Every quarter we provide our readers with an update on select environmental and toxic tort developments. These updates are generally helpful as a quick reference for recent activities or as practice pointers for those involved with and/or employed in the environmental and toxic tort industries. In these updates, we will note statutory or regulatory changes, and report on environmental and toxic tort litigation and judicial decisions that influence related cases in these areas. Christoffer C. Friend, Senior Partner
Environmental Updates Environmental Updates Louisiana’s Oil and Gas Industry and the President’s Climate Action Plan: What We Can Expect ................. Page 1 Legacy Update: Office of Conservation Holds Act 312 Hearing in Agri-South Case .................... Page 3 Regulatory Summaries ................................................ Page 6
Louisiana’s Oil and Gas Industry and the President’s Climate Action Plan: What We Can Expect
Recent Developments in Louisiana Procedural Law ....................................... Page 9
Lauren E. Godshall Senior Associate Attorney
2013 Legislative Session
President Obama’s June 25, 2013 announcement of his Climate Action Plan sparked immediate criticism from Louisiana’s elected officials. However, should the goals announced in the Plan actually come to fruition, the impacts of the plan in Louisiana may be more of a mixed bag than unilaterally bad for the state. The three “pillars” of the plan are (1) reducing domestic carbon emissions, (2) supporting domestic climate adaptation efforts, and (3) positioning the US as a legitimate global leader in international climate change policy.
2013 Legislative Update of Procedural Articles ..... Page 12
Focus on the Firm .................................... Pages 2, 8, 11 Legislative Update on New Law Regarding Extensions of Prescription ......................................... Page 10
The first pillar begins, frankly, with an out-and-out attack on coal, and directs the EPA to set emission standards for greenhouse gases generated by (continued on page 2)
Practice Tips A Primer on eDiscovery - Part III .............................. Page 13
Labor and Employment Law Corner OFCCP Adds to Federal Contractors’ Affirmative Action Plan Obligations .................... Page 16 This update is intended for general informational purposes only. The contents contained herein should not be construed as formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. The reader is urged to consult his or her personal attorney concerning specific legal questions and/or situations. This is an advertisement.
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power plants, for both new and existing plants. Even under the third, “international” pillar, the Plan calls for ending public financing of overseas coal-fired power projects and eliminating U.S. aid for foreign fossil fuel facilities. Natural gas is the clear darling of the traditional fuels in the Plan. Much was made by the President in introducing his plan about the advances in natural gas drilling – including fracking – that have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while simultaneously creating jobs and helping families lower heat and power bills. Louisiana is already a natural gas hub, with an extensive network of pipelines to move gas from Texas and inside Louisiana to consumers elsewhere, and growing production. In addition, the “international” pillar notes that the US will encourage increased use of natural gas in developing nations – perhaps via the pipelines and export facilities being constructed in Louisiana.
However, there are also areas of major concern – for a major state industry. If both state- and federally-administered zones are combined, Louisiana is the largest crude producer in the country. Louisiana is also a major import hub for crude oil, and the state has invested heavily in refining and chemical processing infrastructure. All of this will be impacted by the Plan’s stated goal of eliminating fossil fuel tax subsidies in the 2014 budget. If approved, the 2014 budget would eliminate all current federal subsidies for all oil, gas and coal products. This would eliminate the deduction of intangible drilling costs for the oil and gas industry. It remains to be seen whether Congress would approve such a budget, but at first glance it seems unlikely that Congress as currently composed would approve such a sweeping change. Louisiana as a state offers some of the most generous tax subsidies of all states, but the loss of these additional federal benefits will nonetheless be a significant blow to the industry.
Among other positive news, the Plan includes an announcement that the Department of Energy will make $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of “advanced fossil energy projects” that will further improve energy efficiency and emission reductions. Also, although the Plan contains a fairly aggressive plan to reduce power plant carbon emissions, there is no mention of limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the petroleum sector. In fact, the Plan’s focus on coal and power plants may mean that no further limiting of petroleum greenhouse gas emissions can be expected from the EPA for the immediate future.
The second “pillar” of the plan focuses on preparing for the impacts of climate change – namely, increased extreme weather events and coastal land loss – both things Louisiana is unfortunately well acquainted with. Interestingly, one of the action items under this pillar describes the need to properly insure against risks associated with disasters – again, something Louisiana industry members are already well acquainted with. The Plan calls for the Obama Administration to convene representatives from the insurance industry and other stakeholders to explore best practices for private and public insurers to manage their own processes and investments to account for climate (continued on page 3)
Focus on the Firm
Finish Line or Bust:
Curry & Friend Races for the Cure On Saturday, October 26, 2013, Curry & Friend, PLC once again participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. The event raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates breast cancer survivorship and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease. With proceeds going directly to breast cancer screening, treatment, research and education programs in our area, Curry & Friend was proud to sponsor a team for this worthwhile cause. Team “Finish Line or Bust” boasted 39 participants! n
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change risks. Certainly more clarity and consistency from the insurance industry on questions relating to extreme weather, coastal erosion, pollution, and related risks will be beneficial for the entire oil and gas industry statewide. Louisiana is geographically situated to be particularly at risk
from the anticipated short and long-term impacts of climate change – and Louisiana’s oil and gas industry are sure to be impacted by the goals of the Climate Action Plan. Attention should be paid to those aspects of the Plan that become actual regulations, as they could greatly impact industry’s existing practices. n
site and, if necessary, remediate to applicable regulatory standards all or a portion of the contaminated soil and groundwater associated with operations at the site.
