5th Circuit plays Grinch to $21M Levee Board settlement UPATED

“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags” – and, thus far, all that can be found is this brief mention in the Sun Herald.

A federal appeals court has rejected a $21 million settlement of Hurricane Katrina damage claims that some plaintiffs had complained was unfair.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. in New Orleans approved last year’s settlement of class-action lawsuits against three Louisiana levee boards and their insurer.

But a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the settlement isn’t fair because its proponents failed to show plaintiffs would benefit.

The Times Picayune, on the other hand,  is running $2.9 billion plan restores MR-GO’s environmental damage.  A coincidence, maybe?

The Army Corps of Engineers has unveiled a sweeping $2.9 billion plan to restore the environmental damage caused by the construction and operation of the now-closed Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, which includes a new freshwater diversion near Violet; restoration of cypress swamp in wetlands adjacent to the Lower 9th Ward, Algiers and Chalmette; protection of shorelines along the eastern New Orleans land bridge; and restoration or nourishment of wetlands along Lake Borgne.

Ashton, is that you I hear saying, “I told you so!”?

UPDATE:  As of mid-morning (naturally, after I checked), the  TP is running Appeals court rejects $21 million Hurricane Katrina settlement

Joseph Bruno, one of the lawyers who helped broker the settlement, expressed confidence that the deal can be reworked to satisfy the 5th Circuit’s objections.

“We are absolutely going back to the drawing board,” he said. “The only alternative is to give the money back to the insurance company and let them keep it. What’s the benefit of that?”

30 thoughts on “5th Circuit plays Grinch to $21M Levee Board settlement UPATED”

  1. Thank you, Nowdy, and SLABBED for exposing this FRAUD and CORRUPTION. On or about March 12, 2009, after my disbarment for calling Duval-Daley-Fayard and his “croney” plaintiff-lawyer friends CROOKED, I filed a 30 paragraph “Objections to the Proposed Corrupt and Fraudulent Settlement with the Levee Boards”. Let me address the main points, all of which had previously been brought to the attention of “Lance Africk”, who Duval-Daley-Fayard had annointed to do his bidding in the case, ie. “Take care of my buddy, Calvin Fayard”, and who FAILED MISERABLY to do “the right thing”. Lance, you’re as DIRTY as Duval-Daley-Fayard, you scum-bag! More than a year prior to March 2009, I had warned Africk, in writing, on numerous occasions, that this settlement proposal was CORRUPT and FRAUDULENT, and calculated primarily to benefit Duval’s “close personal friend of long-standing Calvin Fayard. No one believed me. I also asserted that many of the plaintiffs’ lawyers who had negotiated the settlement, and who stood to benefit, including Fayard, had secretly represented the State, which presented them with a clear conflict of interests, since the levee boards were political subdivisions of the State. I also averred that it was for that reason that these “plaintiffs’ lawyers” had failed to vigorously pursue claims against the State or against the levee boards. This was REPREHENSIBLE behavior. They also failed to address the potential liability of the State for “under-insured” levee boards, and for lack of oversight of the levee boards’ Engineering Departments, which was the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, a State agency and instrumentality. My written OBJECTIONS to the corrupt and fraudulent levee board settlement also addressed the fact that the lawyers who were proposing it (who were the ONLY people who would see a penny of the $21 million) had allowed the assets of the levee boards to be looted by the State, post-KATRINA, and failed to include in the available settlement fund the remaining assets of the levee boards, which are not insubstantial, including instead ONLY inadequate insurance proceeds of $21 million, which is absurd. The proper way to read the Fifth Circuit Opinion of December 16, 2010 is: Calvin, we’re not going to allow you and Joe Bruno, and all other scum-bags similarly situated, to STEAL this money. And for Stanwood and Lance: Boys, get your head out of your ass, unless you want to wind up like “G.T. Ortous”. YOU CAN’T FAVOR YOUR CRONIE FRIENDS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE LITIGANTS AND CLAIM YOU’RE FOLLOWING THE LAW. We’re ‘watching” you (and so am I). Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  2. Joe Bruno’s comment about allowing the insurance comapnies’ to just keep the money is as idiotic as the person uttering the words.

    Everybody who knows me knows that I am pro-plaintiff and pro-plaintiff’s attorney as I am one. I am also for big plaintiffs’ firms making big fees in class action law suits depending of course on what the class actually receives.

