WWL reports “New JP vendors linked to Whitmer”

One last read- around the media linked on SLABBED before calling it a day turned up the WWL story New JP Vendors linked to Whitmer.

In the weeks and months since former Jefferson Parish CAO Tim Whitmer resigned, federal and state investigators have been pouring over his documents and computer files.  Whitmer left his job in January. Records revealed that his private insurance company, Lagniappe Industries and his associates were doing business with parish contractors and vendors.

Interim Parish President Steve Theriot told Eyewitness News, information just surfaced, linking another handful of companies to Whitmer through another insurance company the THT Group. THT is the partnership between Whitmer, former Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon and the late Maurice “Hippo” Katz..

“We had about five or six of those who procured their insurance from a vendor not related to them, but unbeknownst to them their commissions were being shared to THT,” said Theriot.

Theriot says the new names came from Whitmer’s computer which was seized by investigators. “On Mr. Whitmer’s computer there was information about THT which I guess Lagniappe was doing business as THT that names of companies who had not previously been disclosed were being recorded as having commissions earned,” said Theriot.

The parish council has already terminated some contracts with companies that “knowingly” bought insurance policies from Whitmer’s companies.  Theriot says that may not be the case with the vendors that recently turned up on Whitmer’s computer.  “They’d done business with another company who in turn was giving commissions to THT,” said Theriot. “The person who bought the policy has no knowledge of it.”

Theriot would not reveal the names of the vendors or the company splitting commissions with THT.

View the video and read the rest of the story at WWLTV.com.

Lafayette Advertiser took “Hard look at insurance” without hard look at facts – editorial is truly sad

On top of the misleading headline in the Shreveport Times, the Lafayette Advertiser has taken a “Hard look at insurance” without a hard look at facts.  Obviously, insurance legislation introduced in this session of the Louisiana Legislature is tort reform in disguise.

The upcoming Louisiana legislative session is a general-purpose one, not restricted to taxes and other fiscal matters. So, typically, the Legislature will take on every topic imaginable.

We’re glad one of those topics is insurance, the subject for an upcoming series of hearings by a joint legislative committee. Something is clearly wrong with our system, especially where homeowners insurance is concerned. The best look would come from the broadest field of view — the kind you get without ideological blinders.

From this lofty perch, the Advertiser’s Editorial (con)descends to reach a conclusion that defies both logic and fact – and, as if the combination of logically fallacies and an out-and-out lie were not sufficient cause for outrage, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put:

We hope the committee will look for solutions everywhere logic might lead, from more and more effective regulation — preferably in concert with other Gulf Coast states — to tort reform, which seems to have had a calming effect on rates in Mississippi ($802).

Without a stable, affordable homeowners insurance market, South Louisiana has no future worth hoping for.

SLABBED published Go figure! Mississippi has nation’s seventh-most-expensive homeowners insurance… on the 4th of January and the accompanying table showed the average premium in Continue reading “Lafayette Advertiser took “Hard look at insurance” without hard look at facts – editorial is truly sad”

Branch files Appeal of Magistrate’s Order

“No wonder you’re late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow.”

SLABBED reported the Magistrate’s Order in Shall we dance?…, a post that focused on what the Branch plaintiffs argue was the Magistrate’s “flawed construction” of a “Loss Shifting” and “Inflated Revenue” dichotomy.   In Branch’s Motion for Appeal of Magistrate’s Order, however, the Plaintiffs lead with the suggestion the Magistrate’s watch, like that of the March Hare, was running “exactly two days slow” as “There Was No Undue Delay” and, therefore, “There Is No Undue Prejudice”:

The sole basis for the Magistrate Judge’s denial of leave to add the allegations concerning adjusting fees is that Defendants would be “unduly prejudiced” by Branch’s “undue delay.” Order at 18-19. The record does not support such a finding, and the Magistrate Judge’s ruling is clear error for at least three reasons. First, there was no undue delay… Accordingly, “it cannot be said that plaintiff’s motion as a product of bad faith, dilatory motive or undue delay when plaintiff satisfied the deadline set forth in the Court’s new Scheduling Order.” Mendoza v. City of New Orleans, 2007…

Second, the Magistrate Judge’s conclusion that there would be undue prejudice is clear error because Branch filed its Motion for Leave at the very beginning of discovery… Branch is aware of no case finding undue prejudice under such circumstances…Third, the Order should be reversed because it narrowly construes the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) in a manner that disposes of Branch’s claims based on properties for which the homeowners carrier and the WYO carrier are not identical.

As this Court recognized, Branch “pleaded the existence of a broad scheme to defraud the government” following Hurricane Katrina. Departing from this ruling, the Magistrate Judge concluded that there are two “entirely different schemes,” the “loss shifting” scheme and the “inflated revenue” scheme, and held that Branch’s allegations encompass only the “loss shifting” scheme. (citations omitted, emphasis added)

In a related post, “It’s the same old song But with a different meaning”… , SLABBED pointed out the Defendants’ strategy is to word their briefs in a way that attempts to put the Magistrate “in a box” when she issues Orders in the case.  The Appeal demonstrates it was this strategic boxing that resulted in the Magistrate seeing the “broad scheme” as “two ‘entirely different'” schemes: Continue reading “Branch files Appeal of Magistrate’s Order”