German attorneys took a recent French court ruling against Dow and its subsidiaries to the next level this week by gaining court approval to seize nearly $ 4 billion (21.210 shares) in capital of Dow Olefinverbund GmbH in order to compensate more than 1245 former Central American plantation workers and their families for damages caused by knowing corporate use of a ‘sperm killer’ pesticide at its fruit plantations.
“Companies acting on an international basis should quickly learn that there are no safe places left to hide from liability for environmental and human rights incompliance,” said Berlin attorney Christoph Partsch. “The French court decision and the German exequatur decision form a formidable precedence to that end.”
Nicaraguan courts previously ordered compensation to these workers, which Dow claimed was unenforceable but the French courts last month agreed to hear cases of previously uncompensated workers in a Paris trial early in January, 2020. The case is about the corporate giants’ continued use of the banned pesticide in Central America well into the 1980s after it had been banned in the U.S. during the previous decade.
According to Mr. Partsch, the French court of Bobigny first issued an injunction to seize the property of Dow to protect the enforcement of the Nicaraguan decision. With this French decision in hand, Dr. Partsch and his legal partner Jana-Maria Wernitzki petitioned the Merseburg court in Germany to grant exequatur pleading under the European Brussel Convention obliging European member states to recognize the legal decisions from another member states.
The seizure allowed by the German court was served by German bailiff to Dow Olefinverbund GmbH which holds the so-called Buna complex, a giant chemical plant built in 1930s and sold by Germany to Dow for about 3 billion € in 1995. The legal move conserves and protects the options of the plaintiffs, according to the attorneys.
The multinational legal team for the plaintiffs include Berlin-based German attorneys Mr. Partsch and Ms. Wernitzki, French Supreme Court Attorney Francois-Henri Briard, former Chair of the Paris Bar Attorney Pierre-Olivier SUR, Nicaraguan Attorneys Tony Lopez and Gustavo Lopez Jr., and internationally-known environmental American Lawyers Stuart H. Smith and Robert McKee.
“Finally, these plantation workers will collect damages from Dow and its subsidiaries,” said Mr. Smith. “These companies knowingly poisoned people and then left without any penalty, knowing these workers would be denied a normal family life.” Mr. Smith also called attention to the fact that Dow has hidden a multibillion-dollar liability from its stockholders and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, since the Nicaraguan Courts ordered a $805 million payout, which the companies continue to ignore.
Mr. Briard said, “Our German colleagues did a fantastic job; it is clear that brave European Judges, French and German, are now on the way to provide justice to these men and women of Nicaragua poisoned by American companies. One should not be surprised that in a world where companies act globally victims do cross borders. I am confident that we will get French Trial Court exequatur with provisional execution very soon; with seizures done, especially the German one, we will be able to sale shares in good conditions for our clients.”
New Orleans’ consistently top academic performing elementary school, Lake Forest Charter School, likes to say its students are “at-promise” thanks to its leadership team’s focus on student excellence and the strong support from its parents and volunteers.
Sylvester Johnson, Community Liaison for the public charter school in New Orleans East, said this intense pride in the school’s students is bolstered by AT&T’s announcement to join the October 12th Cocktails and Blues Gala as one of the event’s signature $20,000 sponsors.
In addition, AT&T announced it will give an additional $16,000 grant to support the school’s students with arts and cultural experiences specific to New Orleans.
Lake Forest’s Board of Directors, Founding Chief Executive Officer, Mardele S. Early, and the Parent’s Committee wished to specifically thank AT&T Louisiana’s Regional Director Michael Ruffin and AVP of External & Legislative Affairs David Aubrey for their support.
“There is no doubt our school is driven by our vision to invest in our students as tomorrow’s leaders. AT&T’s investment in our work allows our school to continue to evolve and excel.” said Ms. Gina Dupart, Board President.
