Scruggs defendants file Rebuttal in support of Motion to Dismiss Young v Scruggs

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap

Even with the pleadings reported in The Barriester’s Dream – Plaintiffs’ Oppose Scruggs’ Motion to Dismiss, Scruggs refused the role of  Snark in this latest filing in Young v Scruggs, Defendants’ Rebuttal Brief in Support of their Motion to Dismiss:

Plaintiffs’ RICO claims do not fail because of a technical misstep; they fail because the series of events alleged in the Complaint and the RICO Statement do not rise to the level of a RICO violation which entitles Plaintiffs to that statute’s special remedies.

The brief states, There is no magic language Plaintiffs can add to their pleadings to create a RICO cause of action. Believe me, there is also no magic language to make a discussion of law related to serving Richard Scruggs with process interesting reading.  The rest, however, is interesting reading and an apt reminder that RICO is not something you just toss out to get your case in federal court.

Defendants Scruggs et al make three clear arguments for dismissing Plaintiffs’ RICO claims: Continue reading “Scruggs defendants file Rebuttal in support of Motion to Dismiss Young v Scruggs”

From the you can’t make this stuff up file we have another problem on the Louisiana class action front: Ye ol’ buttcall

There are times that we get tips that simply defy description. This one comes courtesy of a proverbial buttcall via Baton Rouge Lawyer Donna Grodner. The names should be familar ones to the Louisiana legal community.

Through an odd series of events involving a “butt call”, Judge Hymel was found participating with Lewis Unglesby in what may be described as an “ex parte” communication on the case. An “ex parte” communication occurs when an attorney has a private conversation with a sitting judge about litigation over which the judge presides. It was reported that the phone conversation was taped.

Attorney Donna Grodner whose office was the inadvertent receiver of the “butt call” commented as follows, “This explains a lot of what has been going on in this case. Although I had a feeling something was going on – I could never put my finger on it. I am sorry for the delays this will cause in the litigation, which has already been strung out too long by these individuals.”

Indeed as the Slabbed can attest getting the shaft without benefit of lubrication can be most disconcerting and as our own Robert can attest lawyers milking this type litigation are sometimes a very big problem as we continue our peek behind the back door into the world of ex parte communication: Continue reading “From the you can’t make this stuff up file we have another problem on the Louisiana class action front: Ye ol’ buttcall”

New GAO report pulls juggling act from qui tam Olympics – puts Rigsby and Branch in the lead!

With this week’s GAO release of Financial Management: Improvements Needed in National Flood Insurance Program’s Financial Controls and Oversight, there is no longer a need for a juggling act to find the truth of claims made in earlier reports and the evidence policyholders present the courts – and, in the interest of judicial economy, the qui tam defendants should just kiss their arguments goodbye:

FEMA’s Bureau and Statistical Agent (BSA) serves as a liaison between the government and WYO insurance companies. GAO identified weaknesses at three levels of the NFIP transaction accountability and financial reporting process.

  • First, at the WYO level, our internal control testing of a statistical sample determined that almost 71 percent of WYO company claims loss files did not have the necessary documents to support the claims, or reports were filed late.
  • Second, incomplete BSA-level premium data files (lacking key information such as insureds’ names and addresses) prevented an assessment of the reliability of reported NFIP premium amounts. Further, BSA-level internal control activities were ineffective in verifying the accuracy of WYO-submitted data.
  • Lastly, FEMA’s financial reporting process uses summary data that is overly reliant on error-prone manual data entry.

Apparently, the Branch Defendants decided no one would notice the OIG only examined .0062% of total claims and decided they would try and pass off Hurricane Katrina: Wind versus Flood Issues (Exhibit A, Response to the Branch Proposed Discovery Plan) as a statistically reliable report and sell it to Judge Vance: Continue reading “New GAO report pulls juggling act from qui tam Olympics – puts Rigsby and Branch in the lead!”

Politics and devious stuff: Yep I can verify the people hate it

There are many times I really do not envy our US Representative Gene Taylor. On the coast we know Gene as a straight shooting guy that hangs his hat with the democrats while nationally Gene is known as a conservative southern democrat that represents one of the most conservative congressional districts in this country. It is an amazing feat considering he routinely wins re-election with 75 plus percent of the vote. He does that despite being stuck between the proverbial rock of modern-day progressive ideology and the hard place of being in a district populated by folks with a strong predisposition to vote republican. The voters are attracted to Gene because he is, as Steve would say, a man of the people in that he truly represents the folks in his district over special interests. That stance makes Gene enemies with the special interests in DC and occasionally that manifest itself in weird ways such as in an article published at Politico where a member of the house democratic caucus took a cheap shot at Gene instead of a hard look in the mirror and it is there we begin: (h/t Alan Lange)

Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano kicked things off by telling colleagues that health care reform wasn’t the only reason Democrat Martha Coakley, who beat him in the primary, lost the general election. Capuano said his party failed to explain to voters what the legislation means for average Americans, saying they should never have passed a 2,000-page bill.

“The health care bill is too complicated, and it looks like too many backroom deals,” Capuano said in an interview with POLITICO. “We need to do a much better job explaining what we are trying to do.”

Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor got up after Capuano and said Congress should do a bill a week and have a pep rally, according to people present at the meeting. Continue reading “Politics and devious stuff: Yep I can verify the people hate it”

How about some Friday morning Jefferson Parish political corruption

This is our Friday morning twofer in the target rich environment that is Jefferson Parish political corruption scandal. First up lets backtrack to December to highlight what has become the current MO of the rats on top of the public purse scattering like cockroaches when the light is shine upon them, in this case former Parish President Tim Coulon:

Tim Coulon, the former Jefferson Parish president now caught up in an insurance scandal, has resigned his seat on the Superdome Commission, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office said.

“It is with deep regret that I tender my resignation in order to focus on other challenges I face,” Coulon wrote in a letter to Luke Letlow, the governor’s assistant on intergovernmental affairs.

Of course we now know the feds are looking at the Superdome Commission per our profile of Mr Coulon’s first employment stop after leaving office at the lobbying arm of the large law firm Adams and Reese. Evidently it didn’t take very long for the firm to understand they had a dog in Coulon who since moved on to the friendlier waters of the Jefferson Business Council as its executive director. It is from that position that he took a leave of absence yesterday as Times Picayune reporter Richard Rainey reports:

Amid a broadening political scandal in Jefferson Parish, former Parish President Tim Coulon took a temporary leave of absence Wednesday from his job as executive director of the Jefferson Business Council, Chairman Ric Smith said today. Continue reading “How about some Friday morning Jefferson Parish political corruption”