two years later, Whitlock, who is African American, filed a claim against Lazer Spot, Inc., alleging both a hostile work environment and racial discrimination. Lazer Spot, Inc. then filed to dismiss Whitlock’s motion, arguing that his challenges did not state a claim. Next, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted Lazer Spot, Inc.’s motion to dismiss and found Whitlock did not state a claim for either his discriminatory discharge allegation or his hostile work environment complaint. This appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal follows.   

To be successful with a motion to dismiss claim, the Court of Appeal found, under law, that a complaint has to have adequate factual matter to bring a claim of relief that is facially plausible, including when a plaintiff pleads facts that permits the court to reasonably infer the defendant was liable for the alleged misconduct. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly

tug_boat_barge_towing-1024x681The language used in insurance policies can hold immense significance when determining the resulting coverage and payouts. In a compelling case involving three tug boats, the M/V Miss Dorothy, the M/V Angela Rae, and the M/V Freedom, an unfortunate collision prompted a dispute over insurance claims. As insurers of the Miss Dorothy sought compensation from the owners of the Angela Rae, the crux of the matter revolved around the interpretation of key terms within the insurance policies. The court’s analysis focused on the definition of “tow” and the parties’ intent, underscoring the critical role that precise language plays in insurance contracts. This case serves as a powerful reminder to both drafters and signers of insurance policies that every word holds weight and can shape the outcome of a claim.

Three tug boats, the M/V Miss Dorothy, the M/V Angela Rae, and the M/V Freedom, plied the Mississippi River with a barge boat in tow. The Angela Rae and the Freedom were positioned behind the barge, and the Miss Dorothy was positioned in front. The Angela Rae was designated as the ‘lead tug’, with the other boats acting as ‘assisting tugs.’ 

In an unfortunate turn of events, the Miss Dorothy collided with a portion of the Sunshine Bridge’s fender. The Miss Dorothy subsequently sank, resulting in a total loss of the ship and its machinery on board. In the ensuing dispute over insurance claims, the insurers of the Miss Dorothy sued the owners of the Angela Rae in its capacity as the lead tug. The two insurers of the Angela Rae, Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company (“Atlantic Specialty”) and P & I Underwriters (“P & I”), both filed motions averring the insurance responsibility to the other, claiming that the other’s policy should be paid out instead of their own. 

vessels_beach_brazil_pier-1024x768Suffering an on-the-job injury is a challenging experience that involves physical recovery and navigating the complexities of the worker’s compensation system. Determining when and how to return to work can be daunting in such situations. The questions surrounding medical examinations and the responsibility of companies to provide additional medical advice or inspections when an employee is injured are examined in the following case.

A longshore foreman, Alexander Scott, injured his hip and lower back when he was hit from behind by a forklift at work. His employer, Port America, set him up with Dr. Steiner, a Physician, to review his injuries. Dr. Steiner told Scott that he reached maximum medical improvement, did not need additional treatment, and was physically fine to continue working. However, Scott was uncomfortable returning to work because he insisted he was still in pain. 

Opting not to return to work, Scott sought another doctor’s opinion, Dr. Bostick, who advised him against resuming his employment duties due to his condition. Scott revisited Dr. Steiner, but no additional treatment was provided as his complaints were deemed subjective. Dr. Bostick reiterated his recommendation that Scott abstain from work due to an altered gait, suggesting further physical therapy.

office_contract_computer_phone-1024x683Entering into a contract entails an expectation that both parties will fulfill their respective obligations. However, what transpires when one party complies while the other fails to uphold its promises? This case delves into the repercussions of such a scenario, shedding light on the importance of seeking legal remedies to enforce contractual agreements.

Dr. Kenneth Gowland was killed in a car accident in Bernard Parish, Louisiana. His widow, Connie Gowland, retained Wootan & Saunders to handle her husband’s succession and an uninsured motorist claim against his insurer on behalf of her and their children. Wootan & Saunders investigated the accident. It simultaneously performed work for certain Louisiana agencies and departments and received payments from the Office of Risk Management, which is responsible for tort claims brought against Louisiana state agencies under La. R.S. 39:1535. Because of its lack of experience with personal injury lawsuits, Wootan & Saunders selected Glenn Diaz to handle Gowland’s litigation. 

Diaz and Gowland signed a contingent fee contract and a fee-splitting agreement with Wootan & Saunders. Under the fee agreement, Wootan & Saunders would receive a portion of fees based on work it had performed and its continuous contact with the Gowlands. Wootan & Saunders did not inform Diaz it was doing work for Louisiana state agencies.

agree_agreement_asian_black-1024x683If you sign a settlement agreement, you might feel relieved that you no longer have to go to trial. After all, settlements are generally thought to save you the time and expense of going to trial. But what happens if the other side fails to pay you the settlement funds by the terms of the settlement agreement?

