The Louisiana Insurance Commissioner has issued Rule 22 for Hurricane Ida which allows policyholders an opportunity to mediate disputes with underwriters for claims up to $50,000. This is a streamlined approach where each side submits a position paper and meets with an assigned mediator at no cost to the insured. Notice of this program and
Offshore Jurisdictional Issue Primer
Disputes arising in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) following Hurricane Ida can be subject to three bodies of law: maritime law, federal law under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and state law, whether surrogate federal law under the OCSLA or within territorial waters. Jurisdiction for claims arising in the GOM is generally a federal question under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 subject to the saving to suitors clause in certain maritime-related claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1333(1). Jurisdictional issues can be complicated and fact-based where maritime and non-maritime “services” are “mixed,” as discussed in Baker v. Hercules Offshore, Inc., 706 F.3d 680 (5th Cir. 2013).
The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), as defined, consists of submerged lands, subsoil, and seabed in a specified zone up to 200 or more nautical miles seaward of the adjacent states’ jurisdiction. The OCSLA, 43 U.S.C. § 1331, et seq., regulating OCS operations extends federal jurisdiction to OCS operations and resources under 43 U.S.C. § 1349(b). Likewise, the OCSLA extends the benefits conferred by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) to employees working on the OCS.…
Hurricane Ida Checklist for Louisiana Homeowners—Contracting for Repair of Disaster Damage
As property owners shift their focus to repairing damages from Hurricane Ida, they should not lose their focus when it comes to the less apparent concerns that come with engaging contractors. Entities, like the Louisiana State Contractor Licensing Board, provide a certain level of protection to the consumer; however, caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) should still always be in the back of the minds of property owners as they navigate the path to recovery. The checklist below is provided to assist in this process.…
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After the Storm: Rebuilding and Protecting Your Property Value
Hurricane Ida brought strong winds, flooding, and mass destruction along the Louisiana coast. Although the Gulf South is no stranger to hard-hitting storms, each disaster brings a new set of obstacles for property owners and homeowners.
With the recovery process underway, many residents are still struggling to find the resources needed to rebuild or protect…
Lafourche Parish, LA Local Sales Tax Collector Grants Local Sales Tax Filing Extensions to Certain Dealers/Taxpayers Impacted by Hurricane Ida
In a letter recently issued to Lafourche Parish, LA sales/use taxpayers, the Lafourche Parish local sales/use tax collector Amanda Granier explains that Lafourche Parish has now granted Lafourche Parish local sales/use tax filing extensions to certain dealers/taxpayers impacted by Hurricane Ida.
The Lafourche Parish sales/use tax office was “closed for the foreseeable future” due to…
When Force Majeure is for Sure: The Business of Construction in Disaster-Prone Areas
Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana on August 29, 2021, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm blasted Southeast Louisiana as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental United States, knocking out the power grid to all of New Orleans, blowing roofs off buildings, flooding homes and businesses, and even reversing the flow of the Mississippi River.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, rescuers in boats and high-water trucks brought hundreds of people trapped by Hurricane Ida’s floodwaters to safety, while utility repair crews rushed to restore power in the stifling, summer heat.
Approximately two weeks later, Louisiana found itself in the path of another storm. On September 14, 2021, Hurricane Nicholas rubbed salt into the wounds of the Ida-battered Louisiana when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm along the Texas coastline, before downgrading to a tropical storm and stalling over Louisiana with heavy rains in areas struggling to recover from Ida. Heavy rainfall from Nicholas forced utility crews and contractors in some areas to stop work and sent residents rushing to protect their homes and businesses.
Although the scale of Ida’s damage was perhaps unexpected, one likely could have predicted in early 2021 that at least some portion of the Gulf Coast would be struck by a hurricane that year. The reality is that constructing in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida in July, August, or September carries with it the very real risk that your construction site will be struck by a hurricane or tropical storm. The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season has already seen 14 named systems, including five hurricanes, three of which have been major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher.…
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Hurricane Ida and OPA’s Acts of God
A significant number of oil spills have been reported in the wake of Hurricane Ida’s passage over the Gulf of Mexico and south Louisiana. Does a major hurricane like Ida qualify as an “act of God” under the Oil Pollution Act so as to provide a defense to spill liability? This post examines the act of God defense under the Oil Pollution Act.
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Force Majeure Under Texas Law in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
Following the devastating landfall of Hurricane Ida, one lingering question is whether the effects of this Gulf storm will be sufficient to excuse a delay or failure to perform. Many parties in oil and gas, oilfield service, and energy infrastructure that have been affected by the storm utilize Texas law in their service contracts, and in most cases, these parties will find some level of coverage under the terms of the force majeure provisions in their contracts.
Indeed, a number of oil and gas industry giants have already declared force majeure in their business dealings over the past couple of weeks — Royal Dutch Shell, the largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico; offshore drilling contractor Noble Corporation; and OxyChem, of Occidental Petroleum, to name a few. Whether the storm will be sufficient to excuse any delay or failure to perform will depend largely on the circumstances of the delay or failure to perform and the exact language of their force majeure clauses.…
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LDEQ’s Hurricane Ida Emergency Declarations: What Do They Cover?
On August 27, 2021, with Hurricane Ida’s impact on South Louisiana imminent, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued a statewide Declaration of Emergency. The Declaration provided guidance on a number of expected impacts of the storm, including “upset” of Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits by wastewater treatment plants, the influx of solid waste disposal at landfills, the need to repair permitted facilities to commence operations, and the extension of deadlines. The original Declaration was set to expire on September 26, 2021. On August 28, LDEQ issued the First Amended Declaration of Emergency, which was substantively identical to the first and also applied to the entire state.…
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Property Damage Suffered as a Result of Hurricane Ida Must be Considered by Assessors into Determining the Fair Market Value
In response to the pandemic, the Jones Walker SALT team published an article regarding La. R.S. 47:1978.1 and its mandate that property damaged, destroyed, or rendered nonoperational due to an emergency declared by the governor was subject to reassessment, including the consideration of additional obsolescence, as a result of that physical and financial damage.
In response to Hurricane Ida, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statewide state of emergency order on August 26, 2021. As such, any property, including buildings, structures, or personal property that was damaged, destroyed, or rendered nonoperational by Ida “shall” be subject to reassessment by the assessor. In fact, the Louisiana Tax Commission (Commission) recently issued Statewide Advisory No. 03-2021 encouraging any taxpayer whose property was destroyed, damaged, or rendered nonoperational due to Ida to document all damages and submit appropriate documentation, including photographs, to their assessor.…
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