Articles Posted in Miscellaneous

62-Email-06-24-19-picture-1024x768Running a small business is a challenging endeavor that can prove even more difficult if someone publishes false information about your company.  This is situation is exactly what happened to husband and wife Robbie and Susan Arnaud, owners of Robbie’s Wrecker Service, a towing business located just outside Eunice, Louisiana.

In fall 2010, Ronald Dies was elected Police Chief for City of Eunice, effective January 1, 2011.  Eunice Police Department’s rotation list for situations needing a wrecker service had previously included Robbie’s Wrecker Service. However, after being elected, Dies took action to remove Robbie’s Wrecker Service from the list. In a letter dated December 31, 2010, Dies told the Arnauds that their business would be removed from the list effective January 1, 2011, and that only wrecker services headquartered inside Eunice City limits could be on the list. On January 3, 2011, Dies spoke with a reporter for a local newspaper, The Eunice News, and stated that there had been numerous complaints about the company’s selective response to calls. This claim of “numerous complaints” formed the basis of Arnauds’ defamation claim. 

The required elements in a defamation claim are (1) a false and defamatory statement involving another, (2) an unprivileged publication to a third party, (3) fault (at least at the level of negligence) of the publisher; and (4) resulting injury. See Costello v. Hardy, 864 So.2d 129 (La. 2004).  At trial, the court held that the Arnauds had not proven either defamation or damages and dismissed all of the Arnauds’ claims against Dies. The Arnauds appealed.

clearing-desolation-destruction-4451-1024x683Accidents can come from the most unexpected of circumstances and result in life altering consequences. Here, a man suffered severe injuries while driving to the local convenience store to purchase a cup of coffee, when a rotten tree from a resident’s yard fell and struck his vehicle.

The victim, 52-year-old Rodney Caldwell, filed a lawsuit against property owner Michael Jones and ANPAC Insurance Company, Jones’ insurance provider. The lawsuit was filed in Lincoln Parish. Caldwell was awarded special and general damages totaling $12,186. However, after being awarded damages for his claim, Caldwell appealed the amount he received in general damages, which totaled $4,000, claiming that the amount was not sufficient compensation for his injuries. On appeal, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to increase Caldwell’s amount in general damages to $15,000. 

Ordinarily, when assessing damages, the judge or jury have discretion to determine what is a sufficient amount to award the victim. La C.C. art. 2324.1. When determining general damages, the court takes into account the victim’s pain and suffering, loss of physical enjoyment, and other losses of life or lifestyle which cannot be definitively measured in monetary value. McGee v. A C and S, Inc., 933 So. 2d 770 (La. 2006)

auto-automobile-blur-532001-1024x683When you think of an interrogation, you may think of a cold, plain room. You can imagine the two-way mirror and the rough metal chairs. You’re probably picturing some menacing looking criminal across from a police officer. It’s likely a high-pressure situation, and one party clearly holds most of the power. The police officer is calling the shots, asking all of the right questions, and knows all of the protocols. But what if it was another officer sitting across from them in the interrogation room?

On August 8th, 2013, Davin Miller was arrested by the Ascension Parish police for counts of simple battery and domestic violence.  It was alleged that Miller, an officer for the City of Gonzales, had an altercation with his wife leaving her with injuries and had also threatened his father-in-law while in uniform. Following an investigation and citing ten possible violations of the Department’s standard operating procedures, the Chief of the Gonzales Police Department fired Miller. Miller appealed this decision, citing errors including not being able to record interrogations and not having assistance of counsel during interrogations.

Mr. Miller alleges that he requested that the questioning be recorded and to have counsel present but was denied twice. He was then made to sign two waivers or else be terminated. The first waiver, a “Warning of Rights and Consent to Speak,” stated that Mr. Miller could speak to counsel and have them present when being questioned. The second waiver was consent to a polygraph test. During the questioning, Mr. Miller was asked by the Chief of the Gonzales Police Department multiple times if he was lying. 

boy-elastic-rope-exercise-equipment-176794-683x1024Typically, the scary aspect of surgery is over when the procedure ends and the person wakes up from the anesthesia. The last thing most people expect is to get injured after the surgery is already over. Unfortunately for one Iberia Parish woman, her troubles were only beginning even though she had a successful surgery. That being said, can you claim medical malpractice while you are recovering?