    In my opinion, Bruno, et. al. beleived this would slip by because they thought nobody would care what the affected homeowners received in light of flood, homeowner’s insurance and Road Home payments. Whatever was gained from the levee board suits would be gravy with Bruno, et. al. eating the spaghetti.

    I truly believe the 5th Circuit has a derth of competent jurists, but they got this one right.

    By the way, Ashton’s boy Lemelle was one of the 4 judge recommended to replace Weimer on the 5th Circus. The others were Sarah Vance (not bad), Alton Johnson (death knell for plaintiffs involved with insurance issues/this guy is considered an “expert” in insurance issues but consistently whores himself out to insurance companies) and a guy from the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the last name “Higginson”. In my opinion its a no brainer— Vance should be the pick.

    It is beyond me that an incompetent like Lemelle can (a) get appointed to the federal bench and (b) get nominated to the 5th Circuit.

  3. To Nowdy and NRB: I neglected to pay homage to the lawyer who won this battle “for the good guys”, namely Jim Irwin of The Milling Firm. Jim picked up the standard after his partner, William Gamble, died and after I was disbarred by Lemelle. That man Lemelle is a clear and present danger to the constitution and laws of the United States. He’s where he is today ONLY by virtue of his skin color. I aver that he is LAZY, STUPID and CORRUPT, and I have made these charges in Open Court. As for “Stephen Higginson” of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (that’s right, he works for Jim – SPIT! – Letten – SPIT!), all I know about him is that (a) the definitive White House Report on Hurricane KATRINA, entitled: “The Federal Response to Hurricane KATRINA: Lessons Learned”, reports that Higginson “…immediately began handling a number of thorny legal issues that had arisen while at the same time performing twenty-four hour shifts at the bus station”, which makes it more likely than not that Higginson was at Camp Amtrak, along with a number of his colleagues, while I was being brutalized and tortured there, including being shot 12 times with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with beanbag rounds. There is no way Higginson, if he was there, can say he didn’t know what “the goons” were doing to me. (b) Higginson is a signatory on the Government’s Brief in their appeal of the dismissal of the criminal indictment against me for allegedly making a “threat” against unnamed and unidentifiable persons. The more I ponder all of this, the more I must conclude that there is indeed a “shadow group” which causes things to go a certain way in our judicial system. At least in the case of “the levee board settlement” their best-laid plans to “steal” a paltry sum of money anyway, went arwy, thanks to Jim Irwin. Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  4. Well, are they saying this settlement only benefited the lawyers? If so is this a case of Plattsmier asleep at the wheel, AGAIN? Does this add to Ashton

  5. This settlement and the fact it was approved by the district court judge is very troubling IMHO. If memory serves Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino actually filed ethics complaints in the aftermath of the tobacco settlement over a similar issue.

    Where are the watchdogs that bloviate on the levees incessantly, except seemingly when weathly uptown lawyers are involved?

    With the discussion focused on the COE I wonder how many locals with as much or more culpability skated?

    On this topic I have way more questions than answers.


  6. Yes, I to have many more questions than answers. Like Dick Chopin? Joe Mole? Serious fucking questions!

  7. To “bayoudegradable” and “SOP”: Bayou is “spot-on”, but no one other than Nowdy and SOP are reporting this SCANDAL. It’s really “worse” than it seems to be. I already know that the Judge who approved this corrupt and fraudulent settlement, Duval-Daley-Fayard, is as “crooked-as-a-snake”, and did so to benefit his “close personal friend of long-standing” by giving him money to which he was not entitled in order to reimburse his “out-of-pocket” costs during the past four (4) years. But there was another Federal Judge involved as well, namely “Lance Africk”, who is a “landsman” (for those of you who don’t know what that is, look it up). This self-righteous son-of-a-bitch – YES! I SAID IT: SON-OF-A-BITCH – presided over the settlement negotiations involving the levee board settlement FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, before making a recommendation to Duval-Daley-Fayard that the settlement should be approved, which was HORSESHIT, plain and simple. At the beginning of the negotiations before Africk I TOLD him, orally and in writing, on multiple occasions, that the negotiations were CORRUPT and FRAUDULENT. Africk’s response was to EXCLUDE me from the negotiations. There have been three (3) “watershed” moments in the “Victims of KATRINA” litigation in the past 5-plus years: (1) Caldwell’s firing Calvin Fayard, et al from representing the State on 10/09/08, which was a recognition of the conflict of interests by Fayard, et al; (2) The recent reinstatement of the claims against Washington Group International, Inc. in connection with the breaches on the East Bank of the Industrial Canal, between the Florida Avenue and Claiborne Avenue bridges; and (3) the setting aside of the corrupt and fraudulent levee board settlement. Ashton O’Dwyer already knows that Duval-Daley-Fayard is “crooked-as-a-snake”. I just don’t know what to make of Africk. Maybe other Members of “The SLABBED Nation” can tell me. But I know this: Stanwood and Lance would make great cellmates. Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  8. Ashton