This year’s Cocktails & Blues event on Oct. 12 features T-Ray the violinist and Rechell Cook & the Regeneration Band. The Patron Party and Dinner begins at 6 p.m. and the Silent Auction and Gala continue into the evening beginning at 8 p.m. at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
AT&T said it wanted to celebrate the school’s academic achievements with students, parents, and supporters since its exemplary test scores and flourishing extracurricular programs exemplify the type of education programs the corporate leader hopes to see more of in New Orleans.
Mr. Johnson said the investment will help develop Lake Forest students as global leaders by adding supplemental dollars to the school’s instructional programs, as well as comprehensive sports, music and arts programs.
“In so many ways, this makes it easier for us to be able to concentrate on the education our children,” said Ms. Early. “Contributions like this help our school truly focus on what matters most.”
PICTURED: Lake Forest Charter receives a $20,000 donation to its annual Cocktails & Blues event from AT&T. The school also received a $16,000 grant from AT&T to support its arts programs. Pictured left to right: Lake Forest Charter School Board President Gina Dupart, Lake Forest Charter School 6th grader Dinah Smith, LFC 2nd grader Peter Hamilton, LFC parent Hon. Nakisha Ervin-Knott, LFC 8th grader Dylan Knott, LFC Founding CEO Mardele Early, and Michael Ruffin with AT&T.
Opioid Justice Team: mother and grandfather of children born opioid dependent appointed to Purdue Phrma creditors committee
Among four individuals appointed to the official committee of unsecured creditors finalized by the U.S. Trustee regarding the $10 billion Purdue Pharma LP bankruptcy filing will be a mother and grandfather of children born opioid dependent and represented by the legal-medical partnership known as the Opioid Justice Team.
“This finally represents a recognition of the hundreds of thousands of children who are exposed to opioids in the mother’s womb and who upon birth require immediate intervention, as well as life-long medical monitoring and services,” said Attorney Scott Bickford, one of several attorneys representing these children in more than 35 class actions filed in states across the U.S.
Others appointed to the nine-representative committee during a recent meeting in New York are Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association, CVC caremark, LTS Lohmann, West Boca Medical Center, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and two additional personal injury victims.
Mr. Bickford immediately moved to file a friend of the court legal brief in the U.S. Sixth District Appellate court supporting the State of Ohio’s position that municipalities trying to siphon off money from the Purdue bankruptcy settlement lack the legal ability to ask for those damages.
Said Co-Counsel Celeste Brustowicz, “This is the first definitive sign that the fight we have waged on behalf of the innocent victims caught up in the prescription opioid crisis may finally get the medical trust fund we have advocated for.”
The Opioid Justice Team estimates that every 15 to 19 minutes in the U.S., a baby is born already dependent on opioids due to the mother’s in-vitro exposure. For more information on this condition known as Neo-Natal Abstinence Syndrome, go to www.opioidjusticeteam.com
With a favorable French court ruling under their belts, a multi-national legal team moved today to seize more than $110 million in assets owned by legal entities of the Dow group in France in order to compensate more than 1200 former Central American plantation workers and their families for damages caused by knowing corporate use of a ‘sperm killer’ pesticide at its fruit plantations.
French Supreme Court Attorney Francois-Henri Briard and internationally-known environmental lawyer Stuart H. Smith head up the plaintiffs’ legal team seeking to finally provide damages to the workers of three companies which employed banana workers in Nicaragua and other areas around Central America after the chemical pesticide Nemagon, proven to cause sterility in men, had been banned in the U.S. in the late 1970s. The companies are Dow, Occidental and Shell.
Nicaraguan courts have also ordered compensation to these workers, which Dow claims is unenforceable. But the French courts agreed to hear cases of previously uncompensated workers in a Paris trial early next January, 2020 about the corporate giants’ continued use of the banned pesticide in Central America well into the 1980s.
Mr. Briard said there are serious chances that French Courts will soon grant exequatur—or enforcement of a foreign Court order in France—because the legal reasoning of Nicaraguan judges is inspired from French legal culture.
Also Mr. Briard emphasized the fact that these U.S. companies had a fair trial in Nicaragua which makes these foreign opinions very compatible with French legal order.
