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All Things Legal in Louisiana


April 27, 2005

Improve your legal writing

Bryan Garner is a reknowned speaker on the subject of legal writing, and his seminars are always lively and highly informative. On June 7th, he is coming to New Orleans to speak at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (500 Poydras Plaza). His topic will be The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts. Advance Registration is $375 for the all day seminar, which starts at 8:30 am and ends at 4:00 pm.

For more information call 214-691-8588 or visit his company website. Do yourself a favor and look into attending this seminar. You won't regret it, and you'll wind up being a better legal writer.

Posted by EES at 09:25 AM

April 15, 2005

Wednesday's Opinions by LSC

Last Wednesday, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a slew of opinions. Among them:

Suire v. Lafayette Parish Consolidated Gov't, holding that (1) pounding sheet metal into the ground with a backhoe is not "pile driving" under La. Civ. Code Art. 667; and (2) a defendant's payment to a plaintiff in exchange for plaintiff's agreement not to oppose defendant's motion for summary judgment is not a compromise; thus the trial court did not adjudicate a moot issue when it granted summary judgment.

All Star Advertising Agency, Inc. v. Reliance Insurance Co., setting forth how "reciprocity" is to be determined under the Uniform Insurers Liquidation Act (UILA), La. R.S. 22:757 through 22:763.

Johnson v. Marrero-Estelle Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1, holding that La. R.S. 33:1995 requires a volunteer fire company under contract with a parish government fire protection district to pay sick leave benefits for injuries to firefighters that occur off duty.

O'Brien v. Rizvi, holding that (1) the Patient's Compensation Fund has standing to intervene in and appeal a trial-court judgment granting a health-care provider's exception of prematurity, when the PCF contends that the health-care provider is not "qualified" under the Medical Malpractice Act; and (2) a physician not licensed by Louisiana to practice medicine is ineligible to participate in the PCF.

Posted by RPW at 01:40 PM

Death of John Hainkel

The Associated Press reports that State Senator John Hainkel has died at the age of 67.

Posted by RPW at 10:15 AM

April 14, 2005

House Bill 226

Appellate lawyers and class-action lawyers will want to keep an eye on House Bill 226. Recommended by the Louisiana State Law Institite, the bill would make several amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure provisions governing class actions and appeal of interlocutory judgments, including the following:

In class actions, require the trial judge to give written reasons for any judgment granting or denying class certification, if a party requests written reasons within 10 days of judgment.

Make all class-certification judgments appealable as of right, codifying Davis v. Jazz Casino Co., 849 So.2d 497 (La. 2003).

Authorize a trial judge to order a separate trial of insurance-coverage issues, whether or not all parties consent.

Provide that a motion to revive a judgment interrupts prescription on the judgment.

Delete the provision that an interlocutory judgment can be appealed if it may cause irreparable injury, substituting a provision that an interlocutory judgment is appealable only when expressly provided by legislation.

Posted by RPW at 10:28 AM

"Choose Life" Plates are Back

According to a report by The Associated Press, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed U.S. District judge's ruling that had outlawed not only Louisiana anti-abortion license plates but also Louisiana's entire system for approving and issuing car plates. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval ruled in 2003 that the state's entire system for issuing specialty plates violates the right to free speech because the Legislature chooses who gets the tags and the money. The federal court did not address the constitutionality of the issuance of the plates, rather the court held that the lawsuit involved a tax issue that belongs in state court. The "Choose Life" plates at issue are available for an extra $25, with the added revenue dedicated to agencies that help women with unplanned pregnancies and those considering adoption.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:09 AM

Single White Women Only Will Cost You

A $9,000 settlement has been reached between a Metairie landlord who was accused of refusing to rent his apartments to prospective black tenants and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, according to a report by The Associated Press. According to witnesses, the landlord said that he only rented to single white women.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 08:54 AM

April 12, 2005

Boy Scouts Fear ACLU Lawsuits

The Daily Advertiser reports that the Boy Scouts are urging public entites to stop directly supporting local groups. The Scouts fear that the ACLU will sue public bodies such as schools and police departments because the Boy Scouts require an oath to God. The article quotes Jay Leger (my elementary school principal), whose school sponsors Cub Scout Pack 335, of which I have very fond memories, saying that his Scouts will probably have to be sponsered by a parent's group.