Mrs. Rachel Broussard underwent a surgery replacing her left knee, and was subsequently to be transferred to Lafayette Rehab following the surgery. A Lafayette Rehab employee arrived in a company van to transport her from the hospital, and Mrs. Broussard was loaded into the van in her wheelchair by the employee. On the ride to the rehabilitation center, the driver suddenly braked to avoid a car wreck, whereon Mrs. Broussard allegedly fell out of the wheelchair and on the floor of the vehicle, causing severe pain.

After the incident, Mrs. Broussard filed a lawsuit for the damages of the injury, naming Lafayette Rehab as defendant. Further, her husband, Mr. Broussard, sought money from loss of consortium. Lafayette Rehab responded with a Dilatory Exception of Prematurity, arguing that the lawsuit was filed too soon. Lafayette Rehand contended that the Broussards’ allegations had to be reviewed by a Medical Review Panel before they could bring the lawsuit, because they fell under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act.

abandoned-abandoned-building-architecture-1687067-819x1024State of Emergency conditions and evacuations seem to have become increasingly more common in this state over the years. Floods, hurricanes, and other extreme weather conditions can force a whole neighborhood to relocate for a few weeks. At times the evacuation protocols remain voluntary, meaning you may stay in your home at your own risk. Residents choose to weather the storm for a number of reasons, be it to avoid an expensive relocation or to protect their property from looters. Whatever the reason you stay behind, be aware that a State of Emergency prompts law enforcement to be more vigilant in their safety patrols.

One late night Neil Rabeaux was walking down the side of the road in Butte La Rose when he was stopped by police officers. There was a State of Emergency in effect at the time, and many residents had voluntarily evacuated the town due to a looming flood warning. While speaking with Rabeaux, officers noted Rabeaux appeared intoxicated and that his waistband contained a handgun. A radio call to dispatch erroneously indicated Rabeaux had multiple felony convictions on his record. They arrested Rabeaux for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon and Illegal Carrying of a Firearm. Officers later discovered Rabeaux did not have a record, and dropped all charges. Rabeaux then filed a lawsuit against the two officers for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

The officers filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming immunity under the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act (“the Act”). They asserted that since there was a State of Emergency at the time, their actions were immune from suit. The Trial Court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit. Rabeaux appealed.

couple-investment-key-1288482-1024x684Carrying a great deal of debt is a liability, and it may lead to some disastrous consequences. In the event of a default, your creditors can take you to court to recover the amount owed. If a judgment is made against you, your finances come under a microscope. Large transfers of money or property are strictly monitored and may even be reversed if your creditor feels the loss of the property may lead you to become more insolvent. So, what do you do when you have a large debt but need to transfer property? You need a good lawyer to navigate high debt situations, and to help you decide whether bankruptcy is the best way to avoid misfortune.

In the case of River Parish Financial Services, LLC v. London and B.W. Gill, River Parish won a money judgment against London Gill for a past due debt. River Parish was displeased to learn that London had gifted some of her property to B.W. Gill. Consequently, River Parish filed a revocatory action. The “revocatory action” entitles a creditor to annul a gift made by a debtor, if that creditor believes making that gift increases the debtor’s insolvency. See La. Civ. Code art. 2036. B.W. Gill claimed the action was barred by preemption. This simply means the period in which to contest the gift had lapsed. The gift was made in 2005, and River Parish did not file its action until late 2011. The trial court agreed, dismissing the action. River Parish appealed, arguing the prescriptive period should not have begun until the gift was recorded, and here the gift was not recorded in the public record until September of 2010.

On appeal, the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal had to determine whether River Parish’s claim was indeed time-barred or not. The court looked at La. Civ. Code art. 2041, which states that the creditor must take action within one year of learning of the transaction, but no more than three years from the time of the transaction. River Parish’s argument was that the prescriptive period should begin running on the date the transfer was recorded, rather than the date it actually occurred.

45-Photo-4_2_19This case drives home the important reality that sometimes the justice system punishes innocent people, but also shows that in the end true justice can prevail.