Because current European Union rules allow Court orders to be upheld within its 28-nation trading bloc, workers will then be able to enforce exequatur and if necessary seize the three U.S. companies assets in Europe.
“Finally, these plantation workers will collect damages from Dow and its subsidiaries,” said Mr. Smith. “These companies knowingly poisoned people and then left without any penalty, knowing these workers would be denied a normal family life.”
Mr. Smith also called attention to the fact that Dow has hidden a multibillion-dollar liability from its stockholders and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, since the Nicaraguan Courts ordered a $805 million payout, which the companies continue to ignore.
Let me open by saying that overall this year’s open rolls process has been very robust and I thank the public for engaging with us regarding their assessment questions so courteously.
Between July 15 and August 22, we served approximately 7,500 property owners in the office and another 6,700 filed appeals online or by mail.
At this moment, we are busy reviewing all formal appeals, settling them whenever possible and will be submitting those remaining to the Board of Review September 4, 2019.
It is because of this immediately deadline I asked the Council to allow me to delay speaking to them and why I must cut short my time with you today.
Because of orders from the State Tax Commissioner, we attempted to do a review of all commercial and residential properties within Orleans Parish. Historically, we do approximately a quarter of the city each year rather than all properties once every four years.
Our method of segmenting assessments within each four-year period was recently upheld in court, but we met the state’s demand, suspending annual revaluations, until courts agreed we could hold to our original process.
Thus, there remain some 40,000 properties that will be reviewed for assessment values next year. We informed the Tax Commission of this in April and are in compliance with the law.
Regardless, this year’s large volume of 129,000 assessment reviews caused a very large and vocal response, but I must reiterate: My constitutional job is to review and reassess all commercial and residential properties according to standards set by the State of Louisiana and professional assessors’ organizations.
The Orleans Assessors’ Office has been reviewed in the past by the State Legislative Auditor, independent organizations, as well as the media.
This process is set in law and always in place. In my more than 30 years as an Assessor, I have maintained these high standards of operation and continue to do so.
We are always open to improvement and because we have so openly provided access to all the data we maintain online, we encourage the public to engage with us when we make mistakes. We now have 21 appraisers with state designations and five with national designation.
However, there is no denying the fact that property values in the Parish of Orleans have drastically changed since 2016, as reflected in property assessments for 2020. Only owners of those properties which saw increased or decreased valuations received letters from me this year. They were invited to meet with us during the open rolls period or file a formal appeal.
Increased property taxes result when there are increased assessments and when the authorities allowed by voters to collect these taxes choose to roll their dedicated millage rates forward. I have done my part with assessing value, but it is now in the court of these 10 agencies to do theirs and either vote to reduce property tax rates, keep them neutral or increase them. They must do this in a public vote and after a public meeting.
Now, because this tax increase discussion still looms, I wish to correct several mis-statements:
Let me be very clear, I personally do not support ever giving any property owner, no matter how small or large, special treatment and by law I cannot allow my personal feelings to influence how I do my job.
The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office does not approve or revoke any form of tax levies or exemptions, except those we control: Homestead Exemptions and special assessments granted by state law on the basis of age, disability and income. And these special exemptions are again granted by state law.
I do not have the authority to remove an entity's tax-exempt status without due process simply because the City wants more money.
While I understand the concern from property owners about tax rates, that is a discussion that must move to the agencies which set the tax rates. That is where the public’s focus now belongs.
Lt. Colonel Brandon Gregoire, a graduate of Jesuit High School, Harvard College and the U.S. Naval War College, and who went on to serve three tours of duty before retiring from U.S. Marines after 23 years of service, qualified for the District 3 Senate Race.
He is currently employed as Director of School Operations at the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, a public high school serving students from multiple parishes and active military duty families.
“I am determined to bring more resources to the three parishes represented in this district and improve our quality of life as residents, business owners and homeowners,” said Lt. Col. Gregoire. “I have a life-long record of accountability, discipline and character learned from the highest levels of the nation’s security and intelligence agencies that can be used to improve our community with strong leadership.”