Legacy Update: Office of Conservation Holds Act 312 Hearing in Agri-South Case Brett F. Willie Senior Associate Attorney The Office of Conservation recently conducted a public hearing in Agri-South Group vs. Exxon Mobil, a “legacy case” and one of over 250 such lawsuits that have been filed in Louisiana since 2003. Legacy cases are lawsuits filed by landowners alleging that their property has been contaminated by oil and gas operations that occurred many years and often many decades in the past. The hearing, held over 9 days in August, was only the fifth such hearing conducted by the Office of Conservation since Act 312 became law in 2006. It was held pursuant to R.S. 30:29 (more commonly referred to as “Act 312”) following Defendant, Tensas Delta’s, limited admission of liability and acceptance of responsibility for certain environmental damage on a portion of the plaintiffs’ property. Specifically, Tensas Delta admitted responsibility for environmental damage to the soil and shallow groundwater which was associated with previous E&P operations at the site between 1978 and 1985. Pursuant to Act 312 and article 1563 of the La. Code of Civil Procedure, Tensas Delta’s admission was limited to responsibility for implementing the most feasible plan to evaluate the soil and shallow groundwater at the
La. Code of Civil Procedure art. 1563 was enacted in 2012 as part of the Louisiana Legislature’s effort to expedite the evaluation and remediation of contaminated oilfield sites across the state; a process that has become increasingly delayed by ongoing legacy litigation. Article 1563 created a procedure which allows any party in a legacy case that has admitted liability for environmental damage pursuant to Act 312 to limit that admission to responsibility for implementing the most feasible plan to evaluate and potentially remediate all or a portion of the contaminated property that is at issue in any particular legacy case. The Agri-South case was originally filed in Catahoula Parish in 2006 against several defendants including a number of servitude owners, one being Tensas Delta Exploration Company. The original suit was later severed into three separate cases based on the separate servitudes at issue in the original case. On or about January 2, 2013, Tensas Delta filed its limited admission of responsibility with the trial court. That same day it submitted its proposed plan for evaluation and remediation of the damaged property to LDNR for review and consideration. (No limited admissions of liability were made by any of the remaining defendants in the case.) On February 27, 2013, following Tensas Delta’s limited admission, the trial court referred the matter to LDNR’s Office of Conservation for the purpose of conducting a public hearing to determine the most feasible plan to evaluate or remediate the environmental damage to applicable regulatory standards pursuant to the provisions of Act 312. The trial court likewise ordered any interested parties to submit any alternative plans, comments or responses to LDNR by April 30, 2013. In response, Plaintiff, Plug Road, LLC, timely submitted an alternative plan for evaluation and remediation of the property at issue. Thereafter, on August 5, 2013, a 7 person panel of LDNR staffers with relevant technical backgrounds convened a public hearing (continued on page 4)
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pursuant to Act 312 and, over the course of 9 days, heard testimony and collected other evidence relating to the parties’ competing plans. The panel heard testimony from 11 different witnesses, experts in various fields such as geology, hydrogeology, petroleum engineering, environmental science, ground water and soil investigation, contamination in media, agricultural science and regulatory compliance, among other fields. The following is a brief summary of the issues addressed during the hearing: Alluvial Aquifer - Motion in Limine Arguments were heard at the start of the hearing on Plug Road’s motion in limine which sought to limit the scope of groundwater contamination testimony heard and considered by the panel. Plug Road sought to limit groundwater contamination testimony solely to the shallow groundwater; claiming that LDNR had no authority to hear evidence as to environmental damage to the alluvial aquifer underlying the site. Plug Road argued that since Tensas Delta’s limited admission was only for contamination to the shallow groundwater at the site, then LDNR could not consider evidence on contamination to the deeper alluvial aquifer beneath the site. The hearing officer denied Plug Road’s motion explaining that the Department is not statutorily constrained from considering whatever evidence it deems relevant and necessary in order to determine which plan is the most feasible to evaluate and, if required, remediate the property. With respect to the alluvial aquifer beneath the site, the issue raised is whether the source of elevated chlorides found in the aquifer is natural (coming from a lower tertiary aquifer that is naturally salty) or whether E&P activities at the site are potentially the source. Soil Remediation Tensas Delta admitted that environmental damage exists at two areas where E&P operations took place. At the hearing, the parties referred to these areas as AOI North and AOI South. Initial investigation revealed the presence of soil contamination in, around and below these two sites. Specifically, electrical conductivity (EC) levels in the soil (an indication of salt impact) were found to exceed the applicable statutory parameters at levels allegedly as much as 30 feet below the surface. Both the Tensas Delta plan and the Plug Road plan included proposals for remediating the salt-impacted soils in, around and below the former areas of operation; however, each plan differed significantly in scope and cost.
Tensas Delta Plan Proposal • Total area to be remediated: AOI North (.38 acres); AOI South (.49 acres) • Excavate all soil with EC parameters exceeding 10 mmhos/ cm to a depth of 3’ below the surface. Dispose of the excavated soil at an appropriate disposal facility. (Tensas Delta’s experts testified that remediation to a depth of 3’ was appropriate because the root zones of the crops at the site do not extend below 3’) • For salt-impacted soils with EC found to be between 4 and 10 mmhos/cm, excavate and treat the soil to a depth of 3’ with gypsum, hay and nitrogen fertilizer. Thereafter, return the treated soil to the area of excavation. • Below the treated soil, install a gypsum layer and a 6” capillary break, a porous layer intended to prevent wicking of chlorides from the soil below 3’. The profile of the soils below 3’ would be left undisturbed. • Excavated areas will be back-filled with Sharkey clays, soils similar in nature to that found at the site. The surface of the remediated areas would then be re-vegetated. • Collect samples of treated soil one year after remediation activities are completed to confirm the effectiveness of the plan. In addition, install groundwater monitoring wells to gauge the effectiveness of the plan. • Collect monitoring/recovery data for 2 years and submit a detailed report to LDNR outlining the results of the remediation and monitoring plan. • Total estimated cost - $247,100. Plug Road Plan Proposal • Total area to be remediated: AOI North (1.64 acres); AOI South (2.47 acres) • Excavate all salt-impacted soil down to the first continuously saturated zone or 20’ below the surface, whichever is shallower. Transport and disposal of the excavated soil at an off-site disposal facility.
