LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Civil matters only, please.
QUESTION 1: I paid an attorney to expunge my record a few years ago, but I have a friend who can still view my conviction. Can I sue the lawyer for my money back?
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
§5605. Actions for legal malpractice
A. No action for damages against any attorney at law duly admitted to practice in this state, any partnership of such attorneys at law, or any professional corporation, company, organization, association, enterprise, or other commercial business or professional combination authorized by the laws of this state to engage in the practice of law, whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of an engagement to provide legal services shall be brought unless filed in a court of competent jurisdiction and proper venue within one year from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect, or within one year from the date that the alleged act, omission, or neglect is discovered or should have been discovered; however, even as to actions filed within one year from the date of such discovery, in all events such actions shall be filed at the latest within three years from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect.
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 expungment, the attorney will make that clear to the client.
QUESTION 2: We own our home outside the city limits. Do we need a permit to build a privacy fence? What are the guidelines for building any other structure like an outdoor kitchen with sleeping quarters on our property?
ANSWER: No permit is required. However, you may be in a neighborhood zoning area, so you can check with them to see if there are limitations, or restrictions on the type of fences allowed.
Regarding the other structures, there is a variety of areas that do require permits:
- Moving a home or building
- Installation of electrical wiring, mechanical equipment, plumbing, piping, gas piping
Warning: if you build something that requires electric wiring or plumbing, and do not have proof that you acquired a permit, they will not hook up your water or electricity.
You can find this list on the Parish’s website: cppj.net
There is also a contact number if you do not have access to a computer: 337-721-3610.
QUESTION 3: I heard from one person that you cannot harvest/keep a female crab with eggs, then I heard you cannot keep a female crab at all. Which one is correct?
ANSWER: Normally, you can keep a female crab, however the count got so low this year that there is currently a moratorium on keeping any female crabs – from September 9 to October 13. Now this is subject to change, based on if the count increase to normal levels again, so you can check the Wildlife and Fisheries website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov
Go to “Fishing” then to “Saltwater seasons” then to “shellfish”.
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.