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April, 2013

A Presumption of Constitutionality

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently upheld as constitutional two statutes requiring the registration of sex offenders even when applied to a person who was found not guilty by reason of insanity. See State of Louisiana v. Isaiah Overstreet, Jr., 12 – 1854 (La. 3/19/13). While an ultimate resolution of this issue would cause the Court to measure the asserted personal interests of the defendant against the public’s interest in safety, the defendant’s challenges were rejected because he failed to properly raise and brief the constitutional issues.

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Impact of Supreme Court’s Recent “Open and Obvious” Ruling not Obvious

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently issued a ruling on the application of the “open and obvious” doctrine in slip and fall cases. The facts of Broussard v. State of Louisiana, 2012-1238 (La. 4/5/13), presented problems for both sides. A UPS driver tripped and fell over an offset between the floor and an elevator. The elevator in a State building had problems for years. One problem was that the elevator would not align properly between floors causing an offset between the floor and the elevator. However, the UPS driver delivered products to this particular State building daily and was well aware of the problem. At the time of the incident, he noticed that the elevator was not properly aligned but nevertheless attempted to pull a dolly with approximately 300 pounds of computer paper over the offset. The inertia created caused the plaintiff to lose control. Plaintiff sued the State, the owner of the building, for injury to his back.

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Class Actions in a State of Undress

Almost no litigation grabs attention and headlines more than a high-profile class action. The Louisiana Supreme Court’s recent class action ruling was no exception in a case involving salacious conduct and a violation of privacy.

The plaintiff in Jane Doe v. Southern Gyms, LLC, 2012-1566 (La. 3/19/13) was an unnamed victim of a “peeping tom.” She contended that an employee of a popular gym placed a pen camera in the women’s bathroom where he would tape unsuspecting women in various states of undress. The pen camera could hold only 1-2 hours of film. The perpetrator testified that, after viewing, he would immediately delete the footage. The images of only four women were seen on the footage when it was discovered. After the employee was arrested, one of the victims filed the class action lawsuit. At issue before the Louisiana Supreme Court was whether the class action was properly certified by the Trial Court.

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