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

By J. Eric Lockridge

A recent opinion from the United States Bankruptcy Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana shows that even experienced lenders and developers may not always understand how Louisiana’s Private Works Act applies to their project, and how much leverage a properly filed notice of contract can provide to a general contractor.  Tuscany Reserve, LLC (“LLC”) was formed by sophisticated developers for the purpose of developing a new apartment complex in Baton Rouge. LLC obtained acquisition and construction financing from a bank (1st Bank), which properly recorded its mortgage on the project before work commenced. LLC hired “Contractor” to build the complex; Contractor recorded its notice of contract in the parish mortgage records.  As often happens, a dispute developed between LLC and Contractor regarding the work performed and lack of payment.  Contractor stopped work and filed a lien on the property under the Louisiana Private Works Act for $1.17 million.  Contractor eventually agreed to cancel its lien in exchange for a promissory note and guarantees from LLC’s principals and collateral provided by an LLC affiliate.  Once the lien was cancelled, 1st Bank funded two draw requests on the construction loan.  LLC needed more money for the project and turned to a new lender (2nd Bank) for additional financing.   2nd Bank secured its loan with a collateral mortgage on the immovable property for the project; there were no liens in the property records when 2nd Bank recorded its mortgage.  The relationship between LLC and Contractor soon soured, again, and Contractor filed two liens on the project, one for the original claim amount, plus interest, and another for $250,000.00.  Contractor sued LLC and its principals on the matured promissory note, and also sued LLC based on its rights under the recorded construction contract and the Louisiana Private Works Act. LLC eventually filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Middle District of Louisiana.

Continue Reading Lenders and Developers Need to Understand How Louisiana’s Private Works Act Applies to Their Projects

By Casey E. Faucon

On March 17, 2010, Mississippi Governor Hayley Barbour signed into law an amendment to Mississippi’s public bid law, more specifically, to Mississippi’s resident “preference law.” Miss. Code Ann. § 31-3-21(3). Under this recent amendment, all non-Mississippi resident contractors who bid on Mississippi public works contracts must attach to their bid a

By David K. Nelson

In an arbitration, the parties agree to hire one or more neutral third parties to hear the dispute and issue a ruling.  The parties further agree to abide by that ruling.  If one party fails to do so, the ruling can be enforced by a court of law just as if an actual judgment had been entered.  Some suggest the process is less costly and more efficient than litigation; however, significant rights can be lost under the guise of so called legal efficiency.

Continue Reading Beware: Arbitration

By Kevin C. Curry

On September 30, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance providing relief to homeowners who have suffered property losses due to the effects of certain imported drywall installed in homes between 2001 and 2009.  In particular, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2010-36 which enables affected taxpayers to treat damages from corrosive drywall as a casualty loss and provides a ”safe harbor” formula for determining the amount of the loss.

Continue Reading IRS Issues Safeharbor Relief for Those Impacted by “Chinese Drywall”

By Katie D. Bell

Electronic Discovery, or “E-Discovery”, is not considered the “novel issue” it once was. However, E-Discovery still presents problems that litigants and courts struggle with. Below is a summary of recent Louisiana Federal Court opinions dealing with the issues surrounding E-Discovery.

In Frees, Inc. v. McMillian, 2007 WL 184889 (W.D. La. Jan. 22, 2007), the Western District of Louisiana granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel. In an unfair competition and trade secret theft action, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant, a former employee, had stolen various data files. Plaintiff had unsuccessfully requested production of defendant’s laptop and desktop. The Court granted the motion to compel the defendant to produce these two items because they were the most likely places that the data files would be located. The Court did institute protective measures so as to prevent the disclosure of any irrelevant or personal information.
 

Continue Reading Recent Developments in E-Discovery in Louisiana

By Mark D. Mese

Judges in East Baton Rouge and St. Tammany Parish have issued two of the earliest rulings on the impact of the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act on claims by homeowners against contractors for damages related to Chinese Drywall. Both state district court judges have found that the Louisiana New Home Warranty

A law passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Bobby Jindal (Act 945) requires all bidders for public works contracts to certify that they have not entered a plea of either guilty or nolo contendre to certain crimes. Each bidder for public works contracts must certify in writing that they have not pleaded guilty or nolo contendre to: (1) public bribery (La. Rev. Stat. 14:118); (2) corrupt influencing (La. Rev. Stat. 14:120); (3) extortion (La. Rev. Stat. 14:66); or (4) money laundering (La. Rev. Stat. 14:230).

Continue Reading New Law Requires Public Works Contract Bidders to Certify They Have Not Pleaded Guilty to Certain Crimes