(continued on page 5)
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• Restore the soil and bring the property to its original condition. • Total estimated cost - $6,887,023 Groundwater Remediation Both parties agreed that the shallow groundwater beneath the two AOI exceeds RECAP standards for salt. The parties’ investigations also revealed elevated salt levels in the underlying alluvial aquifer; however, the parties disagreed on the source of the salt in the aquifer. Tensas Delta denied responsibility for the elevated salt levels in the aquifer; arguing that it was naturally brackish. Experts for Tensas Delta argued that another source of groundwater, the Williamson Creek formation, was naturally salty and in direct hydraulic communication with the alluvial aquifer. Plug Road experts testified there was no evidence that the Williamson Creek formation was naturally salty beneath the AOI. The elevated salt levels in the alluvial aquifer, as with the shallow groundwater they claimed, resulted not from a natural source but from E&P operations. Plug Road’s experts testified that a confining clay layer separates the two formations, preventing any sort of hydraulic conductivity. The parties’ competing plans each included proposals for remediating the impacted groundwater below the site. Again, the plans differed significantly in scope and cost. Tensas Delta Plan Proposal • Implementation of a 5 year groundwater monitoring program. Obtain data necessary to demonstrate protection of the natural water quality in the alluvial aquifer. • Installation of groundwater monitoring wells in locations selected to monitor source areas in both the shallow groundwater and the alluvial aquifer. • If after 2 years the data demonstrates constituent concentrations in the alluvial aquifer are consistent and within the natural tolerance of the aquifer, a petition for site closure will be made. • Total estimated cost - $567,500 Plug Road Plan Proposal • Installation of groundwater recovery wells and implementation of a 56 year groundwater recovery plan for the shallow groundwater and the alluvial aquifer using a reverse osmosis groundwater recovery system. • Treatment of recovered groundwater and transportation off-site for disposal of treatment residues at a commercial facility. • Total estimated cost - $865,801,454.
Ruling After considering the parties’ proposals and considering the testimony of the experts, LDNR ultimately ruled that neither plan was the most feasible to address the damaged soil and groundwater. The Agency then structured its own plan to address the contaminated soil and groundwater. Regarding remediation of the impacted soils, the Agency agreed that any plan should minimize, to the extent possible, any disturbance of the natural soil profile at the site. However, the Agency found there was not enough clear evidence to definitively say whether Tensas Delta’s proposed method of chemical amendment with a capillary break would be successful. As such, LDNR determined that the most feasible plan for addressing the damaged soil was to undertake a site-specific treatability study to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of Tensas Delta’s proposed plan in reducing EC levels in the local soil to a depth of 8’. If the study demonstrated that the plan will be effective, Tensas Delta would be given approval to proceed with its proposed treatment plan. If not, the Agency would require excavation and disposal of the impacted soils to a depth of 8’. In choosing that depth, LDNR pointed out that 29-B salt standards contain no depth limitation and focused on the characteristics of the soil at the site and the root zone/ available water testimony of the parties’ experts. With focus on the soil characteristics and root zone, LDNR decided that the most feasible plan for protection of the natural resources and environment at the site requires remediation to a depth of 8’. With regard to remediation of the salt-impacted groundwater, the Agency determined that there was not enough “conclusive, comprehensive sound and objective site specific lithology and aquifer information or data” available to make a reasonable assessment of which parties’ groundwater remediation proposal would work or even if they were necessary. In its ruling, LDNR stated that it would need additional “geologic, hydrogeologic, lithologic, shallow aquifer Red River Alluvial aquifer and Williamson Creek aquifer site specific data” for the Agency to complete its assessment of the full impact to groundwater from E&P operations at the site. In its self-structured plan, the Agency set forth a groundwater evaluation plan designed to provide the necessary additional information needed to determine the source of elevated chlorides in the alluvial aquifer. Thereafter, the Department will consider and evaluate the feasibility of appropriate groundwater remediation options for the shallow groundwater and, if necessary, the alluvial aquifer below the site. n
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workover operations. Furthermore, the extension of the Rule allows more time to complete comprehensive Rule amendments.
Regulatory Updates Brett F. Willie Senior Associate Attorney The following are select environmental regulatory changes recently proposed and/or adopted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR). These updates serve as a reference resource for those involved with and/or employed by the communities regulated by LDEQ and LDNR and more specifically those involved with the oil and gas industry. Below you will find brief descriptions of the proposed and final regulatory changes. The full text of these changes can be viewed at the website for the Louisiana Register: www.doa.louisiana.gov/osr/reg/register.htm
Regulatory Summaries – JUNE 2013 LDNR – Emergency Rule
Office of Conservation Extension of the Deadline of Drilling and Completion Operational and Safety Requirements for Wells Drilled in Search or for the Production of Oil or Natural Gas at Water Locations (LAC 43:XIX.Chapters 2 and 11) Source: La. Register for July 2013, p.1734 The following Emergency Rule and reasons therefore have been adopted and promulgated by the Commissioner of Conservation as being necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of Louisiana as well as the environment generally. By extending the effectiveness of the Emergency Rule this Rule supersedes the previous Emergency Rule for drilling and completion operational and safety requirements for wells drilled in search of oil and natural gas at water locations. The Emergency Rule provides for Commissioner of Conservation approved exceptions to equipment requirements on
Need and Purpose for Emergency Rule In light of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in federal waters approximately 50 miles off Louisiana’s coast and the threat posed to the natural resources of the state, and the economic livelihood and property of the citizens of the state caused thereby, the Office of Conservation (“Conservation”) began a review of its current drilling and completion operational and safety requirements for wells drilled in search of oil and natural gas at water locations. While the incidents of blowout of Louisiana wells is minimal, occurring at less than threetenths of one percent of the wells drilled in Louisiana since 1987, the great risk posed by blowouts at water locations to the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the state, as well as the environment generally, necessitated the rule amendments contained herein. After implementation of the Emergency Rule, Conservation formed an ad hoc committee to further study comprehensive rulemaking in order to promulgate new permanent regulations which ensure increased operational and safety requirements for the drilling or completion of oil and gas wells at water locations within the state. Based upon the work of this ad hoc committee, draft proposed rules that would replace these emergency rules are being created for the consideration and comment by interested parties. These draft proposed rules were published in the Potpourri section of the Louisiana Register on July 20, 2012. Rule promulgation is expected to continue with revised draft rules being published as a Notice of Intent within the next 60 days. Synopsis of Emergency Rule The Emergency Rule set forth herein is intended to provide greater protection to the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the state, as well as the environment generally by extending the effectiveness of new operational and safety requirements for the drilling and completion of oil and gas wells at water locations. Following the Gulf of Mexico-Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Conservation investigated the possible expansion of Statewide Orders No. 29-B and 29-B-a requirements relating to well control at water locations. As part of the rule expansion project, Conservation reviewed the well control regulations of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service or MMS (now named the Bureau of Safety and (continued on page 7)
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Environmental Enforcement). Except in the instances where it was determined that the MMS provisions were repetitive of other provisions already being incorporated, were duplicative of existing Conservation regulations or were not applicable to the situations encountered in Louisianaâ€™s waters, all provisions of the MMS regulations concerning well control issues at water locations were adopted by the preceding Emergency Rules, which this rule supersedes, integrated into Conservationâ€™s Statewide Orders No. 29-B and 29-B-a. Conservation is currently performing a comprehensive review of its regulations as it considers future amendments to its operational rules and regulations found in Statewide Order No. 29-B and elsewhere. Specifically, the Emergency Rule extends the effectiveness of a new Chapter within Statewide Order No. 29-B (LAC 43:XIX.Chapter 2) to provide additional rules concerning the drilling and completion of oil and gas wells at water locations, specifically providing for the following: rig movement and reporting requirements, additional requirements for applications to drill, casing program requirements, mandatory diverter systems and blowout preventer requirements, oil and gas well-workover operations, diesel engine safety requirements, and drilling fluid regulations. Further, the Emergency Rule amends Statewide Order No. 29-B-a (LAC 43:XIX.Chapter 11) to provide for and expand upon rules concerning the required use of storm chokes in oil and gas wells at water locations.
