Supreme Court decision of Arizona v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 2492 (2012). TheSarrabea Court found that the statute was “preempted” by federal law under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. Specifically, the Court identified the existence of “field preemption” with respect to “alien registration.” With field preeemption, states may not legislate in an area the Federal Government has reserved for itself.

AGRICULTURE– The Louisiana Supreme Court of in Krielow v. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, 2013-CA-1106 (October 15, 2013), considered the constitutionality of the “Rice Statutes,” La. R.S. 3:3534 and La. R.S. 3:3544. The Rice Statutes established the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board and the Louisiana Rice Research Board, with the stated purpose to promote the growth and development of the rice industry in Louisiana. These statutes granted the authority to the Rice Boards to impose assessments on rice producers and the ability to prevent refunds to producers. In this context,  the Supreme Court held the Rice Statutes facially unconstitutional because they improperly delegated governmental power to Boards not ultimately accountable to the voters.

NEW HOME WARRANTY ACT– The Louisiana Supreme Court in Stutts v. Melton, 2013-C -0557, considered whether a home purchaser was limited in their remedy against the seller/builder of the home to the New Home Warranty Act (“NHWA”) remedies, or whether other remedies were available. In this case, the seller/builder was aware of a defect, but failed to notify the purchaser of the defect. After reviewing the record and the applicable law, the Supreme Court held that the purchasers were not limited to the provisions of the NHWA under the facts of this case. Because the builder was also the seller, the Court found that the builder had violated the Residential Property Disclosure Act in failing to disclose a known defect.

INSURANCE– In Orleans Parish School Board v. Lexington Insurance Company, 2012-CA-0095 (8/26/13), the Fourth Circuit held that an insurance policy provision which excluded damages “caused by mold” applied to damages resulting as a consequence of the initial presence of mold. The court reasoned that, once mold appears, the policy exclusion applies to all damages caused by the presence of the mold. However, the court also commented that there may be coverage for mold removal if the plaintiffs could prove that the mold resulted from a covered occurrence.

NEGLIGENCE– In Currie v. Scottsdale Indemnity Company, 2012-CA-1666 (8/26/13), the Louisiana First Circuit overturned a summary judgment which had been granted where a plaintiff voluntarily encountered uneven concrete covered by a puddle of water. Despite evidence that the plaintiff possessed pre-incident awareness of the defect, the court believed that material issues of fact existed in the determination of whether there had been a “breach of duty.” The court highlighted the factual nature of deciding whether there had been a “breach of duty,” as opposed to the legal question involved in deciding whether a “duty” is owed.

APPEALS– In Quality Paint Hardware & Marine Supply, Inc. v. Crescent Coating and Services, Inc.,2013-CA-129 (8/27/13), the Louisiana First Circuit ruled that a minute entry and an oral judgment that had not been signed by the trial court were insufficient to divest the trial court of jurisdiction. As a result, the oral “judgment” could not be reviewed through the appeals process.