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Baton Rouge Family And Business Law Blog

Jefferson Parish revokes permit for cyanide plant at Waggaman

Corporations whose businesses require governmental permits must constantly pay attention to the attitudes of local government entities. such as county boards, city councils and local zoning boards. Nowhere has this necessity been more acutely illustrated than in the action of the Jefferson Parish board's decision to revoke a permit for a cyanide plant that it had unanimously granted in January 2018.

The controversy involves Cornerstone Chemical Company's intention to construct a $100 million plant directly across the Mississippi River from the Louis Armstrong International Airport. In January 2018, the parish board voted 7-0 to approve a special permitted use for the site. When the public learned of the plans for the expansion after the permit was granted, several citizens' groups began an intense lobbying campaign. On April 3, 2019, the board voted 6-1 to retroactively rescind the permit.

Using an appraiser to settle property value issues in a divorce

Most people in Baton Rouge understand that Louisiana is a community property state. Therefore, marital property must be divided equally in every divorce. Many people wonder why or how an appraiser could be used in a Louisiana divorce. The answer is not obvious, but reasons for using an appraiser in the appropriate situation are compelling.

Just because marital property must be divided equally does not mean that a couple will not dispute the value of their home or business property. To divide marital property equally between the divorcing spouses, the couple must either agree on the value or present evidence to the court supporting the value they believe is appropriate. In both cases, an appraiser may help the parties or the court choose the proper value.

Recycler sues parish over waste permit license

Many companies in Baton Rouge and elsewhere in Louisiana must obtain a variety of licenses from state, county or municipal governments in order to operate their businesses lawfully. Businesses that deal with hazardous materials are especially subject to governmental regulation. Modern American Recycling Services, a company in Terrebonne Parish that recycles industrial waste, sued the parish alleging unfair treatment in the handling of its recent hazardous waste permit applications for 2017 and 2018.

The issue involves the company's method of handling what is called "naturally occurring radioactive material." In the past, MARS has shipped equipment containing naturally occurring radioactive material to other sites for cleaning and then the equipment is returned to the company's plant in Gibson for final cleaning, dismantling and recycling. The company's first application for a hazardous waste permit was denied in 2017. A second application in 2018 was granted by the parish board but the parish president vowed to veto the permit. After the president's power to veto the permit was questioned, the parish staff issued the permit with some harsh conditions.

How does a judge decide a child custody dispute in Louisiana?

Child custody may be the single most emotional factor in any Louisiana divorce. Many couples are able to reach an agreement on how they will take care of their children after the divorce is finalized, but some couples are unable to put aside their anger toward each other in discussing child custody. Some parents attempt to use the question of custody as a weapon against the other parent. When mutual agreement is not possible, the parents must turn to the judge, and many parents want to know how a judge will evaluate the various factors in a custody dispute.

Every judge in Louisiana must adhere to a single standard in deciding custody disputes: what arrangement will serve the best interests of the child? The phrase "best interests of the child" is unfortunately vague, but the legislature has provided some additional guidelines that the courts often rely upon. If the child is old enough, the court will inquire about their preferences. The court will also pay attention to the mental health of the parents. Another factor is whether the child has any special needs. If the family is religious, the court will take into account how each parent will incorporate religious values into the child's life.

What divorce decisions will be best for your children?

As you file for divorce, there are many matters to consider. You might think about how you will make ends meet once you are on your own. And you may wonder whether you will be able to keep your home.

Meanwhile, child custody could be difficult to determine. You might think your kids will be better off if you have sole custody. But do you know what the court takes into consideration?

Stanford Group class action suit transferred to Baton Rouge

The place where a lawsuit is heard can often have a significant impact on the outcome. A federal judge in Texas, in a little noticed order, has moved the venue of a class action against the Stanford Group to the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. An examination of the potential effect of this order reveals the importance of the place a business law trial takes place.

The case involves the Stanford Group and the Ponzi scheme it used to rob investors of an estimated $1 billion. The founder of the firm was convicted of fraud and is now serving a life sentence in federal prison.

Understanding property division in a Louisiana divorce

One of the most important questions in a Louisiana divorce is the division of the couple's property. Many residents of Baton Rouge understand that Louisiana is a community property state, but they usually do not understand how the law would affect the division of their property if they were to begin divorce proceedings.

Louisiana divorce law mandates that property owned by the spouses be divided into two classes: community property and separate property. Separate property includes all property owned by the individual spouses before the marriage occurs. Community property includes all property acquired during the marriage, including income generated by that property and property purchased with that income.

Comparing an asset purchase contract to a stock purchase contract

Buying or selling a Baton Rouge business can be unexpectedly tricky. Many questions must be answered for both the buyer and seller. This post will not attempt to answer or even raise all potential questions; instead, the major questions involved in the two most frequently used sales contracts will be explained.

After an owner decides to sell all or a portion of their business, they must first address the price. The price can be determined by the owner or by retaining a business appraiser. The actual price will, of course, be determined by negotiations between the seller and the buyer. The second - and perhaps more important - question is the structure of the sale.

How mediation can reduce the stress of a divorce

Residents of Baton Rouge who are contemplating a divorce may be uneasy about the anticipated stress, anxiety and anger that are the frequent but unwelcome components of the process. One of the most effective methods of eliminating these reactions from a divorce is the use of a trained mediator to assist in sorting through their issues. Many people view mediation as a surrender of their power to present their case to a judge, but, in reality, the mediation process enhances the power of each party to assert and protect their interests.

The first thing to understand about divorce mediation is that it is a voluntary process. While the court can order both parties to participate in mediation, neither the mediator nor the other party can force a solution that is opposed by the other party.  The mediator cannot force either party to accept an outcome that either one views as distasteful or disadvantageous, and the result of the mediation must be voluntary for both parties.

Secondly, a mediation is confidential.  The parties are negotiating a settlement, and all of the proceedings before the mediator are communications that cannot be disclosed to a court or used in evidence.  A professional mediator will have the parties sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the mediation taking place.

 Some parties hire a mediator on their own and go to mediation without the advice of an attorney.  While this may save some costs, it is best to have an attorney either advise you prior to the mediation or attend the mediation with you, so that you are fully aware of your rights and obligations.  Actually having attorneys for both sides at a mediation gives a better chance of the matter being resolved and the parties being ultimately more satisfied with the outcome, because they have been made fully aware of the pros and cons of their position by both their own attorney, the other side, and a third party independent mediator.

ITEP debate raises questions for Baton Rouge businesses

ITEP. Many residents of Baton Rouge have never seen this acronym, and many who have do not know what it means. ITEP means Industrial Tax Exemption Program, but even the words behind the acronym do not add much clarity. ITEP is a series of programs intended to stimulate business development by giving businesses tax breaks for locating in a municipality. In 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards revised the ITEP program over the loud protests of various business leaders. New regulations for the program were published in 2018, and many communities announced they were going to grant larger tax breaks than the reductions available under ITEP. Many state business leaders thought that the controversy had subsided, but two recent actions of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board have reignited the dispute.

Exxon Mobil applied to the school board for two ITEP grants, actions that had been previously approved by the state. The school board denied the applications, and Exxon then withdrew its requests. Many observers thought that Exxon was attempting to bully the school board, but others have accepted the Exxon action at face value. Supporters of ITEP point to its benefits in spurring industrial development, generating jobs and generally energizing the local economy. Smaller businesses do not often seek ITEP grants, but they benefit when a large corporation uses an ITEP grant to subsidize investment in their business. ITEP grants are often used to finance physical expansions, which, in turn, create construction jobs and permanent jobs when the facility goes on line.

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