On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued his “COVID-19 Action Plan” that orders OSHA to establish a rule to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing for all employers with 100 or more employees. The plan also includes an Executive Order with similar requirements for certain federal contractors. While many questions remain regarding what the final rules will look like, there are steps that companies can take now to prepare. In this live webinar, members of Jones Walker’s Labor and Employment practice group will explain what these executive orders may mean for you and will provide a game plan that can be implemented to get ready.

When: Thursday, September 16, 2021 | 3:00 p.m. CDT

Presenters:

Webinar Registration Details: Registration is complimentary. Click here to register for the webinar.

Questions? Brett Napier | bnapier@joneswalker.com

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.

Continue Reading Force Majeure Under Texas Law in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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.

Continue Reading LDEQ’s Hurricane Ida Emergency Declarations: What Do They Cover?

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.

Continue Reading Property Damage Suffered as a Result of Hurricane Ida Must be Considered by Assessors into Determining the Fair Market Value

Piecing things back together following a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Ida, can be a time-consuming and stressful process for individuals and companies alike.

For those in the maritime industry, there are a number of unique factors to be mindful of when assessing the extent and scope of damage. Below are some helpful tips from Jones Walker’s maritime emergency and casualty response team for responding to an emergency:

Continue Reading Best Practices when Responding to a Maritime Disaster

Vessels are vital for the movement of people and property (cargo) over inland waters, across blue water, and in support of offshore energy operations in post-Ida recovery. During post-Ida salvage and repair operations, vessels are necessary. Ida resulted in the destruction of terminals, docks, and platforms and also resulted in vessels “breaking away” from their moorings and sustaining heavy damages.

Vessels are hired, rented, or leased under the terms and conditions of charter parties and Master Service Agreements, which dictate the use, warranties, obligations, and allocation of risks between the parties. Understanding the basic structure of a vessel hire is important, just as when we rent a car or truck for personal or business purposes.

Continue Reading Charter Party and Service Agreements Will Lead the Way to Ida Recovery but Have Consequences

Following a major hurricane or other extreme weather event, vessel owners and operators may face liability for failure to perform their agreed contracts or for liability arising from an allision or collision. When such major hurricanes strike, to escape liability, vessel owners and operators may take advantage of two doctrines: (1) force majeure; and (2) the inevitable accident/ Act of God defense. Below we explain those doctrines and the burden of proof for each.

Continue Reading Hurricanes and Act of God Defenses

The IRS announced victims of Hurricane Ida now have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. This relief extends to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual or public assistance. This includes the entire state of Louisiana, and taxpayers in certain Ida-impacted localities designated by FEMA in neighboring states, including southern Mississippi, will also receive the same filing and payment relief.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Aug. 26, 2021, for Louisiana taxpayers, and Aug. 28, 2021, for certain Mississippi taxpayers. As a result of the relief, affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file various tax returns and pay various taxes that were originally due during this period. This means individuals and businesses, who had a valid extension to file their 2020 federal income tax returns, will now have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file their 2020 federal income tax returns. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2020 returns were due earlier in 2021, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

Continue Reading Tax Relief Available to Victims of Hurricane Ida

Continue Reading Tips for Preparing a Business Interruption Claim