Plaintiff-Appellee Darrin Hill was accused of being a rapist and kidnapper, but turned out to be a victim of the criminal justice system rather than a criminal needing justice, as DNA exonerated him nearly 20 years later. So, what can happen next after DNA exonerates you from a crime?

In the 1990s, a couple (names redacted for privacy) was assaulted. The boyfriend was forced off at gunpoint and the girlfriend brutally raped. With little evidence at the time, the police relied solely on an unknown notebook left in her car that included the name “Darrin Hill” and an address. While the address itself was unoccupied, police now know that the adjoining apartment was being rented out by the sister of who is now known to be the real rapist. The Detective had canvas the area around the apartment which included a car that matched the getaway car from the day of the crime, but did nothing with this information.

supreme-court-new-york-1206406-1024x681What happens in Baton Rouge if your Lawyer does not file your lawsuit appeal on time?  You could lose that appeal.  The following case demonstrates that Louisiana Courts follow strict procedural rules when it comes to filing for request for new trial. The best lawyers in Baton Rouge know these rules, so choose your lawyer wisely.

According to the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure article 1974, parties to a suit have seven days, exclusive of legal holidays, to apply for a new trial. The time starts to run the day after the clerk mails the judgment or the sheriff has serves the judgment. On October 10, 2012, a judgment was signed against defendant Clarence T. Nalls in the 19th Judicial District Court of East Baton Rough, Louisiana. Notice of the judgment was mailed to both Mr. Nalls and his attorney two days later, on October 12, 2012. Mr. Nalls then proceeded to file a motion for a new trial on November 15, 2012, which was subsequently denied because of its untimely nature.

On September 19, 2013, Mr. Nalls filed an order for suspensive appeal from the judgment denying his motion for a new trial. The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal issued a rule on June 5, 2015, ordering the parties to show cause as to whether the appeal should be dismissed as untimely. Mr. Nalls filed yet another untimely response to the rule to show cause, claiming that his motion for a new trial was timely and had therefore, suspended the appeal delays.

A few months after being in a car wreck, the unthinkable happens, and as a result of the accident, your loved one passes away. As you are mourning the loss, you also have to start thinking about your legal options that stem from the crash and the possible avenues you have as a “survivor” of your loved one in order to receive some damages from the liable person. While this seems somewhat callous to talk about, especially in light of the pain you are already in from losing someone close to you, it is necessary to begin thinking about this somewhat quickly if you are going to actually be able to bring a survival action.

First, though, what exactly is a survival action? In simple terms, a survival action is an action for damages (an award of money) for injuries incurred by the deceased right before dying. You can think of a survival action as a lawsuit for injuries incurred that the actual deceased would have been able to bring had he or she not passed away. Since the decedent is not able to bring the suit himself or herself, the decedent’s estate has to bring the suit. This is typically a child or other close relative. (States will specify exactly which family members are allowed to bring a survival action in that state.)

Along with deeming who can bring a survival action, states also specify during what timeframe individuals are allowed to bring such a lawsuit. This is not because the state or the courts do not want individuals to be able to recover, but rather because a timeframe has to be set so that the liable individual does not have an indefinite period of time during which to worry about the possibility of a lawsuit.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a judge’s dismissal of the People’s Republic of China and a Chinese company, Xiamen, from litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The appeals court agreed with the trial court that the federal judiciary lacked personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction over the Chinese company and the PRC, respectively. The result was that the district court could not enforce an arbitral award under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as the New York Convention.

The underlying issue is a contract dispute between Covington Marine Corporation and Xiamen Shipbuilding. Pursuant to their contract’s arbitration clause, the dispute went to arbitration under the rules of the London Maritime Arbitration Association. The tribunal found neither side liable, but issued a separate award requiring Covington to pay 40% of the costs and Xiamen 60%. Xiamen then filed a petition in a Chinese court to have the liability award recognized and enforced. Covington did the same with the costs award.

Meanwhile, Covington appealed to the English High Court. The High Court found Xiamen liable, ordered Xiamen to pay 100% of the costs to Covington, and sent back the case to the tribunal for modification of the award. The arbitral tribunal changed their ruling and Covington petitioned the Chinese court to recognize the new awards.

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