43:XIX.Chapter 11) are adopted and extended by the Office of Conservation.
Reasons Recognizing the potential advantages of expanding the operational and safety requirements for the drilling and completion of oil and gas wells at water locations within the state, it has been determined that failure to establish such requirements in the form of an administrative rule may lead to the existence of an imminent peril to the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of Louisiana, as well as the environment generally. By this rule Conservation extends the effectiveness of the following requirements until such time as final comprehensive rules may be promulgated.
Conservation amended LAC 43:XIX.118. The proposed amendment does not substantially change the requirements currently found in LAC 43:XIX.118 but provides for implementation of Act 812 of the 2012 Regular Session requiring operators to report the type and volume of hydraulic fracturing fluid within 20 days after the completion of such operations. This report shall include a list of additives used, including the specific trade name and the supplier of the additive; and list of ingredients contained in the hydraulic fracturing fluid, the associated CAS registry number, and the maximum concentration of each chemical ingredient in percent by mass that is subject to certain federal regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Protection of the public and our environment therefore requires the Commissioner of Conservation to extend the applicable rules in order to assure that drilling and completion of oil and gas wells at water locations within the state are undertaken in accordance with all reasonable care and protection to the health, safety of the public, oil and gas personnel and the environment generally. The Emergency Rule, Amendment to Statewide Order No. 29-B (LAC 43:XIX.Chapter 2) and Statewide Order No. 29-B-a (LAC
The effective date for this Emergency Rule was July 10, 2013. The Emergency Rule herein adopted as a part thereof, shall remain effective for a period of not less than 120 days hereafter, or until the adoption of the final version of an amendment to Statewide Order No. 29-B and Statewide Order No. 29-B-a as noted herein, whichever occurs first.
LDNR - Rules
Office of Conservation Statewide Order No. 29-B - Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation Operations (LAC 43:XIX.118) Source: La. Register for July 2013, p. 1824
In the case that an ingredient is subject to trade secret protection under the criteria cited in 42 USC 11042(a)(2), and specifically enumerated at 42 USC 11042(b), the operator shall provide the contact information of the entity claiming the protection and shall report, at a minimum, the chemical family associated with such ingredient. These requirements do not apply to operations conducted solely for the purpose (continued on page 8)
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of sand control or reduction of near wellbore damage.
LDNR – Notice of Intent
Office of Coastal Management Mitigation (LAC 43:I.700 and 724) Source: La. Register for July 2013; p. 2098 The Office of Coastal Management proposes to amend LAC 43:700 and 724 relative to the rules and procedures for mitigation. This proposed Rule amendment is intended to assist in ensuring that the Office of Coastal Management’s regulatory practices regarding its mitigation program are consistent with the state’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, and simplifying the present mitigation rules to reduce the burden on limited state resources.
and regulatory fees, and will replace the existing Statewide Order No. 29-R-12/13.
LDNR – Notice of Intent
Office of Conservation Reduction of Paperwork required under Statewide Order No. 29-B (LAC 43:XIX.609, 613, and 619) Source: La. Register for August 2013, p. 2373
Conservation proposes to amend LAC 43:XIX.701, 703, and 707 (Statewide Order No. 29-R.) The proposed action will adopt Statewide Order No. 29-R-13/14 (LAC 43:XIX, Subpart 2, Chapter 7), which establishes the annual Conservation fee schedule for the collection of application, production,
Conservation proposes to amend LAC 43: XIX.609, 613, and 619. The current regulations pertaining to the Act 312 hearings as implemented under statewide order 29-B require the participants to submit at least three hard copies of all plans documents and exhibits as well as an acceptable electronic version. In conducting Act 312 public hearings, Conservation staff has determined that only one hard copy is necessary. The amendment is being proposed to reduce the number of hard copies submitted to one. n
Regulatory Summaries – August 2013 Office of Conservation Fees (LAC 43:XIX.701, 703, 705, and 707) Source: La. Register for August 2013, p. 2371
Focus on the Firm in America Honoree 2013 Curry & Friend, PLC would like to congratulate its Managing Partner, Guy C. Curry, selected following an exhaustive and rigorous peer review survey for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice area of Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants. This annual, advertisement-free publication has been described by The American Lawyer as “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.” We applaud this professional achievement, and celebrate Guy’s accomplishment and success. n
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Jurisprudential Updates taken from her thyroid. The genetic testing was used to look for the signature of radiation exposure. According to the defense’s expert witnesses, the testing revealed that Ms. Guzman’s cancer was not the result of radiation exposure but was instead a hereditary or sporadic cancer. After two weeks of testimony, the jury spent less than a day deliberating and ultimately returned with a verdict in favor of Exxon.
