Content tagged “Laws”

Jury rules in favor of Gerry Lane in discrimination suit

Gerry Lane Enterprises has won its defense in a two-and-a-half-year-old lawsuit filed by a former employee, who alleged he was a victim of harassment and discrimination at the car dealership because he is African-American and of Italian descent.
A three-day trial was held last week in U.S. Middle District Court in the case of Eric Angeletti vs. Gerald Lane, et al. Angeletti was a sales associate at Gerry Lane Chevrolet. Late Friday a 12-member jury ruled there was not enough evidence to support Angeletti's allegations that he was harassed because of his race or nationality. The jury also rejected his claim of battery against the late Gerry Lane, who died in May 2013, a year after the suit was filed.

Understanding privacy

Companies that employ hundreds or thousands of people are the businesses most likely to have written policies to govern workplace behavior and privacy issues, but small firms need to pay attention to such matters, too, according to human resources consultant Carol Olsby.

Businesses won't have to return BP spill payouts

BP wants its money back—hundreds of millions of dollars of it—but a federal judge ruled today that the oil giant must keep its promises to the companies it compensated for losses they blamed on the 2010 Gulf oil spill. As The Associated Press reports, BP argued that a flawed funding formula enabled many businesses to overestimate spill-related claims, and some "weren't warranted at all." U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier agreed several weeks ago to change the compensation formula for any future payments, but he ruled today that a deal is a deal when it comes to money BP has already paid out. Under that deal, claimants agreed to drop their lawsuits, and BP agreed that no future court action could change their payments. The ruling thwarts BP's latest attempt to control its soaring liability from the spill, which may be nearing $50 billion. "BP disagrees with today's decision and will appeal it," company spokesman Geoff Morrell says. "We asked the Court, as a matter of equity...

Settlement reached in lawsuit involving Nick Saban, BR Mercedes-Benz dealer

A trial involving Nick Saban and Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge owner Joe Agresti that had been set to begin on Nov. 3—the week prior to the LSU-Alabama game in Tiger Stadium—will not go on as planned. The Birmingham News reports that's because a settlement has been reached, the details of which are being kept confidential by the parties involved. The settlement was reached between Hoover Crown Automobile Co. and Mercedes-Benz USA. Crown filed suit last year seeking to stop Mercedes from granting a new dealership in Irondale—a suburb of Birmingham—to Saban and his business partner, Agresti. Attorneys would not comment on terms of the settlement or what, if anything, it might mean to the proposed Irondale project. But Irondale's mayor says that while he doesn't have it in writing yet, the project is still on and planning is underway for a road to the new dealership. Robert S. Plott, attorney for Saban and Agresti, says in a statement to The Birmingham...

Alexandria council moves toward $1.3M settlement with BR attorney

The Alexandria City Council on Tuesday indicated its willingness to pay more than $1.3 million to a Baton Rouge attorney for work he did in the city's lawsuit against Cleco, The Town Talk reports. But the City Charter won't allow a payment to be made as quickly as a federal judge would like, City Attorney Chuck Johnson says, so Johnson is trying to make arrangements that will satisfy the judge. The City Council voted 4-3 on Tuesday to authorize Johnson to proceed with a process so that payment of $1,320,457.40 can be made to attorney H. Craig Davidson. The action comes in the wake of a federal court order issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Dee Drell that the city had five business days to pay Davidson or else representatives of the U.S. Marshal's Office would seize the funds from Alexandria's Utility System Enterprise Fund. The 4-3 vote on Tuesday did not actually authorize the payment. The council will vote on that on Sept. 2. Davidson was hired in 2005 during the Mayor Ned...

Levee board challenges law blocking 'big oil' lawsuit

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East has launched a legal fight against a new state law aimed at retroactively killing a lawsuit filed last year over coastal damage attributed to oil and gas drilling, The Associated Press reports. The south Louisiana flood board argues in federal court papers filed Tuesday that the law cannot be used to block the lawsuit. The flood authority filed the lawsuit last year against dozens of oil and gas companies over damage to coastal wetlands that protect New Orleans from hurricanes. Gov. Bobby Jindal and oil industry supporters pushed a bill through the Legislature in this year’s session aimed at killing the lawsuit. The flood authority's lawyers argue that the law incorrectly defines the flood authority as a local government entity. It also raises constitutional questions about the law. Growth Louisiana Coalition has...

551 new laws take effect Friday in La.

