In Louisiana and other states, when an insured customer fails to pay the premiums owed to its insurer for ongoing coverage, the insurer may notify the insured that it will cease to provide further coverage as of a certain date. After the policy lapses for nonpayment, the company may file a business litigation lawsuit against the former customer for the past premiums that remain due. Every insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and the insured, and a lawsuit for unpaid premiums is generally based on a cause of action for breach of contract.
The world of high-tech mobile devices involves putting a lot of proprietary information together to make a working unit suitable for mass marketing. This inevitably means that breach of contract and intellectual property disputes will arise during the course of a product's public life. In Louisiana, such disputes often appear in the dockets of the business litigation courts.
Bankers and credit card lenders have long been protected from certain kinds of consumer class actions, both in Louisiana and nationwide. Generally, the courts have in the past enforced provisions in the consumer's contract with the lender that call for arbitration to resolve disputes and which prohibit the filing of class action lawsuits against the institution. In recent years, however, many consumers have challenged the right of banks and other institutions to control their remedies in the business litigation arena.
A surprisingly vibrant industry in Louisiana and nationwide involves the activity of investing in commercial litigation lawsuits. Although it has been generally considered unethical for outside investors to have an ongoing financial stake in the profits and losses of law firms, that principle has given way to an exception that allows for the outside funding of highly costly business litigation suits. Because the suits are expected to obtain substantial monetary recoveries, it arguably makes sense to allow for outside interests to invest through companies that specialize in such transactions.
Lawsuits involving the owners of large business entities comprise a distinct area of litigation in Louisiana and other states. Shareholders often join together to sue the corporate entity that they assert is not being run in a proper or legal manner. In some instances, this kind of business litigation can get quite personal, as when major shareholders sue the CEO personally for mismanaging the company and/or regarding any number of fraud or concealment claims.
Louisiana, like all other states, gets to host a variety of business litigation claims. The litigants may be companies of all sizes, from struggling startups to massive, established pillars of an industry. In one recent business litigation case in another state, the giant candy-maker, Mars Inc., is facing a drawn-out trademark dispute with a small chocolate maker consisting of one person.
Patent infringement litigation is a continuing source of significant business litigation cases in Louisiana and nationwide. A jury award and a court's ruling in a case from another state is an example of how recoveries in patent infringement cases can be compelling for the winning party. A medical instrument company received a $248.7 million award from a federal judge who decided to triple the jury's award due to willful and egregious infringement by the defendant company in this business litigation case.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a complex federal law that governs employee retirement plans nationwide, including in Louisiana. Oil and energy companies have the same potential as companies in other industries to be drawn into ERISA lawsuits, which can cover a wide array of business litigation issues. For example, an employee of the Marathon Petroleum Co. recently filed a class action lawsuit against the employer for putting the stock of Marathon Oil Corp. in its workers' retirement plan.
Louisiana has plenty of business litigation disputes between oil and gas companies. Because business litigation is usually a drain on a company's resources and valuable time, early resolution of such disputes will often be a goal for both the disputing businesses and their attorneys. This may be even more important where the parties have an ongoing business relationship.
When oil and gas disputes turn into court cases, such matters may be categorized under the broad generic subject called business litigation. Such disputes are on the rise nationwide and in Louisiana. That may be due at least partially to the loosening of regulations by the federal administration and the response by environmental groups to counter with increased business litigation.