Recent Developments in Louisiana Procedural Law Lauren E. Godshall, Senior Associate Attorney An indirect NORM exposure case goes to trial, with a verdict for the defense Naomi Guzman v. ExxonMobil Corporation, No. 693-606, 24th JDC, was tried before a jury in Judge Nancy Miller’s court in Jefferson Parish from August 13 through August 27, 2013. This case involved claims that the plaintiff, Ms. Guzman, had been exposed to radiation due to her father’s employment at a pipe cleaning yard throughout her childhood in the 1980’s. The yard in question had handled Exxon Mobil’s pipe. Ms. Guzman had visited the pipeyard to eat meals with her father as a small child and while in utero. She claimed further exposure through the presence of NORM dust in her father’s clothes, which she claimed she would be exposed to when he returned to the family home after work each night. Ms. Guzman had contracted thyroid cancer, and although it had been successfully treated, her doctor stated that she will need to undergo monitoring for the rest of her life. The plaintiff presented expert testimony to support her theory of exposure and the level of exposure, as well as medical testimony about the potential cause of her thyroid cancer. Exxon Mobil countered with expert health physicists who calculated much lower exposure levels, as well as testimony regarding the radiation-detecting badges worn by employees of the pipeyard. Exxon’s experts also relied on international studies concluding that radiation-induced thyroid cancers are induced by exposure to iodine 131, not radium 226, which is the known radionuclide present in “naturally-occurring radioactive material” or NORM. In addition, Exxon had arranged for a laboratory to undertake a genetic analysis of Ms. Guzman’s DNA, based on samples
NORM Survival Action: 1 year Limit is Prescriptive, Not Preemptive In another NORM lawsuit alleging toxic exposure to radiation during the cleaning of pipes, the Fourth Circuit considered whether a daughter could file a survival action more than a year after the death of her father. Watkins v. ExxonMobil Corp., No. 2012-477 (May 29, 2013), 117 So.2d 548, 551-52. Ms. Watkins, the plaintiff, argued that she was excused for the late filing of her survival action against the oil companies who supplied pipe to the yard where her father had been employed, due to the operation of the contra non valentum doctrine. The oil company defendants countered that the one-year period for the filing of survival actions under La C.C. art. 2315.1 is preemptive, not prescriptive. If such were the case, the doctrine of contra non valentum would not apply. The Fourth Circuit determined that article 2315.1itself describes the one-year limitation for filing suit as prescriptive and that this should govern all interpretation of the article. The Fourth Circuit went further to explain its disagreement with prior cases that held to the contrary. Legacy Litigation: For Prescription Purposes, Your Dad’s Knowledge May Count Against You The Western District, Lake Charles Division, recently considered whether plaintiffs bringing an Act 312 legacy lawsuit could argue that their claim was not prescribed based on the doctrine of contra non valentum. Broussard v. Chevron, No. 11-cv-1446 (WD. La., June 14, 2013) (R. Doc. 121.) Plaintiffs, landowners in Cameron Parish, filed suit against Chevron, arguing that Chevorn’s operations constituted a breach of its obligations under a lease agreement between plaintiffs’ predecessors and Chevron’s predecessors in interest. The lease in question was entered into by plaintiffs’ father and Chevron’s predecessor, and called for the lessee to restore the surface of the land to its original condition. Plaintiffs continue to farm the property but claim that the defendant’s oil and gas operations caused (continued on page 10)
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the release of hazardous constituents onto the surface of their property, and have sued in both tort and contract for damages. Chevron raised a prescription defense to the contract claims, as it was undisputed that the lease in question terminated in 1988, and oil and gas exploration and production activity on the property ceased by 1976, such that more than ten years elapsed before the filing of this suit in 2011. Plaintiffs argued that contra non valentum applied, because they were unaware of the oil and gas activities occurring on the land, which they did not inherit until 1996. Chevron argued – and the court agreed – that for plaintiffs to argue that they could not have known about the potential contamination, they also needed to show that their father
could not have known about the potential contamination during his tenure as lessor. For the protection of contra non valentum to apply, it must be shown that all parties in the chain of title did not have adequate knowledge to bring suit. Further, Chevron had evidence that their father had made claims against the company several times throughout 1971 for compensation for cattle that had died following exposure to toxins on the property. The court determined that these claims showed that the father had possessed constructive knowledge, if not actual knowledge, about the presence of toxic substances on the property, such that the doctrine of contra non valentum could not be applied to protect plaintiffs’ claims. Judge Patricia Minaldi then granted summary judgment and dismissed the contract claims by plaintiffs. n
Legislative Updates extend a prescription period that has already expired, and you can’t proactively extend a prescriptive period that has not yet commenced. But, you can get successive 1-year extensions of a prescriptive period that has begun to run, but has not yet run out.
Legislative Update on new law regarding extensions of prescription Susan R. Laporte, Partner The 2013 Louisiana Legislature enacted changes to Louisiana’s law regarding prescription to permit the extension (or “tolling”) of prescriptive deadlines by agreement of the parties. The changes were accomplished by enacting five new articles to the Civil Code, to be numbered Articles 3505 and 3505.1 through 3505.4. All of those new articles became law effective August 1, 2013. Here’s a synopsis of the new articles. • New Article 3505 allows the parties to extend for up to one year a prescriptive period that has already begun to run, but has not yet accrued. In other words, you can’t
• New Article 3505.1 provides that the extension, to be valid, must be express and in writing, i.e., either by (a) authentic act, (b) act under private signature, or, even in certain circumstances, (c) an electronic transmission. Note: the act may be unilateral by the obligor: it does not require a signature of the obligee in order to be valid. • New Article 3505.2 provides that the period of extension “commences to run on the date of the juridical act granting it.” The Article is, unfortunately, ambiguous, as to whether “date” was the date of signing of an extension (which signing? first? last?), or the date of effectiveness designated by the parties. That will presumably have to be ironed out either by amendment or by the courts. Individuals involved in drafting the new articles have indicated that the article was intended to respect the parties’ choice of date, i.e., the effectiveness date. Of critical importance is that you must know the date on which your extension starts in order to know when it ends. For example, if the parties agree to an extension that runs for two months, the parties must know the date that the extension starts in order to calculate when the extended prescriptive period expires. (continued on page 11)
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• New Article 3505.3 deals with the effects of an extension agreed to by only one or more but not all solidary obligors: the extension only applies to the obligor(s) who grant(s) it; the prescriptive period is not extended with regard to any other solidary obligors, who may be released from the obligation if prescription . he other obligors may be released from the obligation by prescription if the original prescriptive period runs before suit is filed. Thus, if only one solidary obligor grants an extension of prescription, that obligor can be on the hook for the whole obligation and lose any rights of contribution against the co-obligors. Additionally, an obligor’s agreement to extend prescription binds his surety, but a surety’s agreement to extend prescription does not bind the obligor. On a practical level, this may have application in indemnity agreements: can the surety prohibit the obligor from extending the prescriptive period and binding the surety?