Slug a referee at your child's sports game? You'll face jail time. Sixteen and trying to improve your tan? You'll have to head outside because minors are barred from the tanning bed. Want to snoop in your employee's social media accounts? You'll hit roadblocks. The Associated Press reports those are among 551 new laws on the books that take effect Friday, passed by lawmakers in the legislative session that ended in June. Many laws are minor, like naming the mayhaw tree as Louisiana's official state fruit tree and offering new specialized license plates for U.S. Army Rangers, supporters of artist George Rodrigue, Louisiana "master gardeners" and NRA members. Other new or rewritten statutes impact health care options, change educational programs and reach into people's everyday activities. Many of the laws focus on crime. Louisiana's ban on cockfighting has been broadened to sweep in more types of birds and to criminalize the buying and selling of the spurs and knives used in the...

Foster case shows how legacy lawsuits in La. come from 'inside'

In the second part of a series of stories, The Advertiser looks at the history of so-called legacy lawsuits in Louisiana and highlights a case involving former Gov. Mike Foster to show how plenty of legacy suits start with the property owners themselves. The Lafayette newspaper notes that Foster didn't just support tort reform, he campaigned on the issue, promising to rein in plaintiffs' attorneys who made big bucks suing big companies for big damages. And he delivered in a big way. Shortly after his inauguration, he called a special session of the Legislature and passed a bill package to lessen liability exposure for businesses. He then ran campaign ads bragging that he had successfully stopped trial lawyers from filing frivolous, job-killing lawsuits. "That's what makes the legacy lawsuit Maryland Co. v. Exxon so surprising. The 2010 suit is just one of about 360 lawsuits by landowners claiming contamination by oil and gas companies—and asking for multimillion dollar...

Louisiana ruling on confession rankles Catholics

Catholics are decrying a recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision that reaches into the most sanctified of church places, the confessional booth. The Associated Press reports the ruling revives a lawsuit that contends a priest should have reported allegations of sexual abuse disclosed to him during private confessions and opens the door for a judge to call the priest to testify about what he was told. The lawsuit was filed by parents of a teen who says she told the priest about being kissed and fondled by an adult church parishioner. If the priest were called to testify, Catholic groups say it could leave him choosing between prison and excommunication. "Confession is one of the most sacred rites in the Church. The Sacrament is based on a belief that the seal of the confessional is absolute and inviolable. A priest is never permitted to disclose the contents of any Confession," Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, says in a statement blasting...

Making way for whistleblowers

Whether you are an employee of a private company or the owner of one, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could soon change the way your business operates.

How to hire a lawyer

If you're being sued, the prime time to hire an attorney has already passed.

Getting to 40%

Baton Rouge entrepreneur Scott Van Kerkhove is a political anomaly: a Republican who takes the dangers of man-made climate change seriously. Not because he thinks there's definitive proof on either side of the issue, but because he thinks the possibility of making the planet uninhabitable for future generations isn't worth the risk.

Jindal signs bill to kill levee board oil and gas suit

Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed a bill aimed at killing a Louisiana levee board's lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies, despite warnings from legal experts that it could also affect state and local government litigation over the 2010 BP oil spill. Jindal announced the signing in a mid-day press release today, saying: "This bill will help stop frivolous lawsuits and create a more fair and predictable legal environment, and I am proud to sign it into law." The levee board suit, now in federal court, says drilling and dredging by oil, gas and pipeline companies are partially to blame for the degradation of coastal wetlands that serve as a natural hurricane buffer for New Orleans. The bill by Sen. Bret Allain would retroactively scuttle the lawsuit. Opponents say the law will likely be challenged in court. Jindal and his top lawyer say they do not believe the law would affect state and...

'Business Report': Business takes on plaintiff lawyers at Capitol

"The most sweeping legal reform bill of the year died pitifully less than halfway through the session," writes Business Report's David Jacobs in the magazine's new cover story. In Louisiana, when the plaintiff in a civil suit wants less than $50,000, the combatants don't have the right to a trial by jury. Most states have no such barrier; of those that do, the cutoff is $15,000 or less. "It's such an obvious example where Louisiana is far out of alignment with many other states," says Melissa Landry, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch. "We're completely off the reservation." But House Bill 917 never even got a real vote. On April 15, the House voted 51-49 to table the measure, which means the $50,000 threshold most likely lives at least another year. "I'm still a little stunned that the debate ended the way that it did," Landry says. Plaintiff attorneys lined up with the courthouse crowd, led by the Louisiana District Judges Association, in support of the...