Posted by AJH at 08:43 AM

LPSC Employee Ordered Reinstated

The First Circuit ruled that a decision by the Civil Service Commission confirming the firing of a Public Service Commission employee was "arbitrary and capricious." The court ruled that the Commission's policy must be read strictly because of the potential penalties to the employee. The Advocate reports that the employee claims he was fired for cooperating with the Legislative Auditor. The Commission claims the employee was fired for falsifying travel reports.

Posted by AJH at 08:33 AM

Panel Approves Pay Raise for Judges

A special panel has approved a proposed pay raise for state judges. The Times-Picayune reports that state judges are seeking a 9% raise over two years. Governor Blanco has said she is aware of the proposal, but her priority is getting a pay raise for Louisiana teachers. Blanco has also said that she might support a smaller 4% raise, but only after the teachers recieved their raise. The proposed raise would apply to judges at all levels, from district judges to the Supreme Court.

Posted by AJH at 08:25 AM

April 11, 2005

LSU Hospital to Handle own Collections

The Shreveport Times reports that the LSU hospital system will no longer use private attorneys to file liens and recover treatment costs from responsible third parties. Although proponents of the plan say it may save the state 1.3 million dollars, others note that collections will likely suffer as a result of moving the collections process to in-house administrators.

Posted by AJR at 08:48 AM

Blanco Seeks to Limit Damages

The Advocate reports that Governor Blanco plans to support legislation that will restore the state and municipal general liability damages cap to $500,000 per occurrence instead of per plaintiff.

Posted by AJR at 08:28 AM

April 10, 2005

Pinch crawfish -- go to jail

House Bil 127, if enacted, will "amend and reenact R.S. 14:67.1(D) and to enact R.S. 14:67.5, relative to theft; to create the crime of theft of crawfish; to define the offense; to provide for penalties; to remove commercial crawfish from the definition of livestock for purposes of the crime of theft of livestock; and to provide for related matters."

Posted by RPW at 11:38 AM

April 09, 2005

$$ for public defenders

Louisiana's sad system of paying for defense of indigents in criminal cases is drawing the attention of the national news media and two bloggers who happen to be public defenders: Gideon and David Feige. They find it intolerable that Louisiana relies on court costs added to traffic fines to pay public defenders. Evidently the Louisiana Supreme Court agrees.

Posted by RPW at 03:45 PM

April 08, 2005

La. Bar Exam results are in

The La. Supreme Court has posted the winter bar-exam results, along with statistics by law school. LSU alumni will be chagrined to know that Tulane beat LSU on pass rate, 94.7% to 82%. Loyola came in third at 70.2%; Southern fourth at 43.3%.

Posted by RPW at 11:21 AM

April 07, 2005

Editoral Says Nuisance Abatement Law a Positive Step

The Daily Advertiser published an editoral stating that expanding the nuisance abatement law could be a useful tool in fighting crime in Lafayette. The city-parish is using the law to board up properties where enough illegal activity has gone on for long enough that the property can be termed a nuisance. Some want to extend this power to things such as repeated noise violations and environmental violations.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:08 AM

Open Container Laws Vary

In a story brought on by recent controversy in New Iberia, The Lafayette Daily Advertiser reports that open container laws vary from city to city in Acadiana. Lafayette has the most lax rules concerning alcoholic drinks while smaller towns such as New Iberia and Crowley have more restrictive rules. Most of the municipalities surveyed waive their rules during local events and festivals.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 10:01 AM

Judge Critques Wardrobe

The murder trial of Steven Williams has turned into a discussion of appropriate courtroom attire at times. The Times-Picayune reports that Judge Lynda Van Davis as criticized the defendant for wearing his pants too low. A controversy also erupted when a witness unexpectedly took the stand in street clothes instead of his orange prison jumpsuit.

Posted by Capital Clerks at 09:56 AM

April 05, 2005

Perfect name for a lawyer

Today's Times-Picayune reports that McGlinchey Stafford has hired a litigator named Allen Trial.

Posted by RPW at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2005

Bryant Elected to 14th JDC Bench

The Times-Picayune reports that district attorney Rick Bryant won a seat on the 14th JDC Bench in Calcasieu Parish this weekend.

"I hope I enjoy my future as a judge as much as I've enjoyed my past as district attorney. I am looking forward to the challenge, though. It'll be something new and exciting," Bryant said.
Posted by AJR at 11:21 PM

April 01, 2005

A decision in the Grefer appeal

Yesterday the Fourth Circuit released its long-awaited opinon in Grefer v. Alpha Tech. Brad Parker has uploaded the opinion on his blog, Where's Travis McGee? To learn more about the case, read Brad's synopsis.

Posted by RPW at 12:34 PM
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