• Finally, under new Article 3505.4, the extended prescriptive period can be interrupted (i.e., it starts anew when the interruption ends) or suspended (i.e., the remainder of the applicable prescriptive period is in effect after the suspension ends), just like the original prescriptive period. In addition to adopting these new Civil Code articles, the 2013 Legislature also amended Article 2041. That article is in the section of the Civil Code dealing with the Revocatory Action (Article 2036), an action that basically permits an obligee to attack any act of an obligor that “causes or increases the obligor’s insolvency.” The obligee has one year to bring an action to annul the obligor’s act that caused or increased its/her/his insolvency; a preemptive period of three years from the date of the act applies. Per the amendment, if the obligor’s act rises to the level of fraud, the three-year preemptive period doesn’t apply. n
Focus on the Firm Curry & Friend, PLC is pleased to announce that Meredith M. Miceli and Barbara L. Bossetta have been named Partners of the firm. Meredith utilizes her exceptional legal research and writing skills to bolster the firm’s Medical Malpractice and Health Care Defense team. Her practice focuses on defending physicians, nurses, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, therapists and other allied health care personnel in medical malpractice and health care matters.
Barbara utilizes her exceptional case management and litigation defense skills to bolster the firm’s Environmental and Toxic Tort team. Her ability to immerse herself in the subject matter, history and culture of the firm’s clients in order to learn their industry and provide them with the best possible representation makes her an invaluable asset to the firm. (continued on page 10)
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New trial Act 78 amends Article 1979 to require a court to specify each of its reasons for granting a new trial. The requirement that a court decide a motion for new trial within ten days of its submission has not changed. The amendment to Article 1979 dovetails with Article 1917, which mandates that a court provide written findings of fact and reasons for judgment when a party requests it within 10 days of the transmission of the judgment to the parties.
2013 Legislative Update of Procedural Articles Heather M. Valliant, Partner The 2013 Regular Legislative Session resulted in several amendments to Louisiana’s Code of Civil Procedure:
Class actions Act 254 amends Code of Civil Procedure Articles 591 and 592 to further clarify the prerequisites for a establishing a class action. Article 591 A(5), which provides that a class “is or may be defined in terms of ascertainable criteria, such that a court may determine the constituency of the class for purposes of the conclusiveness of the judgment that may be rendered,” has been amended to indicate that this prerequisite is not satisfied “if it is necessary for the court to inquire into the merits of each potential class member’s cause of action to determine whether an individual falls within the defined class.” Article 592 A(3) has also been amended to add subsection (b), which provides that the proponent of the class “shall have the burden of proof to establish that all requirements of Article 591 of this Code have been satisfied.” Jury trial Act 391 amends Code of Civil Procedure Article 1732 to provide exceptions to the general rule that jury trials are not allowed when the plaintiff’s cause of action does not exceed $50,000. Under the new rule, if the plaintiff admits within 60 days of the date of trial that his cause of action does not exceed $50,000, the defendant or some other party still maybe entitled to trial by jury if that party has otherwise complied with the procedural requirements for requesting a jury trial. This exception does not apply, however, if the plaintiff’s late admission is due to the settlement or dismissal of one or more claims or parties within 60 days of the date of trial.
Altering or amending judgment Article 1951 now requires a contradictory hearing before altering or amending the phraseology or calculations in a judgment (but not the substance). A hearing is not required, however, if all parties consent to the change, or if the court or the party who is submitting the proposed amendment certifies that the proposal was provided to all parties at least five days before the amendment occurs, and no opposition has been received. Confirmation of default judgment Article 1702 is amended to provide that confirmation of a default judgment requires not just prima facie proof of plaintiff’s claim, but also that supporting evidence be admitted on the record before confirmation of default. The change was enacted to grant litigants a right of judicial review “based upon a complete record of all evidence upon which the judgment is based.” Without a complete record of the evidence presented to the trial court, meaningful appellate review of default judgments may be impaired. Venue Act 78 amends Article 45 to include Code of Civil Procedure Articles 84, 86, and 87 as venue articles that govern venue “exclusively” in the event of a conflict with Article 42 or Articles 71 through 77. Articles 84, 86, and 87, which deal with venue in very specific circumstances, were not listed in Article 45 originally, because they were added after the Code of Civil Procedure was enacted in 1960. Moreover, Article 85 was not included in the list because it provides for multiple venues for actions against domestic corporations with a revoked charter and franchise. n
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PRACTICE Pointers rely on either to prosecute your case or defend against the other party’s claims.
A Primer on eDiscovery – Part III Susan R. Laporte Partner In this issue, we continue a series of short articles on eDiscovery. We hope you find these discussions informative and useful.