Reforms on the Legislative agenda

The Louisiana Legislature is addressing several high profile legal matters this year. Here's where some of those efforts stood as this issue of Business Report went to press.

Quest for justice

The most sweeping legal reform bill of the year died pitifully less than halfway through the session.

A legals war

In a legislative session dominated by debates over the hot-button issue of Common Core, a series of bills that would change state law to allow The New Orleans Advocate to compete for government classified ads in Orleans and Jefferson parishes hasn't made big news. But then, newspapers often shy away from calling attention to themselves.

Local group files amended suit against Commonwealth Advisors

A group of local retirees who lost millions of dollars in life savings they had invested with Commonwealth Advisors has filed an amended lawsuit against the firm and its owner, Walter Morales, raising new allegations in the case, which dates back more than four years. In the amended complaint, filed April 1 in U.S. Middle District Court, plaintiff Joseph Broyles and other individual investors claim a San Francisco investment firm, Stone and Youngberg, was complicit with Morales and Commonwealth in committing fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by investing their funds—without their knowledge—in risky mortgage-backed securities, then conspiring to hide the resulting losses. "Stone and Youngberg systematically traded Commonwealth's clients' investments in and out of Commonwealth...

Taking on tort

At least 40 chambers of commerce and business organizations in Louisiana—including the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association and the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association—are working to change Louisiana's tort system this legislative session. Efforts are aimed at limiting the number of frivolous lawsuits, increasing transparency within the sytem, and curtailing contingency-fee contracts by public entities, among other changes. The organization insists excessive litigation costs the average Louisiana family nearly $10,000 annually.

Capitol Views: Holden fights against red-light camera bills that nonetheless eke out of committee

Two bills about red-light cameras barely got out of a divided legislative committee today—one to limit the speed range for violations and another to add one second to the minimum time for yellow caution lights. Both bills by Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-Algiers, would only affect cameras operating at intersections of state highways. With strong opposition from Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, tie votes on both bills were broken by House Transportation Chairwoman Karen St. Germain, D-Pierre Part, sending the measures to the House floor. HB 801 would prohibit red-light camera tickets from being issued for speeds less than 10 miles per hour over the posted limit on state highways. The limitation would not affect cameras on city streets or federal highways. Arnold, who battles with local officials over his anti-camera legislation each year, said, "Traffic cameras are not about policing. They are about fleecing." In opposition, Holden asked the committee, "Why don't we let local governments...

La. lawmakers to take up 'Advocate' and 'Times-Pic' battle over legal notices

The newspaper war between The Advocate and The Times-Picayune has spilled over into the Legislature, where several bills have been filed that would allow The New Orleans Advocate to bid on publishing lucrative legal ads in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Currently, state law allows only newspapers that have been publishing in a parish for at least five years to bid on carrying legal notices, which include classified-style ads about government bids, property auctions and meeting notices, among other things. The proposed laws would do away with that requirement, allowing The New Orleans Advocate—which has been publishing in the Crescent City for just 18 months—to compete for the contracts, which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. "All this is doing is responding to changes in the market," says Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-New Orleans, who filed one of the three House bills that would change the law on publishing legal notices. "The...

'Business Report': Texts, emails becoming key pieces of evidence in courtrooms

When Texas drilling engineer Kurt Mix deleted strings of text messages and voicemails from his employer-supplied iPhone one day in April 2010, it's possible he was merely doing what most people who use smartphones do routinely: freeing up data storage space. But several months ago, a federal jury in New Orleans decided otherwise. The jury determined that Mix—formerly a high-level engineer employed by BP—deliberately destroyed the messages because he knew they would prove his employer lied about the amount of oil that spilled from its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico. The jury in December convicted Mix on one count of obstructing justice in connection with the BP oil spill. He faces a potential prison term of up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced in a few months. Not long ago, the idea that an individual could be held criminally liable for such a seemingly ordinary act as deleting phone messages may have seemed far-fetched. But Baton Rouge...

Judge upholds La. police pension bid to access Hershey records regarding African child laborers

Hershey Co., the largest chocolate maker in the U.S., was ordered Tuesday to face a lawsuit by a Louisiana police pension fund that's seeking to force it to turn over records about cocoa from African farms that may use illegal child labor. Bloomberg reports that Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster ruled the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System raised legitimate questions about Hershey executives' knowledge of how much of the company's cocoa, grown in West Africa, may have been produced by child slaves. Laster on Tuesday overruled a recommendation that the shareholders' request to see cocoa supply chain records be denied. The Louisiana police pension fund, which holds Hershey shares, sued last year seeking access to the company's records about cocoa purchases from West African suppliers who don't comply with international child-labor restrictions. The fund contends Hershey officials put the candy company's reputation at risk by relying on supplies produced...

