The project involved repair and mitigation construction services at the Main Campus for the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. The project was publicly advertised for bids by the State of Louisiana, Division of Administration. The lowest monetary bidder was determined to be ineligible for the award due to unit-price errors on its bid form. The firm’s client had submitted the second lowest monetary bid, which the DOA determined to be responsive. As a result, the DOA awarded the project to the firm’s client as the lowest responsive bidder.
In a recent decision concerning the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act (TWCA), the Texas Supreme Court emphasized the high bar plaintiffs must meet to satisfy the narrow “intentional tort” exception in the statute. As in many other states, a Texas worker’s injuries sustained during the course of employment are exclusively governed by the TWCA. The only exception that would allow a worker to sue an employer for damages outside the purview of the TWCA is if the employer intentionally caused the worker’s injuries. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that an employer who commits gross negligence or deliberately ignores a risk of injury to an employee does not meet the definition of “intentional” under the TWCA.
The Department of Labor recently issued a proposed rule to determine whether workers are considered employees or independent contractors. If adopted, the new five-factor test will implement an updated standard by which companies must classify workers as either employees or independent contractors for the purpose of workers’ compensation and labor laws.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana recently issued a ruling that clarifies the liability of a surety when a claimant gives late notice of a loss and also made clear the duty of a commercial general liability (“CGL”) carrier to indemnify its insured for an economic-loss claim. In Yor-Wic Construction Co., Inc. v. Engineering Design Technologies, Inc., No. 17-0224, 2020 WL 3964775 (July 13, 2020), Yor-Wic, a subcontractor, was denied the opportunity for a subcontract and subsequently brought a lawsuit against the surety and the general contractor.
In the 2020 Regular Session, the Louisiana Legislature attempted to resolve an apparent circuit split among the First and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeal by codifying the requirements for a public entity to withhold liquidated damages (LDs) on public projects. House Bill 758 was originally intended to allow LDs to be withheld on all public contracts. However, after much debate, the bill was limited to “flood protection” and “integrated coastal protection” projects.
In a recent U.S. Fifth Circuit case applying Texas law, the court cited the economic-loss rule to bar recovery for damage to a steam turbine generator caused by a faulty software upgrade in Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Emerson Process Management Power & Water Solutions, Inc., 954 F.3d 804 (5th Cir. 2020). Ruling on an unsettled question of law in Texas, the Fifth Circuit was required to make an “Erie guess” as to whether the Texas Supreme Court would apply the economic-loss rule to bar tort recovery for a faulty replacement part that damaged the original product.
In three recent insurance decisions, Louisiana courts again reminded potential claimants of important insurance principles. These decisions addressed (1) claims that may arise out of contractual and delictual (tort) duties; (2) the manifestation trigger theory to determine policy coverage; and (3) the meaning and application of an “occurrence” for CGL coverage.
The Louisiana Legislature has joined a number of other states—including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Ohio—in introducing legislation that would require business interruption insurance to retroactively cover business losses attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a final rule on joint employment under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which drastically changes joint-employer status from a broad indirect-control theory to a more narrow “substantial direct and immediate control” theory.
The Louisiana Supreme Court recently issued a ruling clarifying the time period for insureds to assert bad-faith claims against their insurers that will have far-ranging effects on the insurance industry in the State of Louisiana.