As Hurricane Isaac plowed into South Louisiana it decided that it wanted to hang around for a while. Currently the center is just above Baton Rouge, La and has been moving at 6mph all day. Essentially the City of New Orleans has been dealing with 40mph + sustained winds for the past twenty-four hours. The rainfall is now the biggest factor because the large amounts have no where to go, therefore flooding is an issue. Weather Channel recently reported over 20″ of rainfall in Audubon Park located in Uptown New Orleans.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capitol city, is being hit hard with wind and rain. The majority of Louisiana’s population lives in the I-10 / I-12 corridor. These are the areas that have taken on Isaac with full force. Plaquemines Parish has probably the worst damage thus far where waters of the storm surge rose above the levees. Other hard hit Parishes of Louisiana include, Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, St. John, St. Charles, Ascension, Livingston and East Baton Rouge. Residents of these Parishes will be out of the weather soon but the trouble will continue with the clean up and lack of power. Entergy has its work cut out when it commences restoring power to the millions living in the area.
Thursday and Friday, will be days of cleanup and restoring life back to normal. Assessment of damages will be critical to a swift and full recovery. More to come from ConstructionLawMonitor.com…
Hurricane Isaac made landfall today in Louisiana over Plaquemines parish and then it took a turn to the west whereby it went back over open water. As of 11:30 CST the storm is still over the water and the rain bands are pelting the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas.
For those who own commercial and residential property in New Orleans, Metairie and other metropolitan areas of South Louisiana, you must ride out the storm and make it a priority to get your property secure. Next is to assess the damage. Make a proper claim with your property and flood insurance carrier. You will need to file a “sworn proof of loss” which requires an estimate of damages that is signed off on by you the insured.
Do not simply rely on your insurance company and/or agent. Be proactive and get an estimate. If you can afford it make the repairs and keep proof of all costs expended for the repair. Insurance will only indemnify you which means pay you back for what you spent to repair.
Be weary of out-of-state or unlicensed contractors who are not qualified to do repairs to your property. Get your own public adjuster to battle with the insurance adjuster. Get your own contractor to battle with the estimate of the insurance company. Make quality repairs and demand that your insurance fully indemnify you as is required by law and under the policy.
As of Midnight CST the Weather Channel has New Orleans reporting 2.40 inches of rain between 7pm and 10pm. More to come as this situation progresses.
This week New Orleans and south Louisiana are preparing for Hurricane Isaac to have an impact on the region. With these type of events come an aftermath where property owners and contractors are left scrambling to put the pieces back together. The best way to quell the negative effects of an event like this is to be prepared.
Undoubtedly, there will be those who need to make property damage claims. Undoubtedly there will be contractors who come into the area trying to make a few dollars on the repair. It will be tempting to save a few dollars and go with the cheap (unlicensed or uninsured) contractor but that is a recipe for disaster.
There are lots of great resources for homeowners and contractors alike at Louisiana State Contrators Licensing Board’s website. This is a very important step in finding good qualified contractors to do remediation work. Further, contractors who come in from out of state will need to register on this site before performing work in Louisiana.
As for dealing with insurance companies to make your claim. I advise clients to take pictures and video of your property before the storm makes landfall. This will give you an up-to-date log of your inventory. Then after the damage has occurred, then you will need to make yet another video/picture document log. Concurrently with this you will need to put your insurer on notice of any and all claims. Look to your policy, insurer’s website, or the Louisiana Department of Insurance website for contact information on your company. Notice of the claim is nearly as important as documenting the claim. Click here for a more detailed claims process rundown.
In recent years Wolfe Law Group has handled hundreds of insurance claims dealing with property loss. Contacting experienced professionals to help with your claim will ensure that you receive the maximum amount of indemnity. We will be monitoring the situation closely for our neighbors in South Louisiana.
I recently found a good article on JDSupra.com, always a great source for solid legal content, regarding California Senate Bill 474. This Bill protects subcontractors when contracting so that they cannot be held liable to indemnify the general contractor or owner from certain types of negligence. Author, Maria Giardina of Sedgwick, LLP, does a very good job of explaining the step that the California Legislature has taken to further protect the interest of subcontractors who often enter into one-sided contacts with general contractors in order to procure work in this troublesome economy.
This Bill raises a bigger and more overarching question as to why do state legislatures feel the need to make rules to restrict the freedom to contract. The legislature here is essentially trying to protect the subcontractor from itself. In a perfect world, general contract presents the subcontract document to the subcontractor, and that sub has its lawyer review the contract to see if the terms can be negotiated so that its a fair document for all involved. This new Bill, allows for subs to enter into subcontract agreements with general contractors and then after-the-fact afford the sub protections because the general contractor had a well written contract.
William M. Hill and Mary-Beth McCormack author a well written article on protecting a subcontractor from itself. This article deals with a hot construction law topic, pay-when-paid vs. pay-if-paid clauses.
It seems from the face of California Senate Bill 474 and many others like it across the country, that we are on a path toward heavy government regulation of our business relations. I understand that the little man needs protection from corporate might, but I believe that we have gone too far. Let the parties contract to whatever they want. If it goes against public policy, then the provision is void on its face. There is no need to waste taxpayer money to draft, argue, and pass bills such as these.
For more on this topic, see Gordon & Reese, LLP article and Senator Noreen Evans.
Congratulations to zlien! The innovative and growing company has just received the first round of a $450,000 investment from the New Orleans Startup Fund. The funding will help the company expand its business nationwide along with add more employees.
Zlien is a great tool for contractors, suppliers, and others in the construction industry because it provides a reasonable and effective way to manage preliminary notices and file mechanics liens.
If you’d like to learn more information about Zlien and this exciting news, click here.