Do not delete

When Texas drilling engineer Kurt Mix deleted strings of text messages and voicemails from his employer-supplied iPhone one day in April 2010, it's possible he was merely doing what most people who use smartphones do routinely: freeing up data storage space.

In Conversation: Harold Kim

With Louisiana's civil justice system expected to be a focus of the 2014 legislative session, it's fitting that Harold Kim, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, stopped in Baton Rouge last month to visit with the Baton Rouge Lawyers Chapter of the conservative Federalist Society.

Briggs to be in court today, one day after bench warrant issued for not appearing

Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Don Briggs confirmed Monday night that he planned on appearing in a Baton Rouge court this morning, The Advertiser reports. On Monday, District Judge Janice Clarks issued a bench warrant ordering Briggs to either attend court or face jail for contempt. The order was issued after Briggs reportedly failed to appear at a court hearing regarding a LOGA lawsuit that seeks to rescind Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's approval of a lawsuit by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies. In a press release issued by LOGA late Monday, the association says Briggs was advised not to show up to court by his physician due to health concerns and a pre-existing heart condition that was aggravated last week after Briggs was required to give a...

Getting tough on water

In the 1970s, a concept known as the "broken window" theory popped up on the East Coast. To oversimplify, the notion was that if there is an abandoned building and you see a few broken panes of glass, the smart thing from a public safety and welfare standpoint is to fix those windows as soon as possible.

Unconstitutional provisions in La. law prove difficult to repeal

State lawmakers are being asked in the session that begins March 10 to repeal portions of an anti-sodomy law that were declared unconstitutional in 2003, but The Shreveport Times reports that's not the only law still on the books after being declared unenforceable. A search of state laws by the newspaper has found some other high-profile unconstitutional measures that were left on the books and some that drew little notice when signed into law. LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center Professor Raymond Lamonica says "there's a lot of stuff in the so-called 'Green Books' that shouldn't be there." Someone should compile a list of unconstitutional and defunct laws and clear them out, he says, "but there's no incentive to remove it. There's no institutional mechanism to do it." Neither the attorney general's office, nor the Legislature's legal divisions, nor the LSU law school, nor the Law Institute, nor the state Law Library know how many unconstitutional laws are still on the books. None...

Gay rights group challenging La. same-sex marriage law

A gay rights group has filed a legal challenge to the Louisiana Constitution's prohibition against recognizing same-sex marriages performed legally in other states. The Forum for Equality Louisiana and four gay married couples have called news conference later today to discuss details of the suit. A draft of the group's planned lawsuit, obtained by The Associated Press, attacks the marriage recognition ban on several fronts. For instance, it says state revenue department policy, based on the ban, essentially requires married same-sex couples who file joint federal tax returns to falsely claim they are single on state returns, which the Forum says is a violation of free speech. The lawsuit challenges the state's refusal to recognize both members of a same-sex union as parents of a child born to them or adopted. The New Orleans-based Forum and the four couples plan to challenge the recognition ban, citing equal protection and free speech rights in the U.S. Constitution. A 2004...

U.S. Chamber official urges changes to La. legal system

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform ranks Louisiana's tort liability system 49th in the country. "I love Louisiana," Harold Kim, the institute's executive vice president, said during a visit to Baton Rouge today. "I would not want to be on the receiving end of a complaint in this state." While the institute's rankings, based on a survey of corporate attorneys and senior business executives, are subjective, Kim says those perceptions matter because they influence where companies choose to locate and do business. So how can Louisiana move up in the rankings? Lowering or eliminating Louisiana's highest-in-the-nation $50,000 threshold for a jury trial could help, Kim says. He also says the Legislature could take another look at the practice of "lawsuit lending," in which plaintiffs take out high-interest loans to fund their lawsuits. Kim says the practice leads to unnecessary, prolonged litigation. The state Senate passed a bill last year to regulate rates, but the measure died...

