Articles Posted in Random Miscellaneous

cheer_cheerleader_girl_women-scaledGender Discrimination has unfortunately been around for as long as time, infiltrating many corners of people’s lives. But when you feel discriminated against at your high school, the lawsuit process can be much trickier than some might think. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addresses whether a Title IX claim can be brought and successfully won when a picture is posted to the internet, violating a school’s policy. 

Rebecca Arceneaux attended Assumption High School (“AHS”) and was on the varsity cheerleading team from her freshman to junior years. A photo of Arceneaux in her uniform skirt that was raised appeared on the popular social media app Snapchat. This publicly viewed picture was brought to the attention of the school, and Arceneaux was punished with in-school suspension and dismissed from the cheerleading team. Arceneaux’s parents appealed the suspension with no avail. On May 19, 2016, her parents filed suit on her behalf against the school, claiming the discipline constituted gender discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit considered words of Title IX and gender discrimination. AHS is under the jurisdiction that receives federal funding for operation and benefits. Arceneaux alleged that this jurisdiction subjected her to intentional discrimination by punishing female student-athletes more harshly than a male athlete would be punished for doing the same or similar behavior. 

notepad_pad_paper_yellow-scaledWills and testaments often lead to family drama after a family member dies. Fights over control, money, and inheritance can lead to many legal and emotional battles. When those battles of power come to a legal setting, how do courts assess if a will has validly identified a new overseer of the estate?

Strouder Pelfrey died in August 2015 with a last will and testament in place. His son, Steven Pelfrey, later filed a petition requesting the trial court appoint him as the administrator and declare his father’s will and testament invalid. Steven argued that the will violated La. C.C. art. 1577 by lacking a sufficient attestation clause. Following Steven’s petition, Theresa Pelfrey filed a petition to probate the will and be appointed executrix as Strouder designated in his will. The trial court appointed Theresa executrix of the decedent’s estate, pending the result of Steven’s petition to be appointed administrator. The trial court later determined that Strouder’s will did not violate La. C.C. art. 1577, and denied Steven’s petition. Steven appealed that decision, bringing the case to the Second Circuit. 

Louisiana law states that the requirements for the execution of wills and testaments must be followed–otherwise, the testament is invalid. La. C.C. art. 1573. Strict adherence to these requirements ensures the will’s authenticity and protects wills from various issues, such as fraud or undue influence. Succession of Roussel, 373 So. 2d 155, 158 (La. 1979).

nebraska_state_capitol_s_4Picture this: you’re enjoying your daily dose of local news when your name surfaces amidst a hailstorm of defamatory allegations. Your reputation takes a blow, and you decide to fight back by filing a lawsuit. This might sound like a gripping storyline from a TV courtroom drama, but for Mary R, this was a harsh reality. Today we’ll delve into her case, a fascinating battle highlighting the intriguing intersections between public figures, free speech, and defamation law.

The otherwise bustling city of Baton Rouge, home to the Louisiana State University Tigers and famed for its vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations, became the backdrop of a less joyous event. It was here that Mary R found herself at the center of a legal maelstrom against John L and the consolidated governing body of the city itself. Mary R’s contention? She claimed that John L had cast aspersions on her, uttering false statements that tarnished her good name, while the city officials who could have reined in these allegations simply looked the other way. The case thus began, a small David standing against a massive municipal Goliath.”

Mrs. R had filed a lawsuit, claiming John L had made false and defamatory statements about her, while the members of the City Parish who could have prevented such defamation failed to do so. The defendants filed a special motion to strike, and the trial court dismissed Mary R’s claims with prejudice in July 2015.

psychology_psychotherapy_531071-scaledThe fundamental right to due process is a cornerstone of constitutional protection, ensuring that individuals are treated fairly within legal proceedings. Nevertheless, the delicate line between potential bias and genuine due process violations is not always easily discernible. A telling example can be found in a noteworthy case from East Baton Rouge, where the revocation of a psychologist’s license came under scrutiny for alleged due process infringements. This case probes the intricate considerations surrounding bias, procedure, and the boundary between legitimate legal actions and violations of constitutional rights.

