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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.

Attorneys

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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What is 'Pain and Suffering' in a Personal Injury Case?​

Learn about this key component of damages and the factors that go into its calculation. Most people have heard the term "pain and suffering," but they may not necessarily know that it is a key component of many a personal injury case. But what is pain and suffering from a legal perspective, and more importantly, how is it calculated for the purposes of an injury-related insurance claim or lawsuit?   What is "Pain and Suffering"? There are two types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering.Physical pain and suffering is the pain of the plaintiff’s actual physical injuries. It includes not just the pain and discomfort that the claimant has endured to date, but also the detrimental effects that he or she is likely suffering in the future as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Mental pain and suffering results from the claimant's being physically injured, but it is more a by-product of those bodily injuries. Mental pain and suffering include things like mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, and shock. Mental pain and suffering is basically any kind of negative emotion that an accident victim suffers as a result of having to endure the physical pain and trauma of the accident. Very significant mental pain and suffering can include anger, depression, loss of appetite, lack of energy, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, and/or sleep disturbances. Even more severe mental pain and suffering can even constitute post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mental pain and suffering, like physical pain and suffering, includes not just the effects that the victim has endured to date, but also the mental pain and suffering that he/she will more than likely suffer into the future. Examples of Pain and Suffering Let’s look at a couple of examples of how car accident victims might experience pain and suffering. First, let’s take a more severe case. Let’s say that someone got into a car accident that caused multiple broken bones along with a severe concussion. That is a pretty serious accident. As a result of these injuries, the claimant became depressed and angry, had difficulty sleeping, and experienced a significant loss of appetite. As a result of these problems, the claimant was referred to a psychologist and a therapist. All of these problems are directly related to the accident, and the claimant is entitled to compensation for mental pain and suffering due to the accident. Mental pain and suffering can sometimes get so bad that it prevents the victim from returning to work even after the physical injuries have healed. In this case, this victim’s depression due to the accident might linger long after his/her broken bones and concussion healed. In such a case, the victim would still be able to claim any damages related to the mental pain and suffering, such as lost income. Next, let’s look at a less serious example of mental pain and suffering. Let’s say that someone gets into a car accident and suffers back strain. As a result of the back strain, the claimant is prevented from exercising for several weeks, and, during this time, is prevented from running in a marathon that they had been training months for. As a result of missing the marathon, the claimant is angry, frustrated, unhappy, and maybe even a little depressed. This claimant has no need for mental health assistance, but these effects, while comparatively minor, still qualify as mental pain and suffering.  How to Calculate Pain And Suffering Judges do not give juries much in the way of guidelines for determining the value of pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit. There are no charts for juries to look at in order to figure out how much to award. In most states, judges simply instruct juries to use their good sense, background, and experience in determining what would be a fair and reasonable figure to compensate for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. You may have heard about a "multiplier" being used in personal injury cases, where pain and suffering is calculated as being worth some multiple of the injured person’s total medical bills and lost earnings (which are called the claimant's “special damages”). Often, the "multiplier" is considered to be somewhere between 1.5 and 4, meaning that the pain and suffering is 1.5 to 4 times the value of the claimant's special damages. However, the "multiplier" concept is only a very rough estimate and does not apply in all personal injury cases. It is most useful in minor injury cases, where the total damages are less than $50,000. But even in small cases, you should be very careful about applying the "multiplier." There are many other factors that affect the value of the pain and suffering component of a personal injury case. These include: whether the plaintiff is or will be a good or bad witness whether the plaintiff is likable whether the plaintiff is credible whether the plaintiff’s testimony regarding his or her injuries is consistent whether the plaintiff is exaggerating his or her claims of pain and suffering whether the plaintiff’s physicians support the plaintiff’s claims of pain and suffering whether the jury thinks that the plaintiff lied about anything, even something relatively minor (as a general rule, if a plaintiff lies, the plaintiff loses) whether the plaintiff’s diagnosis, injuries and claims make common sense to the jury whether the plaintiff has a criminal record Link to original article

