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Baton Rouge Business and Commercial Law Blog

Governor and Superintendent reach impasse in contracting dispute

Disputes in the business and government world can arise anytime. Resolving disputes such as contract disputes between parties may require legal expertise. Louisiana residents may be familiar with the stalemate over the Common Core academic standards between the Governor and the superintendent. As talks between the Governor and Superintendent are at an impasse, both may explore legal options to resolve the dispute.

Louisiana residents may find it helpful to learn that the legal dispute stems from a disagreement between the Governor and the Louisiana Board for Elementary and Secondary Education, represented by the State School Superintendent, over what types of school tests will be permissible in the upcoming school year.

Lindt chocolate company to acquire Russell Stover Candies

Louisiana chocolate lovers should be interested to know that Switzerland-based Lindt & Spruengli AG has formally agreed to acquire Russell Stover Candies Inc., the largest producer of boxed chocolates in the United States. The Russell Stover brand rose to prominence in the U.S. candy market when it appeared in the 1994 Academy Award-winning film "Forrest Gump."

If the acquisition is officially finalized, Lindt will remain the world's largest producer of premium chocolate but will grow to officially be the third-biggest chocolate producer in North America. Lindt has not released any information about the acquisition price, but according to a Financial Times reporting in early July a purchase price of $1.4 billion has been under discussion. The company did confirm however that the acquisition, should it go through, will be the largest in the company's history.

Construction dispute between parties can arise at any time

When it comes to constructing a building, there are usually many parties involved. Because of this, in the construction world, disputes about contracts, agreements, type of work and services and more can arise at any time. Louisiana residents may find it interesting to learn that recently a hockey arena in another state has been the center of a legal dispute that has been brewing between a crane rental company and the contractors that rented their cranes.

The crane renting company is suing for rental fees owed that it claims it has not received for its crane operating and operator services, as well as fees for renting related equipment and other items related to the construction project. The crane rental company claims that it has been waiting on payment since the fourth quarter of 2013. On the other hand, the hockey arena authorities and others the crane rental company is suing claim that they have not defaulted on any payments that are due to the crane company.

Contract approval suspended amid concerns around DOE contract

Louisiana residents may have already heard, and may find it interesting to learn that according to reports, recently the Office of Contractual Review (OCR) briefly suspended approval of a contract between the Department of Education (DOE) and a company called Data Recognition Corporations, which was expected to provide the DOE with consulting support services in the execution of the state's education assessment tools.

Although, OCR had already reviewed the contract previously, it is expected to scrutinize and closely review the contract again. The contract issues surfaced after a closer review of the contract indicated that additional review of the contract was necessary to fully understand the actual scope of the services Data Recognition Corporation was expected to provide. Furthermore, further review of the purchases of services and goods related to the consulting services was also necessary.

Can employers require a medical evaluation following FMLA leave?

At some point in their career, an individual may need to use the Family Medical Leave Act. Typically, before FMLA is approved, an employer requires an employee to produce medical proof or certification that the leave is necessary. However, when it is time for an employee to return to their job from FMLA leave, can an employer require a post-FMLA medical evaluation to make sure that the employee is able to perform their assigned duties?

Louisiana residents may find it helpful to learn that according to the American Disability Act an employer may be able to request a medical evaluation after reinstating an employee. In fact, a post-FMLA medical evaluation was put to test in a recent case. In that case, an investigator who was working at a county district attorney's office started suffering from anxiety and mood swings that apparently were manifesting in relation to a depression disorder that she was suffering from.

Louisiana realtor sued for breach of contract

Business contracts, including property sales, are entered into every day in Louisiana. While oftentimes these contracts are carried through, there are times when disputes arise. Recently, a licensed practicing realtor has been sued by a buyer for allegedly backing out of a property sale that was agreed upon by both parties. The buyer alleges in the suit that was filed that the firm reneged on a property sale after a contract for the sale was drawn up and executed.

In the complaint that was filed, the buyer alleges that he had made an offer on a piece of property in Louisiana that was listed for sale. According to the lawsuit, a counteroffer was made. Both parties accepted the terms of the deal and a contract was formally executed shortly thereafter.

Beats Electronics to be acquired by Apple for nearly $3 billion

Louisiana residents interested in technology may find it interesting to learn that Apple Corporation has recently confirmed they intend to acquire Beats Electronics for an estimated $3 billion. The announcement follows rumors that had been circulating for several weeks about a possible merger between the two companies, each a giant in its respective industry.

Beats Electronics was founded by the rapper turned producer Dr. Dre in 2008. The company is best known for its high end speakers and headphones. The company also sells audio software and operates a subscription service that streams music to registered active subscribers for a monthly fee.

Venue for General Motors product liability cases still undecided

Vehicle recalls may keep dangerous cars, trucks and SUVs off the road, and companies may provide a fix for these defects at no cost. Unfortunately, vehicle recalls are not always enough to keep consumers safe. Louisiana residents may be interested to know that 15 separate attorneys all representing litigants that have filed product liability cases against General Motors had to make their case for why all the cases should be consolidated before a federal judge in each of their home states.

All in all, cases were made for consolidating the cases in one of seven states. One of the states is the state of Louisiana. The panel of seven overhearing the pleas made by the attorneys will have to mull over all the testimony presented to them by all 15 attorneys, discuss the pros and cons of each attorneys plea and are expected to come up with a final decision in a couple of weeks.

Proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger expected to be closely scrutinized

With the changing landscape of wireless technologies and consumer demands, telecommunications and wireless company mergers often make headlines. Louisiana residents familiar with these companies may be aware of the $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner merger. Now, only a few months later, AT&T has proposed to acquire DirecTV for about $48 billion.

Such billion dollar transformative mergers between cable, satellite providers and telecommunication companies are a complex matter, and will likely be closely scrutinized by governmental regulators. Generally, regulatory issues in such proposed mergers revolve around the impact these new business relationships will have on the marketplace and consumer. Some are concerned that such mergers favor bigger companies and not the consumer.

Penske Truck Leasing Co settles wrongful discharge case

Louisiana residents should be interested to know that a veteran of the armed forces was able to successfully negotiate a settlement with his employer for not granting him his right to employment upon his return from service. The man in this case was a U.S. Air Force Reserve Member who served until 2011.

According to U.S. District Court records, the man filed a lawsuit alleging that his former employer, Penske Truck Leasing Co. violated his civil rights by denying him employment after he was honorably discharged from the Air Force.

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