Where regulatory and governmental issues are concerned, attorneys in the individual practice areas at Phelps Dunbar work closely with the particular agencies relative to their fields to resolve matters on our clients' behalf.
Some representative examples include:
In addition to trial and appellate work, our attorneys in the admiralty practice regularly appear before state and federal regulatory bodies such as the United States Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Commission, United States Department of Labor, and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Business and Finance
Attorneys in the area of business and finance often deal with the Federal Reserve Board, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, other federal financial institutions regulators, and state authorities on questions relating to financial institution formation, regulations with respect to investments, capital formation, lending limitations, and insider transactions, holding company and subsidiary formation and regulation, approval of new products and services, regulatory compliance, and in a wide variety of enforcement proceedings. Our business and finance attorneys also work closely with state insurance regulators on behalf of our insurance company and agent clients in connection with all aspects of insurance regulation, including licensing, holding company formation and oversight, acquisition approvals, market conduct reviews, affiliations between banking and insurance entities, and the like. With respect to commercial activities, we have been involved in all aspects of corporate financings, from loan structuring and negotiation to the documentation of the transaction, and we work with our commercial clients to ensure that their day-to-day activities comply with applicable laws and regulations.
Commercial litigation attorneys practice before all state and federal courts, as well as various regulatory bodies and agencies, including the New Orleans City Council, the Louisiana Tax Commission, the Civil Service Commission, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the Louisiana Public Service Commission, and other governmental agencies.
Energy and Utilities
Our practice involves all areas of electric public utility law, including regulation by the Louisiana Public Service Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; cogeneration and other power plant development, rates for electric sales and transmission, interconnection matters, issues under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935; general corporate, financing, other transactional matters; and representation in civil litigation. This work involves issues in generation, transmission, distribution, and sales.
Our environmental practice includes counseling clients regarding federal, state and local laws and regulations, as well as working with and appearing before regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, while attorneys in this area are primarily resident in the New Orleans, Jackson and Baton Rouge offices, they are experienced in working in all areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida and Alabama. Attorneys in our environmental regulatory practice counsel clients and work with regulators and experts regarding permitting issues, compliance orders, penalties and environmental assessments. We also assist clients in the preparation of comments with regard to proposed federal rule making and state administrative regulations, as well as in challenges to state rule making.
Opening a casino requires the issuance of a gaming license from state gaming authorities and the approval of as many as thirty other federal, state, and local regulatory authorities. Our gaming attorneys spend a considerable amount of time assisting clients before the Gaming Commissions in Mississippi and Louisiana. and making sure the various applications are "walked through" the regulatory bureaucracies. In addition, attorneys stay in contact with these regulatory authorities at every juncture. Lawyers in the gaming group also accompany clients to licensing hearings before the gaming authorities and other regulatory bodies. Even after the license is obtained, our gaming attorneys continue to stay up-to-date on any changes in regulations as they occur. We attend all meetings of the Gaming Commissions in Mississippi and Louisiana and monitor regulatory decisions and reports affecting gaming issues. In addition, changes in environmental regulations, tax regulations, Attorney General's opinions, and proposed and current legislation affecting the gaming industry are all closely reviewed by our attorneys in order to effectively represent the interests of our clients, and keep them informed concerning the myriad of governmental influences that affect the gaming industry.
Especially in issues relating to Medicare, attorneys in our health care practice are knowledgeable regarding the fraud alerts, the advisory opinions and the enforcement policies of the Office of the Inspector General, the Health Care Financing Administration and the Division of Medicaid. Our health care attorneys also regularly assist clients in obtaining exemptions and rulings before the national office of the Internal Revenue Service. We also represent health care clients in employee benefit litigation and administrative proceedings, including Department of Labor and IRS audits.
Labor and Employment
Attorneys practicing in the area of labor and employment often are called upon to handle a broad array of administrative charges and investigations before such administrative agencies as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Employment Standards Administration and the Wage-Hour Division.
Oil and Gas, Energy and Minerals
Attorneys in the oil and gas, energy and minerals practice are experienced in providing representation to clients in regulatory oversight and proceedings with the Louisiana Commission of Conservation, Louisiana Public Service Commission and the Minerals Management Service, and other agencies of the Department of the Interior. In the area of wetlands regulation, our attorneys have experience dealing with the Environmental Protection Agency and Corp of Engineers, as well as with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.