Breaking: State Farm files for mistrial in Bossier

I am locked up in a meeting this afternoon and just about spit my coffee when I saw the latest on Bossier.  In short, the Farm knows they are toast in Bossier and are now officially grasping for straws. Anita Lee, who is now offically part of the news cycle, reports for the Sun Herald:

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. denied State Farm’s motion for a mistrial before a jury returned to the courtroom for a fourth day of testimony Thursday in a Katrina case, Bossier vs. State Farm.

State Farm attorneys sought the mistrial because of an article in Thursday morning’s Sun Herald. The article reported on Senter’s suggestion that the attorneys get with their client, State Farm, and try to settle the case.

Senter polled the jury and found two of the eight jurors had been told that an article was in the newspaper but they did not hear anything about the content. Continue reading “Breaking: State Farm files for mistrial in Bossier”

Jim Brown on the late Dave Treen

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana



The accolades for former Louisiana Governor Dave Treen have been pouring in, and rightly so. He has been called a lot of nice names and everyone quoted has pegged him as a “good guy.” He was “an inspiration,” said Governor Bobby Jindal. “A wonderful, sweet guy” lauded Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. “A gracious man” wrote columnist Smiley Anders. All these accolades are right on the mark. But Dave Treen’s legacy will not be based on what a friendly fellow he was. We all know lots of friendly political figures. History will treat him well, and acknowledge him as the first and, perhaps only, true conservative Louisiana Governor in the past century.

His philosophy was simple. Have state government provide basic public services, keep up the infrastructure, and provide public protection. No meddling in private business, No political deals to benefit supporters. He just wanted to create a healthy business climate, run the state efficiently, and then tell government to “just get out of the way.” See that the trains run on time. Nothing creative or entrepreneurial. That wasn’t the job, according to Treen, of state government.

Dave Treen was elected Louisiana Governor in 1979 in a close election against then Public Service Commissioner Louis Lambert. Voter fraud had been alleged in both the first primary where Lt. Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris had been nudged out of the runoff, as well as the general election itself. I joined the statewide fray having been elected as Secretary of State at the same time. Shortly after taking office, the new Governor suggested we meet to talk over the election process. He wanted a full investigation into any of the election fraud allegations, and we both agreed on creating an Election Integrity Commission, the first such investigative body by any state in the country.

The Governor candidly told me his first election try for congress in 1968 has been stolen from him due to voter fraud and he wanted it stopped. Republican officials seemed convinced that fraudulent votes in some Orleans Parish precincts benefited incumbent Hale Boggs and that Treen may have actually won the election. There were rumors of election officials who cast votes for people who did not show up at the polls and signed for them in the precinct registers. Treen did not contest the election because he believed that a challenge before the majority-Democratic House would be futile. Continue reading “Jim Brown on the late Dave Treen”

Judge Senter dismisses jury briefly, suggests State Farm settle with Bossier (can you belive it?)

State Farm attorney Ben Mullen said the Mississippi Supreme Court only recently clarified that insurance companies bear the burden to prove water caused a loss before payment is denied.

Senter corrected him, saying, “That’s been the law since 1910, counsel.”

Anita Lee – of course – has the story for the Sun Herald – and what a story it is!  According to Lee, it all started when Bossier had just finished presenting evidence that he should be paid policy limits of $650,000 on his Hurricane Katrina claim.

Senter dismissed the jury, then heard State Farm’s argument that the policyholder’s case was so weak the judge should dismiss it without rebuttal from the insurance company. Senter rejected the motion, then suggested State Farm consider making an offer to policyholder Reginald “Ed” Bossier that would end the trial.

Senter said the record so far includes “some pretty tough stuff” pertaining to the insurance company. “See what you can come up with,” Senter told the attorneys, “and everybody can come out of this with a degree of honor.” Continue reading “Judge Senter dismisses jury briefly, suggests State Farm settle with Bossier (can you belive it?)”