We’ve all been there. You sit on the Board of a local non-profit organization as the token lawyer. Or, you volunteered to assist with your house of worship’s finance committee because you have some practice experience with banks. Inevitably the scenario comes up: “You’re a lawyer. Will you help us buy
The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 amended the New Markets Tax Credit program (“NMTC”) to provide that certain targeted populations may be treated as low-income communities. The Internal Revenue Service provided some guidance on the topic in Notice 2006-60 and in proposed regulations that were issued in 2008. Following a…
Last week, the United States Department of the Treasury announced the approval of applications from Louisiana and a handful of other states for State Small Business Credit Initiative (“SSBCI”) funding. The SSBCI is an important component of the Small Business Jobs Act (“the Act”) that was signed into law last fall.
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.
In today’s distressed retail market, the possibility of a tenant’s bankruptcy is a top concern for managers and owners of retail centers. Owners of commercial office buildings in many parts of the country are becoming increasingly concerned about tenant bankruptcies, too. Landlords need to know the options available when a tenant files for bankruptcy and should anticipate a tenant/debtor’s likely maneuvers in bankruptcy. This article provides a summary of relevant law and key strategic considerations to help landlords minimize losses and protect their interests when a tenant files bankruptcy.
Leases & “Executory Contracts”
Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code allows a debtor (i.e., an entity that has filed for bankruptcy) to either assume or reject an executory contract or unexpired lease. This way, a debtor may decide to assume any valuable contracts and reject any burdensome ones. If a bankruptcy tenant decides to assume an unexpired lease, the lease will remain in effect through and after completion of a Chapter 11 reorganization. Assuming the lease does not mean the tenant gets to stay in the space free of charge. The tenant must cure any outstanding defaults and perform all pending obligations in the lease.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, homeowners filing flood insurance claims under the National Flood Insurance Program’s (“NFIP’s”) Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”) should exercise extreme caution to avoid running afoul of the SFIP’s Proof of Loss requirement.
SFIP policies require that insureds asserting a claim file a Proof of Loss within 60 days, subject to such extensions as FEMA may approve, listing “the actual cash value of each damaged item of insured property, the amount of damage sustained, and the amount claimed as due under the policy to cover the loss."
Courts have consistently enforced this requirement in an extremely strict and severe manner, holding that failure to timely file a Proof of Loss complying with the regulatory requirements is a valid basis for denying an insured’s claim. If the policyholder does not strictly comply with the Proof of Loss requirement, the policyholder may not file suit to recover under its SFIP. That the insured’s losses are covered under the policy is irrelevant. The conduct of the insurer/adjuster in adjusting the claim is irrelevant. Timely filing a proper proof of loss is essential to filing suit under the SFIP.
Most commercial leases for multi-tenant properties contain clauses which regulate the tenants’ use of the leased premises. Many tenants will require a landlord to grant the tenant the exclusive right to operate a certain business or sell a certain product to avoid competing with other tenants. These provisions are appropriately referred to as exclusive use clauses. For the landlord to satisfy its obligations under an exclusive use clause of one lease, the landlord is required to incorporate provisions in its other leases prohibiting the other tenants from using the leased premises for the restricted purpose. These clauses are commonly referred to as prohibited use clauses.
Many C-Level executives and small business owners have heard of the Gulf Opportunity Zone (the GO Zone Act) and know that it does something for Louisiana businesses, but they do not know if or how the new law can help them and their employees. Kean Miller has prepared a comprehensive summary of the GO Zone Act and its sister law, the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (“KETRA”). This summary describes the key legislative provisions and explains how Louisiana-area businesses, both large and small, can maximize the GO Zone benefits available to them.…
Continue Reading What is the Gulf Opportunity Zone?
Very often, contracts prohibit assignment without the other party’s consent. If you think you might ever want to assign a contract (bearing in mind that a merger or sale of the business can trigger assignment), then this kind of provision should generally be modified by adding that the other party’s consent cannot be unreasonably withheld, conditioned or delayed.…
Continue Reading Withholding Consent to Assignment – What is Reasonable?
By Mark D. Mese Reproduced with permission from Class Action Action Litigation Report, Vol. 6, No. 21, pp. 795-797 (Nov 11, 2005). Copyright 2005 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033). http://www.bna.com The damages caused by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama constitute the largest natural disaster in U.S. history. Hurricane Katrina’s impact on insurers and their policyholders have already set in motion what will probably be one of the largest legal and public policy storms to hit the United States in modern times. Nowhere will the storm be more evident than in disputes involving wind and water damage coverage. The eye of the coverage storm is already manifesting itself in coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.…
Continue Reading Wind Versus Flood Coverage and Hurricane Katrina