This case concerns the revocation of Dr. Eric R. Cerwonka’s psychologist’s license. An administrative complaint and supplemental notice, including an additional statement of material facts and matters, was filed against Dr. Cerwonka, alleging he violated the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (the Board’s) rules and regulations. After a disciplinary hearing, the Board revoked his license to practice psychology in Louisiana. Dr. Cerwonka then filed a petition with the Nineteenth Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, where he claimed the Board lacked substantial evidence showing his license should be revoked and that his right to due process was violated. 

The District Court found the Board violated Dr. Cerwonka’s right to due process by allowing a member of the same law firm as the Board’s general counsel to serve as presiding officer during the administrative proceeding and by permitting the individual who represented Dr. Cerwonka in a prior legal matter to serve as the Board’s prosecuting attorney.  

court_civil_ceremony_legal-scaledIn law, there is a saying that you do not get two bites from the same apple. This means if a court issues a final judgment on the merits of your claim, you cannot file another lawsuit against the same parties involving the same claim. Does a dismissal without prejudice bar you from filing another lawsuit?

Robert Palermo and his wife filed a personal injury lawsuit against CanadianOxy and its insurers, including Certain Underwriters, for the injuries Palermo allegedly suffered from his on-the-job exposure to asbestos-containing materials. In response, Certain Underwriters filed an answer, raising various affirmative defenses and seeking contributions from several entities. Some of the third parties from whom Certain Underwriters sought contribution filed exceptions based on procedural issues, including improper service and lack of jurisdiction. The trial court granted these exceptions. 

Certain Underwriters did not re-serve the third parties to remedy the improper service within the time specified in the trial court order, so the court dismissed the Certain Underwriters’ claims against the third parties without prejudice under La. C.C.P. art. 932(B). Certain Underwriters were granted leave to file a supplemental demand. Certain third parties then filed various exceptions, including an exception of res judicata. 

home_villa_building_dreamBuying a house can often lead to significant stress, particularly due to the substantial financial commitments involved. A prevalent feature in real estate contracts is known as a “contingency.” One notable example is the financing contingency, which stipulates that the sale of a property is dependent on the buyer successfully obtaining a fitting mortgage. However, an intriguing scenario emerges: What transpires if a contract with a financing contingency unravels after the buyer has already submitted a deposit? The ensuing question arises – who rightfully lays claim to this deposited amount? The forthcoming legal case delves into this intricate web of uncertainties, providing insights that shed light on the matter.

Andrea Saltau-Talbot wanted to buy a residential property in Alexandria, Louisiana. She entered an Agreement to buy the property and extended the closing date twice, but the sale never went through. Talbot and the sellers claimed they were entitled to the $30,000 deposit she had provided under the Agreement. The Agreement contained a financing contingency, but the blanks for the specific conditions included a “TBD.” Talbot claimed she had been unable to secure suitable financing, so she was entitled to have the deposit returned to her. 

A lawsuit followed to determine who was owed the deposit. After a hearing, the trial court ruled the Seller was entitled to the deposit because Talbot had not proved she had made a good faith effort to obtain financing. Talbot appealed.

united_states_capitol_politics_1-scaledPersonal attacks often take center stage in the tumultuous arena of modern political campaigns, leaving no stone unturned and no reputation untouched. Yet, amidst this well-trodden path of character assaults, a unique legal battle emerges, where the crosshairs were not directed at a political rival but rather a candidate’s ex-spouse. In a case that blurs the lines between public discourse and private matters, the spotlight falls on the intersection of defamation claims and the exercise of free speech. Can a campaign ad’s accusations against an ex-spouse be enough to launch a successful legal battle?

Nicholas Schittone filed a lawsuit against Brooke Stoma, Candyce Perret, and Perret for Judge Campaign, LLC for defamation related to a commercial advertisement that ran on television and radio related to Perret’s candidacy in an election for an open judgeship position on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana. Schittone claimed the advertisements included defamatory statements that accused him of being abusive to his child and ex-wife, Stoma. He admitted his name was not used in the advertisement but claimed the content made it obvious to those who knew him that the accusations related to him. 