He previously served as a defense legislative fellow for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a democrat from Missouri.
He is a Bronze Star Medal recipient, among 18 other military decorations. He is the proud father of one son and a homeowner in Gentilly Terrace.
Learn more about Brandon at brandongregoire.com.
(New Orleans) ‒ Matthew Willard, 30, a lifelong resident of Gentilly, businessperson and President of the Seabrook Neighborhood Association, today announced he will qualify for the District 97 House of Representatives election to be held on Saturday, October 12.
Matthew is the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager for the local technology start up, Fluence Analytics, and he comes from deep roots in New Orleans public service. Matthew’s grandparents, Dr. Elliot and Mary Jane Willard, were civil rights leaders and lifelong educators at St. Augustine, Booker T. Washington and John McDonogh High Schools. His Aunt Cynthia served as a State Senator and City Councilperson, and his Uncle Benedict is a Criminal District Court Judge. His parents, Dominic and Terrie Willard, are a local contractor and a lifelong educator, respectively.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home; all children deserve a quality education; we deserve good streets and working street lights; every working person should receive a living wage; we all deserve a chance at success. As your next State Representative, I will fight to make sure New Orleans remains a great place to visit but an even better place to live,” said Willard.
Matthew said he is running to serve District 97 in the spirit of faith, community service and integrity. “Our area of strong neighborhoods and residential business corridors deserves a principled and dedicated leader to fight for them,” Willard said.
His legislative priorities will be to:
As a business leader, Matthew guides Fluence Analytics’ overall marketing direction and manages business development initiatives and communication policies. Recently, Matthew led successful public relations campaigns following the company’s Series A and A-1 venture capital funding rounds. He is a certified Scrum Master in agile project management and was recently honored by Gambit New Orleans as a 40 Under 40 leader.
Matthew is as an elected member of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee for City Council District D and serves as a Board Member for Jason’s House, a nonprofit organization working to finance low-cost housing for men following rehabilitation for chemical dependency. Matthew is a homeowner and Board Member for the Seabrook Neighborhood Improvement and Security District. He is a parishioner of St. Raymond / St. Leo the Great Catholic Church.
Election Day, October 12, 2019 | MatthewWillard97.com | Facebook & Instagram: MatthewWillard97 | Twitter @MattWillard97
The Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools (GNOCCS) invites you to come visit us on our first days of school! We’re proud of our schools and excited for the new school year. If you would like to visit a school, please contact Heather Harper, (504) 897-6110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
**Back to School dates and grades are bolded below school name**
Morris Jeff Community School (PK-11th)
August 5 (PK-11th)
Lopez Campus (PK-8th)
211 S. Lopez, NOLA 70119
Clark Campus (9-11th)
1301 N. Derbigny
New Orleans, LA 70116
Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary Charter School (PK-8th)
August 8 (1st-8th), August 15 (PK & K)
2401 Humanity St.
New Orleans, LA 70122
New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics
High School, Sci High (9-12th)
August 8 (12th), August 9 (10 &11th), August 12 (9th)
5625 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70115
Young Audiences Charter School (K-9th)
August 8 (1st-9th), August 15 (K)
Salem Lutheran Campus (8-9th)
418 4th St
Gretna, LA 70053
Kate Middleton Campus (2nd-7th)
1407 Virgil St.
Gretna, LA 70053
Harvey Kindergarten Campus (K-1st)
3400 6th St.
Harvey, LA 70058
International High School of New Orleans (9-12th)
August 9 (9th), August 12 (10-12th)
727 Carondelet St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Benjamin Franklin High School (9-12th)
August 12 (9-12th)
2001 Leon C. Simon Dr.
New Orleans, LA 70122
International School of Louisiana, ISL (K-8th)
August 12 (1st-8th), August 14 (K)
Dixon Campus (K-2nd):
4040 Eagle Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
Uptown Campus (3rd-8th):
1400 Camp St., NOLA 70130
Westbank Campus (K-5th):
502 Olivier St., NOLA 70114
Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy (PK4-11th)
August 12 (1st-12th), August 19 (K)
Maine Campus (1st-7th)