Jury selection to begin in long-running suit between Little Village, former landlord

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday in a long-running lawsuit between restaurateur Wayne Stabiler and the owners of the downtown building that previously housed his popular Italian restaurant. CDR Properties sued The Little Village in late 2010, shortly after the restaurant moved out of the building at 453 Lafayette St. and relocated to the nearby Kress Building. According to court documents, Little Village caused "extreme damage … to the premises, including removing items which had been installed and were the property of CDR." Court records allege the extreme damage included “numerous gouges, scrapes and digs in the floors; removal of flooring … gouges, scrapes and holes all the way through the dry wall; removal of ceiling tiles throughout, removal of a walk-in refrigeration unit and removal of a service bar … without permission." The suit does not specify a motive, but Rob Miller, who owns the property, says it appears the alleged actions were "all...

Barry: Levee board suit against oil and gas companies may never go to court

Well-known author and former Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East board member John Barry predicted today that the lawsuit the flood protection board filed last year against more than 90 oil and gas companies in Louisiana may never see a day in court. In an address to the Baton Rouge Rotary Club, Barry said the lawsuit is pretty straightforward because there is irrefutable evidence that damage was done to Louisiana wetlands and that the remedies are plain in law and regulation. "This lawsuit hits at the heart of our most basic, conservative, American values, what parents are supposed to teach their kids: Keep your word, obey the law and take responsibility for your actions," Barry said. "Industry hasn't lived up to any of those." Insisting that he has nothing personal against the oil and gas industry and acknowledging its importance to Louisiana's economy and its people, Barry maintained the industry shouldn't get a pass on cleaning up what it acknowledges it...

Louisiana AG offers defense of role in Big Oil lawsuit

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is seeking dismissal of a lawsuit that says he illegally approved a New Orleans-area flood protection board's contract with lawyers who filed the suit against the oil and gas industry over coastal wetlands loss. The Associated Press reports Caldwell's office on Thursday released a copy of his state court response to the lawsuit filed last month by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. The filing says Caldwell never approved the contract between the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East and private lawyers led by Gladstone Jones of New Orleans. It says Caldwell did review the board's resolution to hire the lawyers, making sure it met legal requirements—a task he says he is required by law to do. The flood board's lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies was filed last summer. It says the companies' coastal drilling activities contributed to the erosion of wetlands, diminishing a natural hurricane protection buffer for New...

Ideas flourish to spend Louisiana's surplus and amnesty money

After years of divvying up cuts, state lawmakers have a pleasant financial problem: deciding how to spend as much as $300 million in unallocated cash from Louisiana's treasury. The Associated Press reports dollars include a surplus from the last fiscal year and excess collections from a recent tax-amnesty period that generated more than expected. With the cash surprise comes disputes about how to allocate the money in a state that has struggled through years of budget slashing, faces a looming shortfall next year and has a list of needs that far surpass available income. "Everybody has an idea," says Sen. Jack Donahue, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "At least it's nice to have money to talk about." Some people are eyeing the money for long-stalled highway projects. Donahue, R-Mandeville, thinks the state's "rainy day" fund should be replenished with some of the cash, since the state owes the fund $330 million by 2015 as part of a lawsuit settlement. Lawmakers eyeing a...

One love, one lawsuit

Bob Marley's family apparently has little love for Raising Cane's. Fifty-Six Hope Road, owned by Marley's widow and children, has asked a federal court in Massachusetts to permanently stop the fried chicken finger chain from using the phrase "One Love"—which also happens to be the title of the reggae songwriter's immortal ballad—in its promotions.


Late this summer, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East sued 97 oil and gas companies, seeking unspecified (but no doubt massive) damages to pay for the industry's share in contributing to the state's coastal erosion. Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes since have filed similar suits. Louisiana Oil & Gas Association President Don Briggs calls the lawsuits "just more extortion by the trial lawyers," while former authority member John Barry says it's right to hold the industry accountable.

Judge revisiting challenge of La. teacher tenure law

A Baton Rouge judge is today reconsidering his decision to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamp of teacher tenure and salary laws. The Associated Press reports Judge Michael Caldwell is set to begin a hearing at 9:30 this morning on the issue. He had previously ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional because it bundled together too many items spanning Louisiana's education laws. But the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated Caldwell's decision and asked him to re-evaluate his ruling. The Supreme Court said its opinion in a separate education case involving Jindal's statewide voucher program contains new case law for Caldwell to review. In that case, the high court rejected a similar argument that the voucher bill contained too many objectives. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers filed the lawsuit challenging the 2012 law, which limited local school boards' authority, made it harder for teachers to reach tenure and eliminated statewide teacher pay scales.

Despite 'hostile' court decisions, class-action litigation alive and well in La.