The defendants filed a special motion to strike under La. C.C.P. art. 971 and claimed Schittone’s lawsuit should be dismissed because he could not meet his burden that he was likely to succeed in his claim on the merits. The trial court denied the defendant’s special motion to strike, finding Schittone was not running for office, so the issues in the campaign were not of public interest or concern, so the commercial did not relate to their exercise of free speech. The trial court also awarded Schittone attorneys’ fees. The defendants filed an appeal.

prison_prison_window_window-1-scaledIf you receive notice of a court hearing, you must pay attention to it. The following case shows the potential adverse consequences if you ignore a court hearing notice. These can include a warrant being issued for your arrest or having your lawsuit dismissed. However, the case also unveils a glimmer of hope for those entangled in such legal dilemmas, offering a glimpse into the avenues available to those who believe justice has been denied.

Rita and Summer Brown were arrested for outstanding warrants from their failure to appear at a judgment debtor rule hearing. After their arrest, they filed lawsuits against the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Jerry Larpenter, and an unnamed insurance company, seeking damages for false arrest. The claims against the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office were dismissed. The lawsuit against Larpenter went to trial. The court ruled in favor of Larpenter. The Browns then appealed. 

The Browns argued they had never been served the notice for the judgment debtor rule court hearing, so they were unaware they were required to appear in court. They also claimed they were unaware of the subsequent warrants for their arrest after they failed to appear at the hearing. 

sydney_prison_offshore_prison-scaledImagine the hardships of being denied basic necessities solely because of a disability. In such cases, how can individuals with disabilities navigate the legal system to seek justice and equal treatment? These questions gain significant relevance when we examine recent allegations of denied accommodations and rights violations. This situation sheds light on the challenges confronted by individuals with disabilities and raises important considerations regarding the responsibility of institutions to provide reasonable accommodations. The pursuit of justice and equal rights is a fundamental principle in any democratic society, yet there are instances where individuals encounter substantial obstacles, particularly in cases involving accessibility rights.

Sherman Mealy, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, faced significant difficulties while in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. After his release, he filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux III, the City, and Parish. Mealy alleged that he was denied wheelchair-accessible showers and had to rely on other inmates for assistance. He also claimed that he was denied crucial medical supplies, resulting in physical injury, property damage, and emotional distress.

Mealy’s lawsuit was based on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 aim to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. These laws ensure equal access to public services, prohibit disability-based discrimination and enable individuals to seek remedies for rights violations. Mealy argued that the defendants failed to provide reasonable accommodations for his disability. Denying him wheelchair-accessible showers and essential medical supplies worsened the challenges he faced during his incarceration. 

private_property_sign_posted-scaledThe world of mortgages can be daunting, especially when it involves your most significant asset – your home. This is especially true when there are multiple property owners, or there have been multiple transactions and conveyances of this property. Ensuring the validity of a mortgage is paramount, and as the following case demonstrates, strict requirements must be met to safeguard property owners’ rights. It also helps answer the question; What happens if a mortgage is recorded without a legal description of the property?

Marjorie Porter received full ownership of a property as part of her divorce settlement with her ex-husband. Decades later, Porter allegedly made an act of donation of half of the property to her daughter, Sandie Parkman. Porter allegedly executed a mortgage on the jointly owned property. A few days after the mortgage was signed, Parkman attempted to donate her interest to her mother. However, her mother never accepted the donation and subsequently died. 

Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC then filed a lawsuit to recognize the validity of the mortgage Porter had executed. Ocwen named Parkman as a defendant as well as Porter’s succession. Parkman argued Ocwen did not have a cause of action because there was no valid mortgage. She claimed the mortgage was partly invalid because it did not include a legal description of the at-issue property in the document recording the mortgage. The trial court denied Parkman’s motion. Parkman appealed. 

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