By James A. Burton

The commercial leasing market in the New Orleans area, never particularly robust compared to some other cities in the southeast and the nation generally, is often described as being down, or even depressed, as a result of the twin traumas of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the economic and financial crisis which hit the country three years later. But down markets are like up markets in some ways: both have winners and losers, and sometimes it’s not so easy to tell who are the potential beneficiaries and victims in today’s changed market.

By Michael D. Harold

Imagine an elderly woman visiting her ill husband at the hospital only to find him lying in bed covered with fresh rat bites. This happened when Mable LeJeune visited her husband, Rayo, at Rayne Branch Hospital. She filed a lawsuit against the hospital alleging mental anguish from the hospital’s failure to provide a safe and clean environment for her husband. The hospital requested a dismissal arguing that Louisiana law did not compensate for mental anguish damages when injuries affected someone else. In other words, under the old law, a person physically injured in an accident could sue for mental anguish, but not the person witnessing the accident. After Mrs. LeJeune’s case, however, the law changed.

Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn, LLP is an active member of Legus, a network of international law firms. As a member of this organization, Simon, Peragine is able to provide clients with access to quality legal representation throughout the United States, South and Central America, Europe, Asia and the Far East. We at Simon, Pergaine, Smith & Redfearn are honored to have been selected as network member.

M. Claire Durio was accepted into the New Orleans CREW, (Commercial Real Estate Women) in 2008. Ms. Durio is also a member of AECRE, (International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate).

Robert Redfearn, Jr. has been appointed as an adjunct professor at Tulane University Law School and will be teaching a class for the fall semester. Mr. Redfearn created the course he will be teaching called Pre-trial civil Litigation: Strategy and Practical Skills.

H. Bruce Shreves has again been listed by New Orleans Magazine as one of the best lawyers in New Orleans in the area of construction law and alternative dispute resolution. Mr. Shreves has also been designated as a super lawyer for several years.

The Louisiana State Bar Association awarded John F. Shreves the 2008 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding pro bono service to Louisiana indigents. In addition to meeting once a month with senior citizens at the Gretna Senior Citizen’s Center to discuss any of their legal matters, Mr. Shreves is also the firm’s liaison with the Pro Bono Project and regularly provides pro bono services to indigent individuals through the Pro Bono Project.

SPS&R recently filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Susan Henderson Montgomery, asking the state district court in New Orleans to rule that Tulane University violated the charges and conditions contained in the will of Josephine Louise Newcomb when it closed Newcomb College and ended its 119-year history as the first coordinate women's college in the United States, and to direct Tulane to reopen Newcomb and restore its endowments.

Over the last four months, considerable focus has been placed on so- called “Chinese drywall.” The first reports of defective drywall came from Florida. Numerous home appliances, HVAC units, and electrical systems began to fail in newly constructed homes. Reports then began to emerge that these homes shared something else in common – the smell of rotten eggs. Eventually, environmentalists and industrial hygienists began destructive testing on drywall in the reported homes. They concluded that the drywall was producing a sulfide gas that, in areas of high ambient humidity, acted as a corrosive on various metals, especially copper. In the worst reported cases, the corrosive effect was so great that exposed copper in newly installed appliances would be unusable within three months.

By M. Davis Ready, Susan M. Caruso, Charles E. Riley, IV, and Douglass F. Wynne

Many businesses are presently burdened with the task of cutting the cost of doing business so that they may survive the current economic climate. It is an unfortunate truth that for some companies, reducing business costs may be achieved only by downsizing the size of the workforce. However, even if downsizing appears unavoidable, a company should remain aware of the risks that come with the termination of employees -- the most serious risk being the potential for a backlash of administrative claims and lawsuits (under federal and/or state laws) for employment discrimination and wrongful termination.

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