An October headline in Bloomberg Businessweek proclaimed "The end of the class-action carnival." "Is the end of class actions upon us?" SCOTUSblog wondered. "Justice for Big Business," was the decision law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky spotlighted on the July 1 opinion page of The New York Times. But Louisiana lawyers on both sides of the class-action question tell Business Report they wonder if reports of the anticipated demise of these mass torts aren't greatly exaggerated. Class action, in which a large number of plaintiffs—often each with a small claim—come together to make litigation possible, has always been a complex issue. When the class-action rule was rewritten in 1968, these cases became more widely used and largely centered on anti-trust, security fraud, civil rights and consumer suits. Cases in which attorneys get multimillion-dollar fees while plaintiffs receive little compensation make the headlines. Yet, in recent years, the judicial...

Lawyers for levee board, oil and gas companies at odds over which court should hear suit

A legal tug-of-war continues in a state levee board's lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies over the erosion of wetlands. The Associated Press reports the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East wants U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown to send the case back to Orleans Parish Civil District Court, where the board filed it in July. Attorneys for Chevron USA Inc. got the lawsuit moved to federal court in August, arguing that federal laws govern many of its claims. Since then, lawyers have filed hundreds of pages of arguments and exhibits just on the question of which court should hear the case. Brown has scheduled arguments on the matter today. The lawsuit says oil and gas canal and pipeline work has contributed to the erosion of wetlands that protect New Orleans when hurricanes move ashore. Corrosive saltwater from a network of oil and gas access and pipeline canals has killed plants that anchored the wetlands, letting waves sweep away hundreds of...

Eight former workers sue 'Times-Picayune' and parent company

Eight former employees of The Times-Picayune have sued the newspaper and parent Advance Publications Inc., alleging their layoffs violated a longstanding "job security pledge" and age discrimination laws. The Associated Press reports the plaintiffs were 46 to 59 years old when they lost jobs ranging from warehouse worker to reporter in June and September 2012. They either were not allowed to apply or applied unsuccessfully for lower-paid replacement jobs, according to lawsuits filed on Wednesday and Friday last week in Orleans Parish Civil District Court. Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. The plaintiffs are: Keith Catalanotto, 53; Patricia Gonzalez, 59; Aileen Kelly, 50; Vivian Hernandez, 50; Jeanne Woods, 60; Ulpiano Lugo, 50; Stephanie Stroud Naylor, 47; and Patricia Pitt, 49. All the plaintiffs said they relied on a longstanding company pledge not to fire non-union workers because of economic or...

Under fire

An October headline in Bloomberg Businessweek proclaimed "The end of the class-action carnival." "Is the end of class actions upon us?" SCOTUSblog wondered. "Justice for Big Business," was the decision law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky spotlighted on the July 1 opinion page of The New York Times.

Local lawsuits more to Jindal's liking

There is a good reason why Gov. Bobby Jindal responded so calmly to Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes suing dozens of oil companies for coastal damage, compared to his ballistic reaction to a similar suit filed earlier by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

Judge refuses to delay CNSI lawsuit against state

A Baton Rouge judge is allowing a Maryland company to move forward with its wrongful termination lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration. Client Network Services Inc. sued the state for canceling its $200 million Medicaid contract. Judge Tim Kelley today rejected a request from the attorney general's office to delay evidence-gathering in the case until January, The Associated Press reports. Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell argued the delay was needed to protect the integrity of a separate state grand jury investigation into the CNSI contract award. Kelley said he received no evidence to suggest that allowing the wrongful termination lawsuit to proceed would harm the criminal case. The Jindal administration has accused its former health secretary, Bruce Greenstein, of inappropriate contact with CNSI during the bid process. CNSI sued, saying it did nothing wrong.

Feds seek more time for documents in La. voucher case

The U.S. Justice Department is asking for extra time to produce documents in a case linking the state's private school tuition program to longstanding federal desegregation orders. Gov. Bobby Jindal responded in a prepared statement today, saying that the request is an example of Obama administration incompetence. "Were these documents lost in the Obamacare website? Or did the Department of Justice just ignore the documents and file a lawsuit against the state without having all of the information available?" Jindal says in the statement. Justice attorneys say in papers filed Tuesday that the recent partial shutdown of the federal government has contributed to a delay in compiling the documents being sought by Louisiana. They asked for a new Dec. 16 deadline. The case arises from an August filing in which the Justice Department argues there is evidence that moving students from...

Trash talking

Over the course of her tenure with Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Executive Director Leigh Harris has issued cautionary tales about what happens when communities don't pick up their trash.