2504 Maine Ave.
Metairie, La 70003
Vintage Campus (10-12th)
201 Vintage Dr.
Kenner, La 70065
Rivertown Campus (K)
415 Williams Blvd.
Kenner, La 70062
Jefferson Campus (K, 8-9th)
2012 Jefferson Hwy
Jefferson, LA 70121
Warren Easton Charter High School (9-12th)
August 12 (9-12th)
3019 Canal St.,
New Orleans, LA 70119
Einstein Charter Schools (PK-12th)
August 12 (9-12th), August 13 (PK-8th)
Einstein Charter School at Village de l'Est (PK-5th)
5316 Michoud Blvd - Extension
New Orleans, LA 70129
Einstein Charter Middle at Sarah T. Reed (6-8th)
Einstein Charter High at Sarah T. Reed (9-12th)
5316 Michoud Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70129
High: (504) 503.0749
Einstein Charter School at Sherwood Forest (PK-5th)
4801 Maid Marion Dr.
New Orleans, LA 70128
Lusher Charter (K-12th)
August 13 (1st-12th), August 20 (K)
Willow Campus (K-5th):
7315 Willow St., NOLA 70118
Freret Campus (6-12th):
5624 Freret St., NOLA
Audubon Schools (PK-8th)
August 14 (K-8th), August 19 (PK4), August 20 (PK3)
Lower School (PK-3rd):
428 Broadway, NOLA 70118
Upper School (4-8th):
1111 Milan St., NOLA 70115
Audubon Gentilly (PK4-4th):
4720 Painters St.
New Orleans, LA 70122
Hynes Charter Schools (PK-8th)
August 15 (1st-6th), August 16 (7 & 8th), August 22 (PK & K)
Hynes Charter School Lakeview (PK-8th):
990 Harrison Ave
New Orleans, LA 70124
Hynes Charter School UNO (K):
6101 Chatham Dr.
New Orleans, LA 70122
Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School (PK-8th)
August 19 (1st-8th), August 26 (PK-K)
Lower School (PK – 5th):
421 Burdette St. (temporary location)
New Orleans LA 70118
Upper School (6 – 8th):
401 Nashville Ave.
New Orleans LA 70115
Each of the member charter schools of the Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools does not discriminate in the rendering of services to/or regarding employment of individuals because of race, color, religion, sex, gender, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.
Student Orientation to be held August 5-7
WHAT: New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy (NOMMA), a public charter school adjacent to the Marine Forces Reserve national headquarters in Federal City, will return to school for the 2019-20 school year. It is the only public charter of its kind in the metro area. The following activities provide a colorful and unique back-to-school visual and message. This is the first year the school has expanded by adding an 8thgrade.
WHEN: August 5-7: Cadet orientation
Monday, August 5: New Cadet Uniform Issue, 7:45am to 3:05
Wednesday, August 7: Formation Initial Inspections will be held throughout the afternoon from Noon-3pm
August 12: First day of school for students (grades 8-12) 7:35am to 3:05pm
Please contact Heather at email@example.com or (504) 289-0499 if you would like to visit the school on one of these dates.
WHERE: New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy
425 O'Bannon St., NOLA 70114, in Algiers
NOMMA’s high quality academic program has a 100 percent student body participation in the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC), and was designated as a Naval Honor School due to superior performance of its MCJROTC program. NOMMA has a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and also offers career and technical training.
It is one of the top open-enrollment public high schools in the four-parish metropolitan area with a graduation rate over 95 percent. NOMMA exceeded both the city and state averages for ACT scores, End-of-Course (EOC) exams, and LEAP 2025 assessments and was recognized by the Louisiana Department of Education as a Top Gains Honoree for consistently demonstrating exceptional student progress.
NOMMA is open to all students in the Greater New Orleans metro area. Any student can apply for 8-11 grade at NOMMA through enrollnola.org with priority given to military dependents in the greater New Orleans area. For more information call (504) 227-3810 or go to www.nomma.net