courts

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry will push lawmakers to lower the state’s uniquely high threshold for civil jury trials in the upcoming session. LABI president Stephen Waguespack says current law violates your constitutional right to trial by jury.

“You — as a citizen — can’t get a jury unless you’re sued above $50,000,” Waguespack explains. “If you’re sued for $35-, $40-, $45-thousand, then you better hope you’re going to get assigned to the right judge, because it’s the only choice you’re going to get here.”

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by family members he recently removed as heirs of his NFL and NBA teams.

Benson’s lawyers filed an answer to the lawsuit yesterday in civil district court in New Orleans. He says he made a "deliberate, reasoned and difficult decision" to change his succession plan so that Gayle Benson, his wife of 10 years, inherits control of the teams.

Now it’s BP’s turn in court.

The oil company will be calling witnesses as it makes a case for civil penalties lower than the $13.7 billion the federal government wants from the 2010 oil spill.

The second week of a three-week trial is set to begin today in New Orleans.

Last week, government experts testified about environmental, economic and social damage caused by the spill.

BP attorneys disputed much of that testimony, and have argued the recovery of the environment and the Gulf economy has been strong.

A government witness at the trial to determine civil penalties against BP for the 2010 oil spill says the disaster hurt a wide array of industries over a broad geographic area.

Charles Mason also testified yesterday that the harm was only modestly countered by BP's spending and investment in the region.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys are pushing for the maximum $13.7 million Clean Water Act penalty for BP.

BP says the figure should be less.

Benson Family Battle Heading To Court

Jan 23, 2015

The battle over Tom Benson’s plan to leave the Saints and Pelicans to his wife will be heading to court.

Benson’s daughter and her children are fighting his plan to shove them out of the family business.

The New Orleans Advocate reports Benson’s previous heirs — Renee, Rita and Ryan — are now asking the Orleans Parish Civil District Court to help declare the 87-year-old mentally incompetent.

Lawyers for BP and the government are set to begin the third and final phase today of the trial over its 2010 oil spill. A Tulane University expert on maritime law says there are billions of dollars at stake.

Federal judge Carl Barbier has been overseeing the complex litigation over the 2010 disaster.

Tulane law professor Martin Davies is director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center. He says that process has proven much faster than scheduling jury trials. Barbier has already made key rulings in the case.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The U.S. Supreme Court won't step ahead of a federal appeals panel in New Orleans to hear an appeal over Louisiana's same-sex marriage.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal heard the case Friday.

But, in an unusual move, both supporters of same-sex marriage and the state had already asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case before the appeal is decided.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Arguments were heard in New Orleans challenging Louisiana’s Defense of Marriage Act, which denies marriage to same sex couples. 

Louisiana was one of three Defense of Marriage Act cases heard by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to Louisiana, cases for Mississippi and Texas were also heard by the three-judge panel.

Ken Upton is the Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal. That organization is representing a group of seven Louisiana same sex couples who are appealing a recent federal judge’s decision to uphold the state ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to take up Robicheaux v. George -- the case challenging Louisiana’s ban on the marriage of same-sex couples. It may be the case that decides the issue once and for all for the entire nation.


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