A Short-Lived Judicial Precedent? Louisiana Legislature Acts to Un-do the Willis-Knighton Decision
From the uniformly excellent Harris DeVille & Associates newsletter, "HDA Issues," comes an alert that the Louisiana legislature has leapt into action to "fix" the startling Louisiana Supreme Court decision, Willis-Knighton Medical Center v. Caddo-Shreveport Sales & Use Tax Commission, 2004-C-0473, 4/1/05). There is an earlier post on the Louisiana Law Blog discussing the decision. Essentially, the majority decided that "component parts" of an immovable - i.e., those things that become part of the immovable -- are no longer gauged by "societal expectations," but by the degree of damage caused by their removal.
The Louisiana legislature is on the case.
Senate Bill 196 scrupulously adheres to the "two paragraph approach" and even contains remarkably detailed language explaining why there are two paragraphs in the article.
SB 196 Paragraph One reads: "Things, such as plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical or other installations, are component parts of an immovable as a matter of law."
SB 196 Paragraph Two reads: "Other things are considered to be permanently attached to an immovable if they cannot be removed without substantial damage to themselves or to the immovable or if, according to prevailing notions in society, they are considered to be component parts of an immovable."
Interestingly, Section 4 of the bill states that it is intended to "clarify and re-confirm interpretation of Louisiana Civil Code Article 466, including the 'societal expectations' analysis, that prevailed prior to the decision in Willis-Knighton Medical Center v. Caddo Shreveport Sales -- but does not state an authoritative source from which to divine the "societal expectations analysis."
The Senate passed the bill 36-0 on May 4, 2005, and it awaits action in the House.