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LAKE Charles Law Blog

Unleashed dog goes for postal worker

To some people in Louisiana, the image of a mail carrier walking down a neighborhood street carrying a bag of mail may harken back to past, more relaxed times. However, this is still a big part of many postal carriers' days as they often get out of their trucks and deliver letters or packages on foot and by hand. In the process, they have to navigate things like uneven pavement, lifted pieces of sidewalks and loose dogs.

All of these things can pose a hazard to a mail carrier who is simply trying to do their job and serve the public. When the people responsible for things fail to take care of them, a mail carrier may be injured. That is exactly what happened in New Orleans in the spring of 2016. An unleashed dog managed to attack a postal carrier who was walking along a stretch of Moss Street in New Orleans while on the job.

Does Louisiana have any dram shop laws on its books?

Say that while driving your car in or around Lake Charles, you are struck by another driver who later was found to be intoxicated. He or she claims to have been at a bar who served him or her enough drinks to logically assume that he or she was too intoxicated to drive. On top of seeking compensation from the driver and his or her insurance company, can you also go after the establishment whose service contributed to getting him or her drunk for negligence?

The legal doctrine of dram shop laws places vicarious liability on establishments for their part in contributing to the negligent actions of their patrons. This doctrine draws it roots from old English taverns that sold their gin by the dram. Many states have enacted dram shop laws that would allow you to sue the bar mentioned in the opening example that served the driver that struck you (in most cases, you would have to prove that it’s employees knew the driver was drunk and still continued to serve him or her, or that they knowingly served alcohol to a minor). Yet Louisiana does not have such a law on its books. In fact, Louisiana statutes clearly state that it views the action of drinking to intoxication as being negligent, not the sale or serving of the drinks that help one reach such a state.

Does Roundup really cause cancer?

Are you a cancer patient who has used the weed killer called Roundup in the past? If so, you may have heard about the potential link between Roundup and cancer. Whether you have overheard it around work or read something in the news, you are likely rightfully concerned.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer cited research that the weed killer is a potential carcinogen that can cause cancer. Below is an overview of safety concerns surrounding Roundup and some recent findings.

Use of pesticides inspires controversy and legislation

Many in Louisiana, and around the country, have heard about the Environmental Protection Agency rejecting their own scientific conclusions about the safety of a widely used pesticide. As the New York Times reports, the new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, reversed a ban on the use chlorpyrifos. This chemical is used on over 40,000 farms in the country, but has been banned for household use since 2000.

The petition asking the EPA to ban all forms of chlorpyrifos was originally filed 10 years ago, and studies, including one at Columbia University, found that the chemical had potentially harmful effects on children and farm workers who were exposed to it through various sources, including drinking water. Those people who suffered ill-effects had problems with memory and other learning issues. Early this year, the EPA declined a ban on the chemical, allowing chlorpyrifos to continue to be used on farms across the nation.

State legislature to consider reduced speed for big rigs

Louisiana residents in any type of standard passenger vehicle who find themselves on the road next to a semi truck or other large vehicle know how incredibly vulnerable one can feel when in such proximity to these big rigs. The sheer size and weight of tractor trailers and many other commercial vehicles can make the impact of an accident more severe than if it involved smaller vehicles.

Speed is another factor that can contribute to the outcome of a crash. For this reason, a lawmaker from Baton Rouge is pushing for the state legislature to consider a reduction in speed limits for large vehicles like semis and school buses on state interstates. Currently, speed limits run between 70 and 75 miles per hour for all vehicles on these roads. To date, six other states have initiated a tiered approach to speed limits on interstates with larger vehicles being restricted to speeds of sometimes 10 miles per hour less than smaller vehicles.

How are class action settlements distributed?

The resolution of a class action lawsuit in Lake Charles can be a tedious process no matter what your level of involvement in the case may be. Hopefully, however, after all is said and done, a favorable ruling is issued and a settlement is awarded. Once that happens, it inevitable question then becomes “Now what?”

Your main interest then becomes what portion of that settlement you may be entitled to. As a class action lawsuit can potentially involve hundreds of plaintiffs, finding an answer to that question may not be easy. Thus, the decision of how to disperse the proceeds of a class action award is usually left to the court that issued the ruling.

Understanding CC&Rs

For those looking to buy a home in St. Charles, one of the main advantages of ownership that they likely hope to enjoy is the freedom to do what they want with their property. While most may understand that zoning laws and city ordinances mean that home modifications must be within reason, many new homebuyers still likely believe they have full control over landscaping as well as interior and exterior design decisions. However, that may not be true in some cases.

Those who move into a planned development (such as a subdivision or gated community) often become subject to certain rules known as covenants, conditions and restrictions. The real estate website Redfin.com defines CC&Rs as freedoms a homebuyer forfeits in order to be part of a shared community. Many associate CC&Rs with homeowners associations, when in reality they can also be mandated by builders, developers and community planners.  

Ways to increase your credit score before buying a house

Your home may be the biggest investment you ever make. If you are looking for your dream home, you could stay there forever and end up paying principal and interest for up to 30 years. When you apply for a loan, your credit score can directly affect your ability to borrow the money you need, and it may increase the interest rate you pay each month, increasing the actual price of your house by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If your score is above 580, you may qualify for an FHA loan, but a conventional mortgage loan often requires you have a FICO score of 720 or 740 in some cases. The importance of good credit brings you to the question of how you can build your credit score before buying a house.

Louisiana sees jump in auto accidents

Louisiana residents who take care to drive safely and defensively have good reason to feel frustrated with those drivers who choose to make dangerous choices. Whether a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking alcohol, sends or reads text messages while driving or drives at excessive speeds, the end result can be the same. Innocent people are put in harm's way and too often are injured or even killed because of it.

Distracted driving is just one of the things that some people are suggesting has contributed to a jump in the number of vehicle accidents in Louisiana. According to Louisiana State University's Highway Safety Program, auto wrecks increased by 12.4 percent from 2011 to 2015. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration indicates that nationally the increase during those five years was 18 percent. In Louisiana, a seven-percent increase was seen in one year from 2014 to 2015.

One dead, two hurt in suspected drunk driving crash

Louisiana residents may appreciate their state's zest for life and celebrations but they nonetheless deserve and want to know that they are safe when on the road. Sadly, when drivers make the choice to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheels of their vehicles, the safety of others takes a hit. Despite strong public awareness, drunk driving continues to cause heartache in Louisiana.

An example can be seen in a recent crash that happened in the latter part of a Thursday morning. A tow truck was stopped along the side of a stretch of Interstate 55 and the driver was helping a man with his vehicle that was disabled for some reason. The tow truck operator was reported to be standing outside of his vehicle on the road side, not the shoulder side, when he was hit by a 48-year-old drunk driver. The tow truck driver, who was only 34 years old, was pronounced dead at the crash site.

Lundy, Lundy Soileau & South, LLP

Main Office: 501 Broad Street Lake Charles, LA 70601 | Phone: 337-439-0707

Mailing Address: PO Box 3010 Lake Charles, LA 70602 | Fax: 337.439.1029