DUI or DWI Punishments and Penalties​

Many DUI and DWI offenders face stiffer penalties than mere fines. As with any criminal charge, a person charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If guilt is established (often through the defendant's own plea or after a jury trial), the penalty will depend on state law, as well as on any aggravating circumstances (such as the presence of an open bottle of liquor in the car) and the defendant's cooperation with the police.   Jail Time In all states, first-offense DUI or DWI is classified as a misdemeanor, and punishable by up to six months in jail. That jail time may be increased under certain circumstances. For example, some states mandate more severe punishments for DUI or DUI offenders whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest was particularly high—for example, .15% or .20%, very high considering the legal limit of .08%. Many states also require minimum jail sentences of at least several days on a first offense. Subsequent offenses often result in jail sentences of several months to a year. For a DUI or DWI that's been classified as a felony—either because the driver killed or injured someone or because it's the driver's third or fourth DUI—jail sentences of several years are not uncommon. Again, this depends on state law, the facts of the case, and the discretion of the judge at trial. Fines In addition to jail sentences, courts can and do impose high fines for DUI or DWI. These range from $500 to as much as $2,000. Driver's License ProblemsA DUI or DWI offender stands a good chance of having his or her license suspended for a substantial period of time (either by court order or mandate of the state motor vehicles department). For example, many states suspend a first offender's license for 90 days; a second offender's license for one year; and a third offender's license for three years. Refusal to take a blood, breath, or urine test can result in a license suspension regardless of the finding of guilt, in addition to other penalties in many states. However, sometimes it's possible to obtain a "hardship license" to drive to and from places like work and school during a suspension. Some states take further steps to make sure the person (particularly a repeat offender) doesn't get back on the road. The state may confiscate the car or cancel its registration, either temporarily or permanently. Or the state may require an ignition interlock device (IID) to be attached to the DUI or DWI offender's car. This device requires the driver to blow into a small handheld alcohol sensor unit attached to the dashboard. If the person's BAC is above a preset level (usually .02% to .04%), the car won't start. Alternative Forms of Punishment A number of states' court sentences may include alcohol teaching and prevention programs, treatment for alcohol abuse, assessment of a person for possible alcohol or drug dependency or addiction, and community service or victim restitution. The judge may recommend these steps instead of jail time or paying fines, most likely for a first offender. Or the judge may combine them with other penalties. In Texas, for example, minors convicted of a DUI must perform community service, in addition to any other penalties. Young Offenders A minor who is arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs won't get any breaks from punishment -- in fact, being young is likely to make matters worse. The legal drinking age is 21 in most states, so drinking before that age is a separate crime. In addition, some states penalize underage drivers based on lower BAC levels than the standard .08% for adults, typically .02%. The state may impose adult sentences on minors, and underage DUI offenders are likely to have their licenses suspended for one year. Other Consequences In addition to legal penalties, the driver's insurance company may cancel the insurance policy or drastically increase the rates because of the hit to the person's driving record. And a drunk driving charge stays on a person's driving record for many years. Plus, if the driver's license is suspended, the insurance company is likely to cancel the insurance policy. Certain jobs may be closed to those who've been convicted of DUI or DWI, such as driving a school bus, delivery van, or any other vehicle as part of their employment. Finally, the driver may face a separate civil lawsuit if accident victims decide to sue for property damages or bodily injuries. Link to original article ​

Visa Re-validation Rule​

A nonimmigrant alien who has previously presented a visa for admission to the US may be readmitted (a) in the same nonimmigrant classification as shown on an expired visa, or (b) in a different nonimmigrant classification than shown on an expired or valid visa if a change of status occurred while the individual was in the US. The nonimmigrant alien’s absence from the US must be limited to 30 days or less, and the individual’s travel must be limited to certain geographic locations. Admission under this procedure is called “automatic visa revalidation” (also known as the “Contiguous Territory Rule”). Automatic visa revalidation is applied differently depending on the individual’s nonimmigrant visa classification. Most nonimmigrants may rely on automatic visa revalidation to apply for readmission after travel to a “contiguous territory” (Canada or Mexico). Nonimmigrants in F or J classification may rely on automatic visa revalidation after travel to a “contiguous territory” or “adjacent islands other than Cuba.” Adjacent islands include Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea. To rely on automatic visa revalidation, a nonimmigrant alien must meet the following conditions: Form I-94 showing an unexpired period of initial or extended authorized stay.If the individual has applied for and received an extension or change of nonimmigrant status while in the US, a Form I-797, Notice of Action.Nonimmigrant aliens (including spouse or children) applying to be admitted in F, M, or J classification must also present one of the following documents as applicable:    - F / M classification: A valid Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant, issued by the school at which the             Department of Homeland Security has authorized the principal nonimmigrant’s attendance.    - J classification: A valid Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, issued by the authorized program sponsor showing the unexpired period of stay.A valid passport with a nonimmigrant visa, whether valid or expired, used for a prior admission to the US. If the individual’s current passport does not contain the nonimmigrant visa, the individual must present a prior passport with a visa. An expired nonimmigrant visa includes (1) a visa that is no longer valid because of the passage of time and (2) a visa that is no longer valid because the maximum number of entries has been used. Apply for readmission to the US after an absence of 30 days or less solely to a contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico). Nonimmigrant aliens applying to be admitted in F or J classification may apply for readmission to the US after an absence of 30 days or less solely to a contiguous territory or adjacent islands other than Cuba. Apply for readmission without having applied for a visa while outside of the US. A nonimmigrant who, while in a contiguous territory or on an adjacent island, applied for a new visa, and that visa application is pending or has been denied, is no longer eligible to be readmitted under without a valid visa.  Customs and Border Protection will admit nonimmigrant aliens who meet the above requirements for automatic visa revalidation. The admission will be in the same nonimmigrant classification as shown on the valid Form I-94 that is presented. Exceptions 1. Visa Waiver ProgramPersons admitted to the US under the VWP may only be readmitted for the balance of the original Visa Waiver Program admission. 2. Nationals of Iran, Syria, Sudan, and CubaNationals of the countries listed above are not eligible for automatic revalidation of a visa.  Such individuals must present a valid visa when making an application for any admission to the United States and may be admitted only in the nonimmigrant classification shown on the visa. Link to original article​

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