LEGAL CORNER: My expungement may not have worked. What can I do?

LEGAL CORNER: Mar. 14, 2018

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QUESTION: "My friend had an expungement filed about nine or ten years ago. But three years later when he did a background check, he was told by the Sheriff's Department that something was on his record, but they later told him "everything was fine." When he applied for a job, they did a background check and told him don't bother applying again? Finally, when he went to follow up with the Sheriff's Department to verify that nothing was on his record, they told him that "everything was fixed", but deputy had an issue with "how expungements were handled back then." So, my question is does my friend have any legal recourse?"

ANSWER: The question brings up two issues – malpractice and expungements. First, when asked about "legal recourse", we must first consider whether this meets the definition of malpractice, which generally refers to carelessness or negligence below the standard legal practice. Second, any recourse maybe beyond the statute of limitations.

To bring a legal malpractice suit, the claim must be asserted either (1) one year from the action or inaction, or the discovery of the action/inaction, or (2) no later than three years from the incident.

Universal Citation: LA Rev Stat § 9:5605

Secondly, understanding an expungement may offer some clarity. Despite a common belief, an expungement does not "destroy the file" of someone's convictions or records. An expungement simply limits the access to your records to a select group of agencies, for example, law enforcement, the gaming industry, medical providers, and schools – they will always have access to records whether or not the records are considered "public". So, depending on where your friend applied for work, the expungement may have done all that it was supposed to do. Hopefully, when meeting with an attorney to do an expungement, the attorney will make that clear to the client.

QUESTION: We have a dog that is caged but is allowed, under supervision, to occasionally run free. We live on a busy highway and worry should he venture on to the road and cause an accident, who has liability?

ANSWER: The owner of an animal is answerable for the damage caused by the animal. However, he is answerable for the damage only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his animal's behavior would cause damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nonetheless, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for damages for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog and which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person's provocation of the dog. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.

Art. 2321. Damage caused by animals

QUESTION: I quit my job, but have not been paid yet. I was told I could sue about that. Any truth to that rumor?

ANSWER: You are entitled to be paid in the regular pay cycle. You have no right to accelerated payment unless your contract dictates that. However, if within 3 days of a written demand payment has not been timely made to you, you are entitled to attorneys' fees, a very rare statutory right in Louisiana:

Title 23:632

§632. Liability of employer for failure to pay; attorney fees

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC-TV.

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