In Part One of this eDiscovery series, we reviewed your first tasks in managing eDiscovery: “Locate” and “Identify” the possibly relevant discoverable electronically stored information (“ESI”), by assembling an eDiscovery Response Team and identifying your document Custodians. Part Two in this series addressed your next critical step: “Preserve” the ESI. This article addresses the third, and possibly most challenging, task in eDiscovery: “Production” of materials responsive to discovery requests or necessary to prove your case or defense. REVIEW & PRODUCTION OF ESI By now, you’ve located, identified, assembled and preserved all possibly relevant ESI. But how do you go about determining what portion of that ESI is relevant to the claims and issues in a particular lawsuit? How do you go about identifying privileged materials and shielding them from production? And, is the very process you use to identify and produce documents in itself discoverable, or is it something you would prefer to shield as work product? The process of producing electronic documents is rife with all of these issues. If you’re in federal court, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 26(a) requires that you must promptly identify or produce ESI, documents and tangible things in your possession, custody or control that you may use to support your claims or defenses. State courts may have a similar rule, but as every litigator knows, even without a specific rule, you need to produce the documents that you plan to
Anyone familiar with production of paper documents has had the experience of reviewing sometimes voluminous client files, followed by the eventual identification and copying of those document that you and your legal team consider “relevant,” and the withholding or protection of documents that are deemed privileged. The difference between production of paper documents and the production of ESI lies in both the volume of potentially relevant or responsive materials, and the “intangible” or electronic nature of the documents. You can’t put your hands on them and divide them into stacks, or put sticky tags on them, or pull some from a folder and leave others behind. Those processes now have to be done through an equivalent electronic procedure. Two main methods have emerged to assist the practitioner in review and production of ESI: (1) the “Key Word Search” and (2) Predictive Coding. This article will discuss the use of the “Key Word Search” and our column next month will discuss the use of Predictive Coding. Whether you use a Key Word Search or Predictive Coding, you will want to be sure that the jurisdiction in which your case is being tried approves your chosen methodology. Most courts have adopted and approved of key word searching; not all have embraced predictive coding. The production of ESI differs from the production of paper documents in another fashion: the “format” in which the materials will be produced. A paper document is produced as another paper document, i.e., a photocopy. But ESI may be produced in several different formats: • “Native” form indicates production is in the electronic format, i.e., in the format that your computer system uses to store and retrieve electronic data. The USDC for the District of Maryland defines Native Files as “ESI in the electronic format of the application in which such ESI is normally created, viewed, and/or modified.” • Another form would be hard or printed copies of electronic documents. For example, an email message could be printed out, and the printed page would be produced. • Still another form would be to print electronic documents, then scan them back to pdf format for production. The trend appears to require that the data be produced (continued on page 14)
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in the form in which it is ordinarily used in the course of business. See Covad Communications Co. v. Revonet, Inc., 254 F.R.D. 147 (D.D.C. 2008)(Defendant required to produce its e-mail in their native format; defendant did not print out its e-mails in the course of daily operations, and they could be copied and produced in native format with a couple of key strokes). The FRCP provide that the parties may agree upon the form in which ESI shall be produced, and that only one form of production is required. See FRCP Rule 34 (b) (2)(E)(iii). Faced with these variables, you and your opponent need some ground rules for how to conduct eDiscovery. In federal courts, these ground rules are decided through a process known as the “Meet and Confer.” Meet and Confer Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26(f) requires parties to confer about preserving discoverable information and to develop a proposed discovery plan addressing, among other points, discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) and the form or forms in which it should be produced. This conference, and the overall exchange of information about electronic discovery, has come to be called “Meet and Confer.” The Meet and Confer allows counsel to discuss a number of important eDiscovery topics, including: • The type of information technology systems in use and the persons most knowledgeable in their operation; • Preservation of electronically stored information that may be relevant to the litigation via litigation hold or regular retention systems; • The scope of the electronic records sought (i.e. e-mail, voice mail, archived data, back-up or disaster recovery data, laptops, personal computers, PDA’s, deleted data); • The format in which production will occur (will records be produced in “native” or searchable format, or image only? Is metadata sought?); • Whether the requesting party seeks to conduct any testing or sampling of the producing party’s IT system; • The burdens and expenses that the producing party will face based on the Rule 26(b)(2) factors, and how they may be reduced (i.e., limiting the time period for which discovery is sought, limiting the amount of hours the producing party must spend searching, compiling and reviewing electronic records, using sampling to search, rather than searching all records, shifting to the producing party some of the production costs);
• The amount of pre-production privilege review that is reasonable for the producing party to undertake, and measures to preserve post-production assertion of privilege within a reasonable time; and • Any protective orders or confidentiality orders that should be in place regarding who may have access to information that is produced. Hopson v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, 232 F.R.D. 228, 245 (D. Md. 2005).
Two federal district courts have issued guidelines outlining counsel’s “Meet and Confer” responsibilities with respect to ESI. See “In Re: Electronically Stored Information” by the U.S.D.C. for the District of Maryland and “Guidelines for Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (ESI)” by the U.S.D.C. for the District of Kansas. Both of these references are publicly available. The District of Maryland’s document also includes a list of the instructions to be included in a litigation hold notice. In addition to the foregoing list of matters that the Hopson v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore court considered necessary topics for the “Meet and Confer,” the U.S.D.C. for the District of Maryland adds the following (some of which it recommends for exchange prior to the Meet and Confer): • Information relating to the network design, types of databases, database “dictionaries,” access control list, security access logs, rights of individuals to access the system and specific files and applications, the ESI document retention policy, an organizational chart for information systems personnel, of the backup and systems recovery routines, including but not limited to, tape rotation and destruction /overwrite policy. • Preservation of ESI during the pendency of the lawsuit; • Post-production issues regarding privileges; • Identification of ESI that is not “reasonably accessible” without undue burden or cost, and the anticipated costs and efforts involved in retrieving that ESI. (continued on page 15)
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These lists, alone, provide ample evidence that the world of eDiscovery presents many challenges not found in the realm of paper document production. Although a state court may not have adopted rules requiring that opposing counsel Meet and Confer about the production of ESI, it is useful nonetheless to consider whether it may be to your advantage to address these issues with your opponent at the start of the discovery process, rather than find out later that there were unaddressed ESI issues that could have resulted in a different production outcome. MASTERING THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE: or “SO MUCH ESI, SO LITTLE TIME!” “De-Duplication” or Know When To Call In The Experts! The thorough search of ESI may require assistance of a “forensic computer specialist,” i.e., an expert. A specialist can assist you in filtering data, producing an authentic electronic “native format” duplicate, and “de-duplicating” data to eliminate redundant copies of materials. If you’re wondering about “de-duplicating”, just ask yourself how many people received a copy of the last policy memo that you distributed. If several of those people are on the list of key “custodians” with respect to a particular claim, then your e-mail attaching that memo may occur multiple times in the preserved ESI. De-duplication and creation of an authentic copy of your ESI without the redundant exact duplicates will spare you the need to review that same e-mail multiple times. Explaining the processes by which de-duplicating is accomplished falls within the realm of computer experts. When you need one, hire one. As someone once said, the only thing more expensive than hiring the right expert is hiring, or relying on, an amateur. Using “Key Word” Searches Searching documents for “Key Words” is a long-standing method for review of electronic documents. This process comes with more pitfalls than many attorneys care to acknowledge. It also requires powerful software capable of text recognition. As mentioned above, the text must also be “searchable” or converted by a process known as “OCR”1 into searchable text. Many electronic documents are not “word-searchable.” They may exist in a format that does not allow the content to be searched as text. Again, a good eDiscovery vendor may be able to help you overcome that hurdle. The more invidious trap of “Key Word” searching is that OCR stands for “Optical Character Recognition.” 1 eDiscovery & Digital Evidence, Section 8.3 (WestlawNext).
