Five Key New Laws from the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session

by Krystin Frazier

Louisiana lawmakers passed 884 bills in this year's regular legislative session, several hundred of which have already been signed into law. Below are links to a five key new laws that may be good to know.

Act. No. 544 (Senate Bill 469)
This new law prohibits certain state or local government entities from having any right or cause of action relative to enforcement of coastal use permits. The law applies retroactively to existing claims, and became effective on June 6, 2014. (La.R.S. 49: 214.36(O)).

Act No. 400 (Senate Bill 667)
Under this Act, the party against whom the preliminary dismissal was granted in an oilfield remediation suit will be entitled to recover from the party who asserted the claim an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs, as may be determined by the court.

The Act also provides that in all cases in which a party makes a limited admission, there will be a rebuttable presumption that the plan approved or structured by the Department of Natural Resources, after consultation with the Department of Environmental Quality as appropriate, is the most feasible plan to evaluate or remediate to applicable regulatory standards for the environmental damage for which the responsible party has admitted. The Act defines "contamination" as the interpretation or presence of substances or contamination into a usable groundwater aquifer, an underground source of drinking water, or soil in such quantities as to render them unsuitable for their reasonable intended purposes.

The provisions of this Act will not apply to any case in which the court, on or before May 15, 2014, has issued or signed an order setting the case for trial, regardless of whether such trial setting is continued. The law becomes effective on August 1, 2014. It amends La.R.S. 30: 29(B)(6), (H) and (I) and adds La.R.S. 30: 29(C)(2)(c) and M.

Act No. 473 (Senate Bill 570)
Under this new law, when land is acquired from any person by an acquiring authority or other person as part of an economic development project pursuant to a cooperative endeavor agreement between the acquiring authority and that state through the Department of Economic Development and a mineral right subject to the prescription of non-use is reserved, the prescription of non-use shall thereafter run against the right for a period of 20 years from the date of acquisition whether the title to the land remains in the acquiring authority or is subsequently transferred to a third person, public or private. This law becomes effective August 1, 2014. (La.R.S. 31: 149(I)).

Act No. 655 (House Bill 607)
This Act makes the deadline for answering incidental demands the same as provided for the principal demand (La.C.C.P. Art. 1035). The Act also specifies that a party is under no obligation to identify a testifying expert absent a discovery request or order for an expert report. (La.C.C.P. Art. 1425). Additionally, the Act extends the period for the state and its political subdivision to respond to a request for production of documents and things from 15 days to 30 days. (La.C.C.P. Art. 1462). This law becomes effective on August 1, 2014, and it amends Civil Procedure Articles 1035, 1425 (C) and 1462 (B)(1).

Act No. 379 (Senate Bill 222)
This new law provides that if service of citation is not waived, a request for service of citation upon the defendant shall be considered timely if requested on the defendant within 90 days of commencement of the action, notwithstanding insufficient or erroneous service. This law became effective on May 30, 2014. It amends La.R.S. 13: 5107 (D)(1), and adds Civil Procedural Articles 1201 (D) and 3955 (D).

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