Articles Posted in Miscellaneous

defense_gov_news_photo_526-1024x680When renting an apartment, tenants expect a safe and secure living environment. However, what happens when an accident occurs due to negligence by the apartment owner and management company? If a leaky roof in your apartment injures you, can you make a claim for your injuries? The following lawsuit answers that question. 

Kim Faciane lived in the Golden Key Apartments. After moving out, she filed a lawsuit against Golden Key, who owned the apartment complex, and Ohio Management, who managed the complex, and its insurer (collectively, the defendants). She claimed one night, while asleep in her apartment, sheetrock fell from the ceiling because of the leak. She claimed it hit her leg and caused her to slip and injure her back and neck. She claimed the defendants were liable because they kept the apartment in disrepair, did not repair the ceiling after being informed it leaked, and otherwise not properly maintaining or inspecting the apartments. 

The defendants filed a summary judgment motion, arguing that the lease had a provision that required Faciane to hold them harmless for any property or personal injury claims. They argued under La. R.S. 9:3221, Faciane was responsible for the premises’ conditions unless they were neglectful or failed to take action after she notified them in writing of a defect. They argued they did not know of any issues with the roof until after the accident occurred. Faciane countered the defendants had been notified about issues with the apartment’s ceiling at least two times before. The trial court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion and dismissed Faciane’s lawsuit, who appealed.

paragraph_attorney_judge_process-682x1024Working in a courthouse may seem like an environment where the rule of law reigns supreme, but even within its hallowed halls, employees can encounter workplace issues and retaliation. In the following case, a Louisiana State Judge became embroiled in a dispute involving a law clerk’s alleged illegal and unethical behavior. As a result of this disagreement and the actions taken by her colleagues, the Judge claimed she suffered unfair treatment, false accusations, and the violation of her constitutional rights. A lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging retaliation for exercising her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. However, the courts were tasked with determining whether her claims truly amounted to violating her constitutional rights or merely involving unfriendly conduct.

Sharon Ingram Marchman was a Louisiana State Judge in Louisiana’s Fourth Judicial Court. She claimed a law clerk had been involved in illegal and unethical behavior. Marchman claimed that due to a disagreement among judges and staff at the Fourth Judicial Court on how to deal with the law clerk, she was treated unfairly by the other employees and falsely accused of disclosing confidential information. Marchman claimed this culminated with her resigning as chair of the personnel committee. 

Marchman filed a lawsuit against the law clerk, some of the other judges, and various other individuals. Marchman claimed they violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and retaliated against her for exercising her First Amendment right to free speech. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). The trial court agreed Marchman had not stated a claim as she did not adequately allege any violation of her constitutional rights and dismissed her case. The trial court explained at most, Marchman’s allegations involved unfriendly or unprofessional conduct but not a violation of her constitutional rights. Marchman appealed. 

oil_oil_production_oil-1024x768Can a trial court’s approval of a settlement agreement in a property contamination lawsuit be upheld without determining remediation requirements and the deposit of funds into the court registry? This question lies at the heart of the following case, which features an appeal of the trial court’s judgment approving a settlement agreement regarding property contamination caused by historic oil and gas operations. The appeal raises issues of statutory interpretation and whether the trial court erred in its application of the law. The resolution of this question has significant implications for the approval process of settlement agreements in similar cases governed by Act 312.

In this case, Certain Insurers appealed the trial court’s approval of a settlement agreement in a property contamination lawsuit. The insurers raised two issues for the court to decide: (1) whether the trial court erred by not determining whether remediation was required before approving the settlement, and (2) if remediation was necessary, whether the court erred by not ordering the deposit of funds into the court registry.

The litigation involved historic oil and gas operations in Jefferson Davis Parish, and the plaintiffs sued Riceland and BP for damages and remediation. Riceland, in turn, filed a third-party demand against Certain Insurers seeking coverage under applicable insurance policies. After years of litigation, the plaintiffs, BP, and Riceland reached a compromise to resolve all claims. The settlement agreement included provisions for remediation by state regulatory standards, and Riceland assigned its rights against Certain Insurers to the plaintiffs.

building_hospital_within_931281-1024x683Amid the potential chaos and life-or-death scenarios in a hospital emergency room, “negligent credentialing” might not immediately come to mind. It’s understandable; after all, numerous nightmare scenarios occupy our thoughts. However, negligent credentialing is an incredibly significant matter that hospitals face regularly.

So what is “negligent credentialing”? It all comes down to whether your doctor has the legitimate credentials to practice medicine at that hospital.

Imagine a chaotic life-or-death situation where someone you love has been rushed into the ER. Your first thought isn’t going to be, “Hm, I wonder if this doctor is board certified?” It’s assumed that if someone’s doing a professional job, they’re qualified to do it. You trust the mechanic changing your car’s oil knows what they’re doing, right? Or that your kid’s teacher has the right qualifications to teach. And your dentist—you’re pretty sure they’re qualified and accredited to poke around your mouth.

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

table_wood_record_notebook-1024x681The 1985 murder of Denise Porter by stabbing was a horrific tragedy with life-altering ramifications for her husband, Joel, a Louisiana attorney. It also provides an example of how records from a criminal investigation can and cannot be requested.

In Louisiana, immediate family members (i.e., the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or siblings) of a person who died of unnatural causes are entitled to obtain, after ten years has elapsed, unlimited access to investigative records pertaining to the death. La. R.S. 44:3(F).

While the statute provides a straightforward answer to who can obtain these records and when they can be requested, the element of how the information can be accessed created complications for Joel Porter. Record requests must accord with the limitations defined in other applicable laws, for example, Louisiana Code of Evidence, articles 507 and 508, explaining how attorneys can be approached about privileged information.

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. 

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