On February 12, 2014, President Obama followed up on comments made during his State of the Union address and signed an Executive Order increasing the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors. The Order, which increases the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, covers all employees who perform services or construction work under

By David K. Nelson

All persons associated with non-public construction projects in Louisiana are affected by, and should be familiar with, the Louisiana Private Works Act. La. R.S. 9:4801, et. seq. (“PWA”).  The two fundamental policies behind the implementation of the PWA summarized are:

  1. To protect those who contribute to the improvement of immovable property by ensuring that the owner does not benefit from their labor without compensating them; and
  2. To incentivize the owner to take reasonable steps to ensure that contractors and suppliers are paid.

The PWA was first enacted in 1981 and was based upon the work and recommendations of the official advisory law revision commission and, the law reform agency and legal research agency of the State of Louisiana – The Louisiana Law Institute. Over the last thirty years, numerous amendments and revisions to the PWA have resulted in piece-meal changes to certain provisions that lead to confusion, ambiguity, and potential traps for the unwary.

Recognizing the undesirable effects of the many revisions, the 2012 Louisiana Legislature has once again turned to the Louisiana Law Institute for its recommendations to simplify and better organize the provisions of the PWA.


Continue Reading On the Horizon, Revisions to the Louisiana Private Works Act: “The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same”

Background of Louisiana Revised Statute 9:4815

Louisiana has a unique statute in its Private Works Act which requires owners to deposit retainage funds in an interest bearing escrow account for construction contracts over $50,000. While a number of other states have statutory provisions as to how much retainage may be withheld under a construction contract, Louisiana’s statute, which does not regulate those substantive terms, instead dictates how those funds are handled during the course of the project.

The statute, found at Louisiana Revised Statute 9:4815, was added to the Private Works Act by Act 638 of 2010. While the bill as originally introduced applied to all funds withheld from periodic payments by an Owner, the final version of the Act applies only to “retainage.”

Continue Reading Louisiana’s Unique Retainage Escrow Requirements for Construction Contracts

Almost everyone knows insurance policies provide a defense and indemnity for insureds, if the terms and conditions of the insurance policy are met. Insureds include named insureds, other insureds (as defined by the policy) or additional insureds as provided by endorsement. However, insurance policies may also provide payment and defense to others who are not insureds under the policies.

Most liability policies provide coverage to the insureds for liability when the insureds have contractually agreed to provide indemnity and/or defense to or party to a contract. A typical example of contractual indemnity coverage can be found in a construction contract to supply labor and materials related to electrical wiring in the construction of a home, office, pipeline or oil rig.

Continue Reading Contractual Indemnity Coverage Under Someone Else’s Insurance Policy May Provide Coverage in Unexpected Places

The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 (the “Act”) added several new sections to the Internal Revenue Code that provide certain tax benefits for affected hurricane disaster areas. Section 1400N(a) authorized the issuance of Qualified Private Activity Bonds (“Qualified Bonds”) to finance the construction and rehabilitation of residential and nonresidential property located in the Gulf

In today’s political and economic environment, in which public resources available for infrastructure development and maintenance are increasingly scarce, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) offer a welcome alternative to traditional financing and operation models. A PPP is a contractual agreement between a public agency (federal, state or local) entity and a private sector entity to deliver a service or facility for public use. The Louisiana Supreme Court has recognized the public benefits of PPPs, finding that “public-private partnerships that take advantage of the special expertise of the private sector are among the most effective programs to encourage and maintain economic development, and that it is in the best interest of the State and its local governments to encourage, create, and support public-private partnerships.” See Board of Directors of Indus. Devel. Bd. of City of Gonzales, Louisiana, Inc. v. All Taxpayers, Property Owners, Citizens of City of Gonzales, 938 So.2d 11, 17 (La. 2006).

Continue Reading A Primer on Public-Private Partnerships

The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals has issued the first Appellate Court decision dealing with the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act and its application to Chinese Drywall claims in the case of Jennifer L. Caminita, wife of/and Frank L. Caminita v. Regina, wife of/and Barney Core, Smith and Core, Inc., et al., State of