Rapheal Guillory was injured while working at R&R Construction. He initially received workers’ compensation benefits, but they were eventually terminated. After his benefits were terminated, he filed a lawsuit against R&R, seeking his benefits, penalties, and attorney fees. Before the case went to trial, the parties settled. Under the settlement agreement, R&R agreed to pay Guillory a lump sum payment for the settlement amount by a set date. The workers’ compensation judge approved the settlement agreement. 

After the agreed-upon date for R&R to pay Guillory, R&R’s attorney delivered to Guillory’s attorney two checks, a release, and dismissal. However, the checks included language that Guillory claimed imposed improper conditions on receiving the settlement funds that were not part of their settlement agreement. Later, R&R paid the required expenses, but the check also included conditional language. 

court_entry_stairs_entrance-1024x765What happens if you decide to switch attorneys partway through a lawsuit? If you are involved in a lawsuit involving multiple attorneys, you must understand all applicable contracts. Otherwise, you might be involved in a lawsuit with your attorneys, just like Deborah and Mark Kruse found themselves here.

This case involves a lawsuit the Law Office of John D. Sileo (“Sileo”) filed against the Kruses, its former clients, to obtain attorney fees and expenses they claimed they were owed under a contingency fee contract. Sileo also brought a conversion claim against The Law Offices of Allan Berger & Associates (“Berger”), claiming they had misappropriated the applicable attorney fees and expenses.

Before the at-issue lawsuit, Sileo filed a lawsuit for the Kruses related to damage from Deborah’s use of transvaginal mesh. Their lawsuit became part of a related multi-district litigation. Three months after filing the complaint, Sileo and the Kruses signed a contingency fee contract where Sileo would receive 40% of the total amount of any settlement of 50% of whatever was obtained in an appeal. The contract said that while the Kruses could discharge Sileo, Sileo would still be entitled to its fees. 

plumbing_plumber_old_faucet-1024x732Picture this: you’ve just bought a new condo, envisioning a future filled with joyful moments shared with loved ones. But what happens when those dreams are shattered because the condo management company neglects essential repairs for years on end? Robert Jordan, a condo owner, experienced this very nightmare when he encountered a persistent water leak issue in his recently purchased unit. As the battle for justice unfolded, Jordan fought for his rights and the compensation he deserved.

Jordan was the member and manager of FIE and Iberia Tigers, through which he acquired commercial investment properties. He purchased a condo unit at a building managed by New Jax. Soon after he purchased the condo, Jordan saw water leaking below the roof of the building. He reported it to Earl Weber, the president of New Jax’s board, and requested repairs. When New Jax did not repair it, Jordan started withholding the monthly fees he owed New Jax. 

Thereafter, New Jax attempted to fix the issue by cutting through the condo’s ceiling and walls. It placed tarps and plastic sheets around the condo. Jordan claimed the condo was uninhabitable and could not be used for its intended purchase. Jordan communicated with New Jax for years about the ongoing issues and damage and requested updates on the status of repairs. Repairs were not completed until 75 months after Jordan had first reported his condo was unusable. 

poker_cards_card_game-1024x768Imagine you’re in a nail-biting poker game, where every decision could tip the balance between winning and losing. Suddenly, one player reveals a Royal Flush—an unbeatable combination. This tension-filled scene mirrors the legal drama between Greenfield Advisors LLC, a consulting firm from Seattle, and Salas & Co., LC, over a significant unpaid debt. In the legal world, invoking the Full Faith and Credit Clause was Greenfield’s equivalent of a Royal Flush, a powerful play with wide-ranging implications. This legal gambit’s riveting repercussions underline the robust judicial principle of full faith and credit. In the case, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the State District Court’s decision that the judgments against the Appellants were entitled to full faith and credit.

To explain, Greenfield Advisors (“Greenfield”), who were owed a hefty sum of around $700,000 by Salas & Co. (“Salas”), took the dispute to court. Salas, who had hired Greenfield for various legal consulting services, had only paid a fraction of the amount. Greenfield filed a lawsuit, and the legal wrangling kicked off in earnest. The case found itself in the Federal District Court in Washington after Salas requested a transfer. With the dispute in arbitration, Greenfield came out on top, awarded $331,316.48, along with a generous interest rate. The battle, however, was far from over.

In the Louisiana court, Salas argued that the Federal District Court overstepped its jurisdiction, suggesting that the Louisiana court should examine this issue before acknowledging the federal judiciary. The Full Faith and Credit Clause, a crucial element of the U.S. Constitution, became the focal point. Under Louisiana law, any judgment, decree, or order of a court of the United States or any other court is entitled to full faith and credit in this state. LA R.S. 13:4241. A judgment delivered by a court in one state should be respected and enforced by all other states.

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