Bystander Training: The Best Defense Against Sexual Harassment

Why Do We Need to Talk About Bystander Training?

Many companies train employees on sexual harassment, but studies have shown that much of this training is ineffective and does not empower companies and employees to prevent harassment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace issued a report in 2016 finding that some sexual harassment training even caused men to be more likely to blame both the harasser and the victim involved in a sexual harassment scenario. The EEOC’s study goes on to say that training often focused too much on legal standards and simply avoiding legal liability. Continue Reading

President Biden Faces Constitutional Challenges to Revocation of Keystone XL Permit

During his first  hours in the Oval Office, President Biden issued Executive Order 13990, entitled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” Section 6 of the Order revoked TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P.’s March 2019 permit to construct and operate cross-border pipeline facilities at the U.S.-Canada border in Montana. This March, however, Attorneys General from 21 states[1] filed a lawsuit[2] in the Southern District of Texas against President Biden and several Cabinet members[3] alleging that the President’s Order violates the U.S. Constitution.

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Texas Supreme Court Update: The Court Decides Issue of First Impression Related to the Scope of an Oil and Gas Lease’s Free-Use Clause and Further Interprets Conflicting Royalty Clause Provisions

The Texas Supreme Court recently issued its anticipated decision in BlueStone Natural Resources II, LLC v. Randle, affirming in part and reversing in part the lower court’s ruling.  No. 19-0459, 2021 WL 936175 (Tex. Mar. 12, 2021).  The Court (1) affirmed that the lower court correctly concluded the oil and gas lease at issue explicitly resolved conflicting royalty provisions in favor of a gross-proceeds calculation; and (2) affirmed the lower court’s interpretation regarding application of the lease’s free-use clause, but remanded the case to recalculate the amount awarded to the royalty owners. Continue Reading

Western District Rejects Disgorgement of Profits Claim for Pipeline Trespass

In Mary v. QEP Energy Company, the Western District of Louisiana rejected, for the second time in this case, Plaintiffs’ claims seeking a disgorgement of QEP’s profits.  QEP was the lessee of a mineral lease covering Plaintiffs’ property, but because it wanted to transport off-site gas across their property, QEP also obtained a pipeline servitude across Plaintiffs’ land. A dispute arose after the pipeline contractor “cut the corner” of the servitude when laying the pipeline, resulting in approximately 45 feet of pipeline being buried outside the designated servitude.  Plaintiffs asserted a number of claims, all of which were resolved except their claims seeking a disgorgement of profits. Continue Reading

Future Outlook for Subsurface Trespass Claims Against Third Party Purchasers of Minerals

A recent decision from the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal may have lasting effects on good faith purchasers of oil. In Hill v. TMR Exploration, Inc, 2021 WL 267916, the First Circuit affirmed a district court ruling on summary judgment applying the good faith purchaser defense provision set forth in La. Civ. Code arts. 521-524 instead of applying provisions of the Mineral Code, more specifically, La. R.S. 31:210, and the registry mandate included therein.  A detailed summary of the First Circuit’s decision can be found here. Continue Reading

Top 10 Labor and Employment Issues in Bankruptcy Continued

Last week we reviewed five of the most common, and problematic, labor and employment law issues in bankruptcy. You can read last week’s article here. Below are five additional labor and employment law concerns in bankruptcy that companies must know and assess when they are undergoing bankruptcy. Continue Reading

United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds That Louisiana Citizen Suit Legacy Claims Can be Heard in Federal Court

In its recent decision in Grace Ranch, L.L.C. v. BP America Production Company, et al., No. 20-30224 (5th Cir. Feb. 24, 2021), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed a question that has increasingly become a sticking point in Louisiana “legacy” cases:  whether claims brought under a Louisiana citizen suit provision for alleged violations of state environmental regulations can be heard in federal court. This decision is likely to have far-reaching consequences for Louisiana legacy litigation, where courts have seen a recent uptick in claims by landowner-plaintiffs brought under the citizen suit provision of Louisiana Revised Statute 30:16, seeking to have their property remediated due to alleged contamination by historical oil and gas operations. Continue Reading

Top 10 Labor and Employment Issues in Bankruptcy

The next phase in the ever evolving COVID-19 and coronavirus crisis are the upcoming bankruptcies. This year was already shaping up to be an interesting year, but the coronavirus rapidly accelerated bankruptcy declarations. One article estimates that approximately 100,000 businesses have permanently closed and another article states that more than 57 million people have filed for unemployment since the crisis began. These numbers are hellacious, and the impact of the crisis is not over. Continue Reading

Louisiana Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Asbestos Case

On February 3, 2021, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s ruling that granted a summary judgment motion finding plaintiffs failed to submit specific evidence of asbestos exposure necessary to create a genuine issue of material fact. Steib v. Lamorak Ins. Co., et al., 20-0424 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2/3/21). In 2018, Charles Steib (“Mr. Steib”) filed a petition for damages against approximately forty defendants, alleging that he contracted mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing products during work he performed on various premises while employed by various employers across Louisiana as a pipefitter.  Particularly, Mr. Steib alleged he was exposed to asbestos while employed by Parsons Government Services, Inc. (“Parsons”) from 1975 through 1977 when he worked on the initial construction of Marathon Petroleum Company LP’s (“Marathon”) oil refinery in Garyville, Louisiana. Mr. Steib passed away just a few months after filing suit. His surviving spouse and three adult children (collectively the “Plaintiffs”) then substituted themselves as plaintiffs and asserted survival and wrongful death claims. Continue Reading

Uncertainty About Migratory Bird Treaty Act “Takes”: The Biden Administration Delays the Effective Date of the Final Regulations Governing Take of Migratory Birds

On February 5, 2021, the Fish Wildlife Service (“FWS”), under the Biden administration, announced that it was delaying the effective date of a rule promulgated by the Trump administration regarding “incidental takes” and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”). On January 7, 2021, the Trump administration published a final rule interpreting the MBTA as not prohibiting incidental takes, and this rule was set to take effect on February 8, 2021. The Biden administration delayed the effective date until March 8, 2021, and it has requested additional public comments on the rule through March 1, 2021.  86 Fed. Reg. 8716, published February 9, 2021. Continue Reading

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