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Technology is continually reshaping the legal industry, and we aim to be a step ahead of the pack. As a small firm serving Louisiana and Texas, we need the ability to be in multiple locations at once to address multiple concerns ranging from filing a petition, deposing a witness, or a court appearance. At Sudduth and Associates, that is not a problem.​

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We believe in family and community and encourage interests outside the practice of law. We welcome you to become a part of our family and experience excellent service and traditional values in everything we do. Join with us as we continue our multi-generational tradition of service and leadership in this wonderful community we call home.

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James E. Sudduth III

Managing Partner

Adrien Lorrain

Associate Attorney

Kourtney Kech

Associate Attorney

Lori L. Nunn

Of Counsel

Welcome to Louisiana

James E.  Sudduth III

James E. Sudduth III

James E.  Sudduth III

James E. Sudduth III

James E.  Sudduth III

James E. Sudduth III

James E.  Sudduth III

James E. Sudduth III

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Technology is continually reshaping the legal industry, and we aim to be a step ahead of the pack. As a small firm serving Louisiana and Texas, we need the ability to be in multiple locations at once to address multiple concerns ranging from filing a petition, deposing a witness, or a court appearance. At Sudduth and Associates, that is not a problem.​​

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Wrongful Termination:Was Your Firing Illegal?​

If you've been fired from your job, do you have grounds to challenge the termination? By Barbara Kate Repa If you've been fired from your job, how do you know if the termination was legal or illegal (called "wrongful termination")? Most employment is "at will," which means an employee may be fired at any time and for any reason or for no reason at all (as long as the reason is not illegal). But there are some important exceptions to the at-will rule—and legal remedies—that may help you keep your job or sue your former employer for wrongful termination. Written Promises If you have a written contract or other statement that promises you job security, you have a strong argument that you are not an at-will employee. For example, you may have an employment contract stating that you can only be fired with good cause or for reasons stated in the contract. Or, you may have an offer letter or other written document that makes promises about your continued employment. If so, you might be able to enforce those promises in court.  Implied Promises The existence of an implied employment contract—an agreement based on things your employer said and did—is another exception to the at-will rule. This can be difficult to prove because most employers are very careful not to make promises of continued employment. But implied contracts have been found where employers promised "permanent employment" or employment for a specific period of time or where employers set forth specific forms of progressive discipline in an employee manual. In deciding whether an implied employment contract exists, courts look at a number of things, including: Duration of your employmentRegularity of job promotionsHistory of positive performance reviewsAssurances that you would have continuing employmentWhether your employer violated a usual employment practice in firing you—such as neglecting to give a required warning, orwhether promises of long-term employment were made when you were hired. Breaches of Good Faith and Fair Dealing If your employer acted unfairly, you may have a claim for a breach of a duty of good faith and fair dealing. Courts have found that employers breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing by: firing or transferring employees to prevent them from collecting sales commissionsmisleading employees about their chances for promotions and wage increasesfabricating reasons for firing an employee when the real motivation is to replace that employee with someone who will work for lower paysoft-pedaling the bad aspects of a particular job, such as the need to travel through dangerous neighborhoods late at night, andrepeatedly transferring an employee to remote, dangerous, or otherwise undesirable assignments to coerce the employee into quitting without collecting severance pay or other benefits that would normally be due. Some courts don't recognize the "good faith and fair dealing" exception to at-will employment. And some states require that a valid employment contract exists before employees can sue for a breach of good faith and fair dealing. Violations of Public Policy It is illegal to violate public policy when firing a worker—that is, to fire for reasons that society recognizes as illegitimate grounds for termination. Before a wrongful termination claim based on a violation of public policy will be allowed, most courts require that there be some specific law setting out the policy. Many state and federal laws have specified employment-related actions that clearly violate public policy, such as firing an employee for: disclosing a company practice of refusing to pay employees their earned commissions and accrued vacation paytaking time off work to serve on a jurytaking time off work to voteserving in the military or National Guard, ornotifying authorities about some wrongdoing harmful to the public (whistle-blowing). Some states also protect employees from being fired for very specific reasons, like service as an election officer or volunteer firefighter. Some courts have also held that employers cannot fire you because you took advantage of a legal remedy or exercised a legal right—such as filing a workers' compensation claim or reporting a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Discrimination Employers may not fire even at-will employees for illegal reasons, and discrimination is illegal. If you believe you were fired because of your race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, or genetic information, you should talk to a lawyer right away. There are strict time limits and rules that apply to discrimination claims; for example, you must file a complaint of discrimination with a state or federal agency before you may sue your employer in court.  Retaliation Employers are forbidden from retaliating against employees who have engaged in certain legally protected activities. To show that you lost your job as a result of your employer's retaliation, you must prove all of the following: You were engaged in a legally protected activity—such as filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or formally complaining to your employer about harassment or discrimination.That activity prompted your employer to act—for example, you were reprimanded just after your employer found out that you filed a charge of sexual harassment.Your employer's action had adverse consequences for you—for example, you were fired, denied a promotion, or given a negative performance review that was unwarranted. Fraud In extreme cases, an employer's actions when firing a worker are so devious and wrong that they rise to the level of fraud. Fraud is commonly found in the recruiting process (where promises are made and broken) or in the final stages of employment (such as when an employee is induced to resign). To prove that your job loss came about through fraud, you must show all of the following: your employer made a false representationsomeone in charge knew of the false representationyour employer intended to deceive you (or tried to induce you to rely on the representation)you actually did rely on the representation, andyou were harmed in some way by your reliance on the representation. The hardest part of proving fraud is showing that the employer acted badly on purpose, in an intentional effort to trick you. That requires good documentation of how, when, to whom, and by what means the false representations were made. Defamation A lawsuit for defamation is meant to protect a person's reputation and good standing in the community. To prove that defamation was a part of your job loss, you must show that—in the process of terminating your employment or subsequently providing references—your former employer made false and malicious statements about you that harmed your chances of finding a new job. To sue for defamation, you must usually show that your former employer: made a false statement about youmade the statement with malice (that is, knowing that it was false or with reckless disregard to its falsity)told or wrote that statement to at least one other person, andharmed you in some way by communicating the statement —causing you to lose your job, or preventing a new employer from hiring you, for example. To win a case of defamation, you must prove that the hurtful words were more than petty watercooler gossip. True defamation must be factual information, and it must be false.  Whistle-Blowing Violations Whistle-blowing laws protect employees who report activities that are unlawful or harm the public interest. Some states protect whistle-blowers who complain that their employer broke any law, regulation, or ordinance at all. Other states give employees whistle-blower protection only when they report that their employer broke certain laws, such as environmental regulations or labor laws. Link to original article >

