Our Louisiana residents may be aware that the mayor of the city of New Orleans has been embroiled in a dispute between the city and its firefighters. The city has been involved in a legal battle with the firefighters union ever since it failed to pay back pay it owes to over 1100 firefighters, who are mostly retired, with a little less than 400 who are active and currently still on the government’s payroll.

The dispute between the firefighter’s union and the failure of the city to pay them resulted in a lower court issuing an order that would have placed the mayor of New Orleans under house arrest. However, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently granted a stay.

In this case a city official familiar with facts of the dispute between the city and its firefighter’s union conceded that the city of New Orleans failed to pay the $75 million in back pay it promised to pay its firefighters last year. Additionally, the city is also on the hook for an additional $67 million in accrued interest. Furthermore, testimony given at the recent proceedings revealed that the city had failed to respond to a proposal by the firefighters union to have the city use proceeds it had acquired from a settlement with BP oil company in the amount of $40 million from the environmental damage caused by the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Disputes between entities in both the private and public sectors can arise at any time. Failing to resolve a contract dispute can result in serious legal ramifications, disruption of services and other negative consequences. Such matters, however, are not simple. The complexity surrounding issues can daunting, and it is essential to examine all provisions in a contract and other legal documents closely.

Source: The New York Times, “New Orleans Mayor Avoids House Arrest in Labor Dispute,” Allen Johnson, Sept. 11, 2015