Author: keogh.cox

Do Not Pass Go

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently considered the recoverability of indirect economic damages caused by negligent injury to property of others in MAW Enterprises, LLC, et al v. City of Marksville, et al. The Court found the defendant’s duty did not include liability for damages resulting from negligent interference of a contract, and dismissed the case.

Misrepresentations Lead to Dismissal of Suit

In a case handled by Keogh Cox lawyers Steve Whitlow and Jenny McLin, a Louisiana court of appeal has affirmed the ruling of a Workers Compensation Judge holding that an employee who made misrepresentations about his claim forfeited his right to workers compensation benefits. Arguello v. Brand Energy, 13-CA-990 (La. App. 5th Cir. 5/21/14), ___ So. 3rd ___.

In ruling for the employer, the trial court found that the claimant had committed three separate violations of La.R.S. 23:1208. The claimant was also assessed with a $500 civil penalty payable to the Kids Chance Scholarship Program.

Back to the Beginning – Veil Piercing

The longstanding rule that the analysis for “piercing the corporate veil” of an LLC is substantially the same as the analysis for piercing the veil of corporations has been called into question by the recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision in Ogea v. Travis Merritt and Merrit Construction, LLC, 2013-1085, — So.3d —. In Ogea, the Court addressed “the extent of the limitation of liability afforded to a member of an LLC” and the statutory basis for exceptions to this limited liability.

Fraud Just Got More Expensive – Equity as a Factor in Attorney Fee Awards

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently held that the New Home Warranty Act (“NHWA”) is not the exclusive remedy for a purchaser of a new home where the builder fails to disclose known defects in the Residential Property Disclosure Act (“RPDA”). Stutts v. Melton, 2013-0557, — So.2d. —-. The Court also upheld an award of damages and attorney fees for fraud victims who elect not to seek rescission of a sales contract despite no Civil Code article expressly allowing for attorney fees in such instances.

The Results Are In

Keogh Cox’s recent blog entry “Did I pass?” looked at recent changes to the Louisiana attorney’s “bar” examination and discussed the negative impact these changes seem to be having on the bar passage rate. Since that post, the results from the July, 2013 exam were released, and they are not good. In fact, the overall passage rate (53.34%) was among the lowest ever for a July examination.

Court Cannot Vouch for Voucher Funding

The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled 6-1 that the funding method for the private school tuition voucher program approved by the Legislature last year is unconstitutional under La. Const. art. VIII, Sect. 13(B). The decision leaves uncertain the status of the approximately 8,000 students who had been approved for vouchers for the 2013-2014 school year.

A Presumption of Constitutionality

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently upheld as constitutional two statutes requiring the registration of sex offenders even when applied to a person who was found not guilty by reason of insanity. See State of Louisiana v. Isaiah Overstreet, Jr., 12 – 1854 (La. 3/19/13). While an ultimate resolution of this issue would cause the Court to measure the asserted personal interests of the defendant against the public’s interest in safety, the defendant’s challenges were rejected because he failed to properly raise and brief the constitutional issues.

Class Actions in a State of Undress

Almost no litigation grabs attention and headlines more than a high-profile class action. The Louisiana Supreme Court’s recent class action ruling was no exception in a case involving salacious conduct and a violation of privacy.

The plaintiff in Jane Doe v. Southern Gyms, LLC, 2012-1566 (La. 3/19/13) was an unnamed victim of a “peeping tom.” She contended that an employee of a popular gym placed a pen camera in the women’s bathroom where he would tape unsuspecting women in various states of undress. The pen camera could hold only 1-2 hours of film. The perpetrator testified that, after viewing, he would immediately delete the footage. The images of only four women were seen on the footage when it was discovered. After the employee was arrested, one of the victims filed the class action lawsuit. At issue before the Louisiana Supreme Court was whether the class action was properly certified by the Trial Court.

Oil & Gas Clean-Up Not “Capped”

Louisiana’s long relationship with oil and gas has been profitable for both the oil and gas industry and Louisiana’s citizens. However, the nature and extent of the duty to restore the land after drilling has often been a disputed and litigated issue. Recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Louisiana Land and Exploration Co., 2012-0884 (La. 1/30/13), – So.3d – added clarity to the law by establishing that the presence of a Court-approved remediation plan does not create a “cap” on damages.

Legislature Strikes Out in Effort to Control High School Sports

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently struck down legislation which sought to regulate the charter of the Louisiana High School Athletics Association, Inc. (LHSAA). See Louisiana High School Athletics Association, Inc. v. State, 2012-1471 (La. 1/29/13), – So.3d -. This is a significant development because it allows the LHSAA to govern much of high school athletics without state interference.

Louisiana Supreme Court Rejects Mental Anguish Claim

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently held that an insurance agent’s negligent handling of a claim did not justify an award for mental anguish in Prest v. Louisiana Citizens Property Corp., 2012-0513 (La. 12/4/12). In Prest, it was alleged that the agent negligently failed to process a request for increased insurance sent more than 10 days prior to Hurricane Katrina.