How To Create a basic Will​

A basic will may be all you need. Writing a will might be the single most important legal task you should complete. If you don't make a will before your death, who gets your property and raises your children may be left up to a judge or state law. A basic will can avoid this, and creating one can be simple and easy. Take a common situation where a husband and wife want to leave their property to each other or, if they die together, to their children in equal shares. They also want to name a personal guardian for their children. They can safely make simple wills themselves without hiring a costly expert.  When creating a basic will, you can confidently use a good do-it-yourself book or software to make a legally binding will that: Leaves your property to the people and organizations you chooseNames a guardian to care for your minor children if you can'tNames someone to manage property you leave to minor children (yours or someone else's), andNames your executor, the person with authority to make sure that the terms of your will are carried out. Will a Basic Will Avoid Probate? No. Leaving anything more than a small amount of property through a will makes probate court proceedings necessary after your death. Although it varies from state to state, probate can take six months or a year and eat up three to five percent of your estate in lawyers' and court fees. And your beneficiaries will probably get little or nothing until probate is complete. But if you need only a basic will, you have little reason to concern yourself now with probate. If you're relatively young and healthy and you don't have piles of money, your real concern is to make legal arrangements for the statistically unlikely event that you will die suddenly and unexpectedly. You've almost certainly got plenty of time to plan for probate avoidance later. When is a basic will enough? Simply put, if you are under age 50 and don't expect to leave assets valuable enough to be subject to estate taxes, you can probably get by with only a basic will. But as you grow older and acquire more property, you may want to engage in more sophisticated planning.  How do you know if a basic will is for you? If the following statements describe you, a basic will is probably enough: You're under age 50.You're in pretty good health.You don't expect to owe estate tax at your death. On the other hand, if one of the following applies to your situation, then you probably need something more than a basic will: You expect to owe estate tax you die or when your spouse does. You want to control what happens to property after your death -- for example, you want to leave some property in trust for your child and have it go to your grandchildren when your child dies.You have a child with a disability or other special need that you wish to address in your estate plan. You have children from a prior marriage and you fear conflict between them and your current spouse.You think someone might contest your will, claiming that you were not mentally competent when writing it, or that the will was procured by fraud or duress. How to Create a Basic Will Hiring a lawyer to create a basic will could cost you several hundred dollars, and is usually not necessary. You can use software, such as Quicken WillMaker Plus to create a comprehensive and legally sound will for less than $60.​

Does Smart Home Technology Give Police a Window into Your "Nest"?​

By Patrick Roberts Few people realize that their smart technology could be a smoking gun for criminal investigators. The "internet of things" is rampantly overtaking every area of life. Most of us carry smartphones nearly every waking hour. When we're out and about, GPS systems and commercial security cameras make it easy to track our whereabouts. And an increasingly popular type of technology blankets virtually all areas of our homes in surveillance. These smart home systems are designed to make life more convenient. They allow us to remotely lock doors, adjust the thermostat, control the lights and make sure that we didn't accidentally leave the garage door open. They include listening devices like Amazon's Alexa and Google Home. And they include sweeping security systems that record time-stamped video footage, among other things. Just one of these systems could play a pivotal role in a criminal investigation. And taken together, they give police a virtual window into our lives, detailing our every movement and, potentially, every conversation. How Smart Technology Implicated One Man in His Wife's Murder Just last year, data from a smart security system implicated a 40-year-old Connecticut man in his wife's murder. When police first arrived at the couple's home, the husband – tied to a chair and bleeding – told an elaborate story of how a masked intruder shot his wife before running off. The husband claimed he'd come home from work because he got an alert from their security system. However, it turned out the alarm was activated from within the home. The timing of the alarm – as well as data from the victim's Fitbit – undermined critical details in the husband's story. He currently awaits trial on murder charges. When and How Can Police Access This Data? All police need to obtain troves of digital data is a search warrant – or, in some cases, even less than that. A warrant requires probable cause, which grants some degree of protection to the accused. Yet, some tech companies will turn over digital data even when there's no warrant – in response to a subpoena or official police request, for example.  That's why consumers should review the terms of service for each of their smart devices. Where is the audio/video footage or other data stored? Who has access to it? How long is it kept? How securely is it encrypted? And what's the company policy on responding to requests for this data? Granted, most people won't bother to look into these details. But it's certainly something to be aware of. Data from smart devices is bound to play a big role in criminal cases of all kinds, from burglary and arson to sex offenses and murder. Copyright Roberts Law Group, PLLC Link to original article >

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