Profile

Richard Traina’s practice areas focus on commercial litigation, real estate litigation, title insurance litigation and bet-the-company litigation. Richard has more than 25 years of litigation experience in jurisdictions as varied and exotic as the United States Virgin Islands and Cameron, DeSoto and Red River Parishes, Louisiana. He has extensive experience in international litigation, lands and natural resources litigation, mineral litigation, coastal litigation and constitutional litigation.

For much of his professional career, Richard was a “utility infielder” commercial litigator, successfully handling whatever types of commercial cases his clients were involved in. As a result, he is well-versed in real estate, corporate, general commercial, banking, contract, tax, and intellectual property litigation.

Richard enjoys the competitive aspects of litigation and creative thinking, analysis, and writing. His written and oral advocacy often receives compliments from judges and opposing counsel alike. Richard’s colleagues have described him as intelligent, hard-working, and unflappable (he survived two deadly hurricanes, including one in the Virgin Islands that destroyed his house around him), with a wicked sense of humor and wit.

Prior to joining Steeg Law, Richard seized an opportunity to put his scientific background and interest in Louisiana’s coast to work, spending seven years at the Louisiana Department of Justice. While working there, Richard litigated complex coastal, lands and natural resources, and water bottoms cases (many involving complicated legal issues of first impression). He also served as statutory counsel to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board. In that capacity, Richard dealt with local governments and private entities on the State of Louisiana’s coastal issues in areas such as policy formation, legislation, and contract negotiation.

Through his work at the Louisiana Department of Justice, Richard has gained a reputation as one of Louisiana’s leading and most knowledgeable advocates in the coastal/natural resources/water bottom arena. That domain only will increase in importance as Louisiana (and those who live and do business in the state) face the challenges of global warming, sea level rise, and ground subsidence.

Representative Transactions and Cases

  • Successfully represented the defense, a famous New Orleans restaurant family, against claims of federal and state trademark infringement and unfair competition involving the use of a family surname as part of restaurant names
  • Represented the plaintiff (a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana) in litigation that tested the constitutionality of a statutorily created tax increment financing district designed to aid commercial real estate development in New Orleans. Also participated in the preparation of amicus curiae briefs to the Louisiana Supreme Court in other tax increment financing cases litigated around the same
  • Successfully represented the Louisiana Department of Revenue in litigation testing the constitutionality of taxes on jet fuel and other supplies purchased by airlines at airports in Louisiana for use on interstate flights as impermissible burdens on interstate commerce.
  • Successfully represented a defendant in litigation involving the ownership of a sunken barge in the Mississippi River that interfered with a pier expansion project of the Port of South Louisiana at its docking facility along the river.
  • Successfully represented the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in litigation challenging CPRA’s method of compensating lessees of State water bottoms for oyster bedding purposes when portions of their leases were acquired by CPRA because the leases were directly impacted by coastal restoration projects.  Obtained a complete reversal of the trial court judgment in favor of the lessees and ultimate judgment for CPRA. 
  • Successfully defeated a challenge to the constitutionality of the Louisiana statutes providing for bike paths and walkways atop the Mississippi River levee in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, and West Baton Rouge Parishes.

Professional Activities

  • Member, Louisiana State Bar Association
  • Member, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
  • Former Member, Louisiana State Board of Election Supervisors (appointed by Gov. Jindal in 1999)  
  • Gubernatorial Nominee, Louisiana Board of Ethics (unable to serve because of employment at Louisiana Dept. of Justice)

Recognition

  • Regularly featured in the Louisiana Attorney General Office newsletter, The DoJournal, for litigation victories

Civic and Community

  • Member, Visiting Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences, Loyola University New Orleans Board of Directors
  • Coral Bay Community Council, Coral Bay, St. John, USVI

Special Experience

  • Loyola University College of Law — Law Review, Moot Court, Legal Research and Writing Teaching Assistant, Moot Court Teaching Assistant
  • New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (Class of 2010)

Representative Reported Cases

  • Brennan’s Inc. v. Dickie Brennan & Co., Inc., 376 F.3d 356 (5th 2004); later proceeding at 377 F. Supp. 2d 579 (E.D. La. 2005)
  • World Trade Center Taxing Dist. v. All Taxpayers, 908 So. 2d 623 (La. 2005). 
  • Kennedy v. United Airlines, Inc., 797 So. 2d 186 (La. App. 5th 2001), writ denied, 811 So. 2d 882 (La. 2002)
  • Port of S. La. v. Tri-Parish Indus., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69052, 2014 WL 2109895 (E.D. La. May 20, 2014)
  • Bayou Canard, Inc. v. State, through CPRA, 250 So. 3d 981 (La. App. 1 Cir.), writ denied, 254 So. 3d 1209 (La. 2018)
  • Plaquemines Dirt & Clay Co., L.L.C. v. Plaquemines Parish Gov’t, – – – So. 3d – – – (La. App. 4 Cir.), 2020 WL 2904055, writ denied, 306 So. 3d 427 (La. 2020)
  • West Baton Rouge Parish Council v. Tullier, – – – So. 3d – – – (La. App. 1 Cir.), 2021 WL 82340, reh’g denied, and writ denied, – – – So. 3d – – -, 2021 WL 1747005 (La. 2021)
  • Hall Ponderosa, LLC v. State, through La. State Land Office and La. Min. and Energy Bd., 39th JDC, Red River Parish, (Dec. 10, 2020)