documents may not contain those “Key Words” you decided would be clues to the relevant materials. The variety and ambiguity of language is truly staggering, and the writers and creators of electronic documents are often less precise in their use of language than we, the reviewers, may wish. A critical message attaching a critical document may say only: “Per our discussion over lunch.” No one will be Key Word searching for “lunch” unless there is some other reason a lunch meeting or event was particularly relevant. Or the message may be simply: “as we discussed…”. If you’ve ever tried a Key Word search in a database to locate a document that you authored personally, you may have been surprised to find just how cleverly your message did not say anything that would later be consider “key” for purposes of document and information retrieval. In addition, misspellings, variations, and abbreviations can complicate this seemingly straight-forward search methodology. Certain eDiscovery vendors offer free publications, including suggestions regarding Key Word searching. Those vendors can also be helpful in developing Key Words that may be most effective in filtering the ESI for relevant materials and those responsive to discovery requests. A Key Word search for names of counsel may, for example, help you identify documents that are potentially privileged. Other forms of searching may again require an expert’s assistance. These other methodologies include: (a) conceptual search; (b) probabilistic search models; (c) “fuzzy” search models; (d) clustering; and (e) concept and categorization.2 We’ll take a look at these alternatives and the search methodology known as “Predictive Coding” in Part Four of this series. Know When To Call In The Experts! Yes, although this already mentioned once above, it bears repeating: know when to call in the experts. Both litigant and counsel need to know when to obtain assistance in this very technical field of endeavor. After all, most of us are now accustomed to relying on “IT” personnel as a routine part of our business. In fact, your regular in-house “IT” personnel may be the one who can best assist you in these issues, or may, with training, become the one best suited for most “routine” eDiscovery issues. As with engaging any type of expert, experience will help you learn the type of expert experience that matters most to your particular project, and the costs that are reasonable. But when it’s time to “call in the experts,” it is probably better to do so than risk the sanctions for failing to meet your eDiscovery duties. n
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Labor & Employment Law Corner In this section, we will summarize recent developments in labor and employment law matters of interest to the environmental community.
as a benchmark, or may establish their own benchmark using a combination of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service and the contractor’s unique hiring circumstances. • Collect and Retain Comparison Data on Disabled and Veteran Applicants and Employees. Contractors and subcontractors must now document the number of disabled workers and veterans who applied for jobs and the number hired. The data must be compiled annually and retained by the contractor for three years in order to track trends and measure outreach efforts.
FEDERAL CONTRACTORS’ MUST NOW SET GOALS AND TIMETABLES FOR HIRING VETERANS AND THE DISABLED Gerald “Jerry” J. Huffman, Jr., Partner In late September, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued final rules increasing affirmative action requirements and burdens on federal contractors and subcontractors. Previously, contractors were required to take affirmative action to hire and promote individuals in those groups but not required, as for minorities and females, to collect data regarding applicants, hires and promotions. But under the new regulations, federal contractors and subcontractors must: • Set a 7% Utilization Goal for Qualified Individuals with a Disability for each job group. If the contractor has 100 or fewer employees, the 7% goal applies to the contractor’s entire workforce, rather than each job group. OFCCP states that this is not a quota and failure to meet the disability utilization goal will not, by itself, constitute a violation of the regulation. However, OFCCP requires contractors to conduct an annual utilization analysis to find deficient areas and determine specific actions to rectify identified problems. • Establish Hiring Benchmarks for Veterans. Without setting a specific utilization goal for hiring veterans, OFCCP will require federal contractors to establish hiring benchmarks each year for protected veterans. Contractors may choose to use the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force, as updated annually by OFCCP (currently 8%),
• Ask Applicants and Employees to Self-Identify as Individuals with a Disability and as a Veteran. Employers must invite applicants at both the pre-offer and post-offer stage to self-identify themselves as individuals with a disability and as veterans. Invitations must also be sent to current employees to self-identify at least every five years. The OFCCP offers sample self-identification language. • Mandated Equal Opportunity Clause in Subcontracts. Contractors must include specific language to incorporate the equal opportunity clause into subcontracts so that subcontractors know their responsibilities as federal contractors. • Provide OFCCP Access to Records. Contractors must allow OFCCP to review documents related to a focused review or compliance check either on-site or off-site, at OFCCP’s option. OFCCP can request that contractors reveal all formats in which they maintain records and then request the records in whatever format OFCCP chooses. Compliance May Be Complicated To comply with these new regulations, employers are required to ask whether applicants and employees consider themselves to be disabled so it can be known whether they have met the 7% “goal” by workgroup. An applicant is not going to be required to answer the question. Studies have shown that only about 50% of those with disabilities are likely to self-identify. To overcome this reluctance, the OFCCP suggests that employers designate individuals as disabled, even if they decline to self-identify, where the disability is obvious or the employer knows about the disability. Such a designation creates a risk that an employer could be subject to a discrimination claim under (continued on page 17)
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the Americans with Disabilities Act that it had regarded an employee as disabled, even if in fact no disability existed To minimize exposure to such claims, employers should take care to keep all such designations strictly confidential from supervisors and managers. Clearly, such data could be grossly inaccurate. But the OFCCP has stated, in the preamble to the new rules, that even inaccurate data which greatly underreports the number of disabled applicants and employees will still assist the contractor and the OFCCP to evaluate the contractor’s hiring and selection process. Effective Date of the Disability and Veterans Affirmative Action Final Rules The new requirements become effective on March 24, 2014 for all annual plans starting after that date. Accordingly, if an employer’s current plan is in effect at that time, it need not comply with the new regulations until the next cycle of their affirmative action plan. For veterans, the affirmative action obligations apply to employers with federal contracts and subcontracts that exceed $100,000 in value. The contracttriggering level for coverage under the rules concerning disabled persons is $10,000. Further information can be found at the OFCCP’s website: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/. n
Environmental Legal Team Contributors Christoffer C. Friend Senior Partner, Covington email@example.com Gerald “Jerry��� J. Huffman, Jr. Partner, Covington firstname.lastname@example.org Susan R. Laporte Partner, New Orleans email@example.com Heather M. Valliant Partner, New Orleans firstname.lastname@example.org Brett F. Willie Senior Associate Attorney, Covington email@example.com Lauren E. Godshall Senior Associate Attorney, New Orleans firstname.lastname@example.org Meghan E. Smith Associate Attorney, New Orleans email@example.com