Judge rules LSU doesn’t have to immediately rehire van Heerden but will hold related hearing before then – go figure!

Two Jefferson Parish open records posts in one day must have shorted my circuits. I had to read Mark Schleifstein’s story twice after spotting it hanging from the Ladder. h/t Editilla

A federal judge in Baton Rouge has denied a request by research geologist and marine scientist Ivor van Heerden for a temporary restraining order to require Louisiana State University to rehire him when his one-year contract with the university expires on May 21.

But U.S. District Judge James Brady also agreed to hear a related motion on a preliminary injunction requiring LSU to rehire van Heerden on May 19, following a telephone conference this morning with attorneys representing van Heerden and LSU.

Van Heerden contends he is being fired for his role as a whistleblower in publicly saying the Army Corps of Engineers was at fault for levee failures that caused flooding of much of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

In court papers filed Monday challenging the temporary restraining order request, LSU officials said van Heerden’s firing was not related to his critiques of the corps, and was allowed under university policies.

In other words, the Judge decided not to impose a Temporary Restraining Order that would have prevented von Heerden’s May 21 termination but, on May 19, the Judge may decide to impose an injunction that would prevent LSU from terminating von Heerden.  According to an earlier Schleifstein story,  the May 19 hearing” will…decide if and when van  Heerden’s lawsuit against the university will go to court.  Schleifstein also provides an interesting background summary.

Van Heerden has contended that senior LSU officials attempted to muzzle him after those statements for fear of losing financial support from the corps for research.

But in Monday’s court filings, LSU officials say the decision not to rehire van Heerden was made Continue reading “Judge rules LSU doesn’t have to immediately rehire van Heerden but will hold related hearing before then – go figure!”

One less insurance problem – MID no longer has country-come-to-town website

If you have never searched tried to search for Katrina-related bulletins issued by the Mississippi Insurance Department, you won’t find the redesigned MID website big news.  I, on the other hand, have spend countless hours digging for documents on the old site and think it’s a major story.

Now that the Commission has an uptown website, he should be able to find all the documents he needs to get rates to start coming down.  Until then, if you’ve got a problem, you’ll find the   Complaint form at the top of the page.

View a screen shot of the new site is below the jump.h/t to the Commissioner and MID staff! Continue reading “One less insurance problem – MID no longer has country-come-to-town website”

More heat needed? SLABBED turns it up a notch in update on Jefferson Parish public records law proposal

Wouldn’t you know –  the Times Picayune published Public records law proposal in Jefferson losing momentum after SLABBED  posted Young at heart – well, not exactly, but… Jefferson Parish felt the heat, Young claims to have seen the light on Public Records – and it’s too big a story for an update.

Among the many things the powers that be in Parish government don’t seem to understand is that when you see the light after feeling the heat, you use it to reflect what’s right!  Obviously, it will take more heat, so let’s turn it up on interim Parish President Steve Theriot who seems oblivious to what the rest of us know.  Theriot is no buck-stops-here administrator (pun intended) and he’s not smart either or he wouldn’t try and hide behind the USA:

As news media requests for Jefferson Parish public records fueled almost daily disclosures about potential wrongdoing in former Parish President Aaron Broussard’s administration last winter, parish officials said they caught some flak from federal criminal investigators.

“They had issued subpoenas for the records, and I don’t think they were happy that some of the information became public before they had even seen it,” interim Parish President Steve Theriot said.

“Not happy”?  Did Theriot consider the reason? Nooooo! He came up with one to cover the concern (and no doubt some of his as well):

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten declined to weigh in on the issue. “We were not consulted on the legislation in question,” he said. “If we had been consulted, we would not have provided an opinion.”

Letten said any concerns his investigators raised with parish officials had to do with how quickly the parish responded to subpoenas, not the fact that the subpoenaed records were released to the news media under public records laws.

“When we issue subpoenas for records, we expect a timely response,” he said. “Beyond that, as we have previously stated to Jefferson Parish, we take no position formally or informally as to when or how the parish might provide those records to the press or anyone else who requests them.”

Sadly, it appears a torch wouldn’t be hot enough for Senator Martiny “get it”: Continue reading “More heat needed? SLABBED turns it up a notch in update on Jefferson Parish public records law proposal”

From the revolving door files I offer Leon C Buck Jr., former aide to Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. Welcome to Slabbed Leon.

