Pickin’ on Veggies: Louisiana’s “Truth in Labeling of Food Products Act”

January 22, 2020

by Missy Oakley, Senior Associate

I. Introduction 

On August 8, 2019, the fast-food chain Burger King launched its meatless, vegan burger: the Impossible Whopper.[1] The Impossible Whopper is just like the classic Whopper,[2] but it is prepared with a plant-based patty instead of a beef patty.[3] McDonald’s recently began testing a similar sandwich in Canada, called the “P.L.T.”[4] Burger King and McDonald’s are among several companies attempting to meet increased consumer demand for “alternative meat”[5] products.[6] More and more consumers are reducing their meat consumption and switching to more plant-based diets amid concerns for personal health, animal welfare, and the environment.[7] This trend toward less meat has brought new products to the market, and it has raised concern regarding how these products are labeled.[8]

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Protecting Louisiana from Running out of Tax Credits like in Ulrich v. Robinson

January 22, 2020

by William H. Bell, Senior Associate

I. Introduction

In 2007, the Louisiana Legislature, in an effort to increase the amount of solar energy produced within the state, implemented a tax credit for taxpayers who purchased residential solar panels.[1] Beginning in 2008, the solar tax credit gave Louisiana residents a tax credit of 50% of the purchase price on the purchase of residential solar panels, up to $25,000.[2] For example, if a Louisiana resident purchased a $20,000 solar panel system, the taxpayer would receive a $10,000 tax credit. In 2015, Louisiana Legislative Act 131 implemented a $10,000,000 cap on the amount of tax credits the state would issue for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years, with an effective date of June 19, 2015.[3] Just days before the tax credit cap became effective, Justin and Gwen Ulrich and Raymond and Pam Alleman (collectively “the Taxpayers”) purchased and installed tax credit eligible solar electric systems with the expectation of receiving the tax credits.[4] In 2016, the Taxpayers filed their 2015 income tax returns seeking the tax credits.[5] Act 131’s cap for the 2015 fiscal year had already been met by the time the Taxpayers filed their 2015 tax returns, so the Louisiana Department of Revenue denied the Taxpayers’ tax credits.[6] The Taxpayers then sued the Louisiana Department of Revenue, claiming that Act 131 was unconstitutional because they had been deprived of vested property rights in the tax credits.[7] The Taxpayers litigated their lawsuit for nearly four years.[8] During that period, in 2017, the Louisiana Legislature enacted Act 413, giving the solar tax credit to any taxpayer who purchased solar panels between July 1, 2015, and January 1, 2016, in reliance on the tax credit but did not receive the tax credit because of the $10,000,000 cap.[9] Consequently, the Louisiana Supreme Court declared the Taxpayers’ cause of action moot.[10] Although the Louisiana Legislature remedied the Taxpayers’ harm before a final ruling on the Taxpayers’ lawsuit, the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the Louisiana Legislature should implement reasonable measures that will prevent similar lawsuits from arising, thereby reducing the state’s litigation costs.

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The State is No Crook After 30 Years

by Michael Schimpf, Senior Associate

November 19, 2019

I. Introduction

Acquisitive prescription is Louisiana’s method of acquiring ownership whereby a possessor attains ownership by possessing a thing for a certain period of time.[1] Acquisitive prescription allows a trespasser, whether in good faith or bad faith,[2] to take ownership over another’s property. Commentators have jokingly labeled acquisitive prescription as a form of “legalized stealing.”[3] Acquisitive prescription, however, has benefits. First, it solves complex title disputes without forcing courts to trace murky titles for generations because it cures any title defects and creates a new title.[4] Second, because the true owner of the property has neglected the thing by allowing the acquisitive prescriber to possess it for an extended time, acquisitive prescription transfers title to the prescriber who values the thing more and has put it to productive use.[5]

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In God We (Are Legally Mandated to) Trust: The Constitutional Establishment Clause Implications of Louisiana Revised Statute § 17:262

by Sophie DiLoreto, Senior Associate

November 4, 2019

“In God We Trust.” These four words have appeared on all U.S. coins since 1938 and on all U.S. paper currency since 1957.[1] Additionally, as of the 2019–2020 academic year, Louisiana law mandates that these words appear in every public school in the state.[2]

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Forcing the Issue: It’s Time for the Legislature to Clarify what art. 1493(E)Legitime-tely Means

by Bill Milburn, Senior Associate

I. Introduction

John Doe has twins, Jane and John Jr. John is an oil tycoon who always fancied himself as a sort of renaissance man. In order to emboss his name in history, he draws up a testament leaving everything he owns to his state’s flagship university. Jane and John Jr. are deeply hurt and quickly challenge the testament under the laws of forced heirship. Jane and John Jr. are both 30 years old and afflicted with mental illnesses. Jane currently works as a file clerk for a local law firm, but she struggles to keep a job because of her bi-polar disorder, which she likely inherited from her father, that renders her bedridden once every 6–12 months. John Jr. is a war veteran who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). Similar to Jane, he struggles to sustain employment due to bouts of permanent incapacitation relating to his PTSD. Jane and John Jr. have the same fundamental problem: their mental illnesses prevent them from effectively taking care of themselves and administering their estates.[1] A layperson applying common sense may very well believe that no matter what the law of forced heirship is, it likely treats both Jane and John Jr. the same—either they are both forced heirs, or neither is a forced heir. Sadly, this is not the case. In the eyes of the law, only Jane is a forced heir. Why? Not because she needs the assistance more than her brother, but merely because her mental illness is inherited.[2] Continue reading