On August 14, 2016, President Obama declared several parishes in southern Louisiana major disaster areas because of the severe storms and flooding that occurred. These parishes included Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.

If your principal residence is located in one of these parishes or your business’ principal place of business is located in one of these parishes, the designation of these parishes as a federally declared disaster area provides you with certain federal tax relief. This federal tax relief includes not only the suspension of certain deadlines to file tax returns or pay taxes, but also the ability to claim casualty losses incurred in the flooding on 2015 tax returns.
Continue Reading Federal Tax Return Filing and Payment Relief

As a result of the flooding throughout Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards issued Executive Order JBE 2016-053 to suspend deadlines in legal, administrative and regulatory proceedings.  The suspension is retroactive from Friday, August 12, 2016 and continues through Friday, September 9, 2016, unless amended, modified, terminated or rescinded by the Governor.

The Louisiana Department of

Two partners signs document stamped handle puts his signature cartoon flat design styleA “force majeure” clause is a contract provision that relieves the parties from performing their contractual obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance commercially impracticable or impossible. In Louisiana, absent agreement to the contrary, force majeure excuses parties from liability when they fail to perform due to a fortuitous event that makes performance impossible. So, in determining whether the doctrine applies, it is necessary to determine (1) whether performance is impossible and (2) whether the impossibility was caused by a fortuitous event. Here are a few things to consider when confronting force majeure issues:

  • In many commercial transactions, force majeure issues have been addressed in the contract, so it is important to obtain and review the contract.
  • Many contractual provisions and some statutory provisions require a party that is claiming force majeure to notify the other parties to the contract of the event of force majeure. Some provisions require “prompt,” “timely,” or “seasonable,” notice. Therefore, it is important to determine promptly whether there is a notice requirement in your client’s situation. Don’t just assume that because everyone knows about the 2016 flooding in Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes, notice provisions can be disregarded.
  • Some force majeure provisions or situations may totally relieve a party of an obligation to perform a contractual obligation. Other situations may merely suspend or delay the time for performance. It is important to determine which is applicable in a particular situation.

Continue Reading After the Storm—Key Force Majeure Issues