One thing me and my main man Sam at the National Underwriter agree on is the need to put an end to the revolving door but it won’t happen before Leon Buck passes through.  Buck, a former aide to Houston Texas based US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee has gone to work for the dark side at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. This from his old e-mail account at the US House:

As of Friday, April 2 I will no longer be in the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. My new contact information will be as follows:

Leon C. Buck, Jr.
Assistant Vice President
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Continue reading “From the revolving door files I offer Leon C Buck Jr., former aide to Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. Welcome to Slabbed Leon.”

Young at heart – well, not exactly, but… Jefferson Parish felt the heat, Young claims to have seen the light on Public Records

Val Bracy had the story – Public records bill under fire from councilman – but,I’m not so certain Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young, or anyone on the Council for that matter,  really understands the concept of open government.  Young’s proposed resolution is a step in the right direction but it should not take heat for any elected official to see the light on open public records:

The Jefferson Parish council is expected to undo a controversial step it took at its last meeting. The council voted in favor of having the parish’s legislative delegation sponsor a bill that would make changes to state public records laws.

On Wednesday, Councilman John Young will introduce a resolution rescinding the council’s support.

“I think there was some communication and some misinformation. Obviously, it was our understanding, or my understanding, that the US Attorney had a problem with the grand jury subpoenas. I’ve since learned that that’s not a problem,” said Young.

While Young “makes nice”, Senator Danny Martiny offers an excuse that only a Parish-puppet would let come out of his mouth: Continue reading “Young at heart – well, not exactly, but… Jefferson Parish felt the heat, Young claims to have seen the light on Public Records”

Liberty Mutual accepts “responsibility” – a lot more than the Company thought!

Courtesy of Mr Liberty Mutual: http://mrlibertymutual.com/

The best place to hide a needle is in a haystack of needles – and, at the moment, there’s no bigger haystack of needles than the docket of the Branch Consultants qui tam case   The Branch defendant insurers file a single motion as a group and, then, some or all file essentially the same motion separately.  The result is the eye-crossing, mind-boggling docket that confused Magistrate Shushan to the point she thought she’d developed an enlightened perspective on the USSC Rockwell decision.

Rather than similarly embarrass myself, it seemed better to hold motions until all parties had filed – but that was before a thoughtful reader sent me the link to Liberty Mutual’s “Responsibility Project” website and I clicked on the Company’s list entitled “How Liberty Mutual is Responsible” and found the most incredible statement – “Liberty Mutual is all about doing the right thing. First and foremost for our policyholders, but also for our employees and our communities as well”.

Of course, if that were true, there would be no reason for the full-time staff member to monitor Liberty Mutual’s “wrongful claims practices” at Merlin Law! While the Company touts its commitment to “NCAA football coaches each year who embody sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility, and excellence”, it does not “walk the talk” in its own claims handling practices according to the 150,000 documents Merlin has collected and is willing to share. Continue reading “Liberty Mutual accepts “responsibility” – a lot more than the Company thought!”

Mississippi Law Journal publishes “…Rendered far too late” – Chip Merlin on Corban v USAA

To understand the significance of the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision in Corban v. USAA, it is necessary to consider the financial devastation and unnecessary insurance coverage litigation caused by the absence of it during the four years from the date Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi’s gulf coast.

Merlin’s lead grabbed my attention as did his page one footnote referencing SLABBED:

The obliterated structures have been termed by those in Mississippi’s gulf coast “slabbed,” as there was literally nothing but a slab left where homes and businesses once stood. Slabbed is also the name of a blog that has chronicled the reconstruction efforts and struggles with the insurance industry along the way. For more on this topic and stories behind the Katrina litigation, see http://www.slabbed.org.

Since Merlin’s blog provides what he calls the “Reader’s Digest version” of his article for the Mississippi Law Journal, SLABBED moves from his lead to the references to Bossier v State Farm and Robohm v State Farm in his Conclusion: (emphasis added)

While the Corban decision made it clear that insurers cannot use the ACC and wind/water protocol to evade their burdens under an all-risk policy, State Farm’s trial motions show that it is still using both to deny claims. One month after Corban was released, State Farm tried to shirk its obligations with a tortured interpretation of Continue reading “Mississippi Law Journal publishes “…Rendered far too late” – Chip Merlin on Corban v USAA”