    Who replaced Fayard when he was terminated? The Chopin firm or Usry firm? Was it some other ass wipe firm? Can you belive Chopin firn represents the AG!

  9. To Bayou: It was simply the Louisiana Department of “Injustice”, through Caldwell. But I’ve been out of touch “disbarred, disgraced, humiliated and embarrassed”) so I don’t know what may have happened lately. The State still has a claim for @ $200 million, but they may have reached some “accomodation” with the United States. Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  10. Ashton:

    Because what you say about Fayard’s state contract is very important, I want to help clarify a couple of facts so no one can later accuse you of fibbing.

    After you and the insurance companies filed motions to disqualify Fayard and others as counsel for the state, the court ultimately ruled that AG Caldwell notify the Division of Administration that by a date certain, DOA had to provide the court with written statement that the Fayard contract was legal and had been properly approved through the proper procedures. Failing that, the court would assume the contracts were invalid.

    After at least 1 extension of time requested by the AG, a motion to substitute counsel was filed by the AG which, in effect, terminated the alleged “contract”. In truth, that was an admission that the Fayard contract was not legal.

    That should have been enough for the court to discipline each attorney who held one of these campaign-finance-payback contracts, or at least the court should have referred the disciplinary action to the ODC. IMHO, the acquisition of such a “contract” was an attempt to violate the rules of professional conduct.

    But, my humble opinion don’t count for squat with the ODC.

    This past Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied my request for leave to appeal the decision by the Attorney Disciplinary Board to uphold the decision of the ODC to dismiss my ethical conduct complaint against Calvin Fayard.

    FYI – I was never provided with a copy of his response, nor was I ever allowed to submit a reply to anything he said or offered in response to the complaint.

    The reason I was given for not being allowed to review or reply to his response was because I was alleged “to be in litigation with Mr. Fayard”, and I might somehow gain an advantage in the phantom litigation. I say “phantom litigation” because I have never sued Calvin Fayard – ever. However, in July 2010, Fayard brought a bogus TRO action against me in front of Judge Haik that was ultimately dismissed by Judge Barbier once I got Judge Haik recused from the matter (slabbed carried a copy of my motion to recuse and affidavit last year).

    I believed in the system, and I let the system run its course. I did my best not to step out of line, and resisted sharing the information and documents with slabbed and the world while the system was doing its thing.

    Ashton, what I’m about to do next may get me thrown into a camp just like you were back during Katrina.

  11. To NAAS: In the immortal words of Yoggie Berra: “It’s de ja vu all over again!” I remember all of this. I just don’t have the timeline for “approval” from the DOA tied in to Caldwell’s firing these scoundrels on October 9, 2008 (they’ll say they weren’t “fired”, but that they voluntarily withdrew from the representation of the State). The “Illuminati” really did a number on you (and me), huh, NAAS? Be careful, because these people are EVIL. Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  12. NAAS:

    The ODC should know that’s not a legitimate position to take (can’t provide a response because it’s in litigation). Take a look at the disciplinary case involving Ivan David Warner and Steven Rando. I think it could help.

    1. I know this Sock, I don’t think we’ve ever seen the real reason them levees failed explored, at least not to my knowledge. There has be lots of attention focused on the bad engineering and that needed to be looked at but the bad engineeing does not exist in isolation.

      NAAS, we have your back. Nothing gets swept under the carpet here at Slabbed.


  13. Thank you Ashton, Sop and SP. I’m going to pull a couple of things together and, with Sop’s pre-review and permission, share some facts and actual documents regarding several matters that are obviously of interest and concern to the public.

    I’m going to tell the truth, and I’m going to be as accurate as I can possibly be. The truth is a good defense. If he sues me, I should not have a problem.

    Now that the disciplinary system has run its course on these matters, I no longer feel the need to bite my lip on information and documents relevant and responsive to concerns, questions, rumors, theories, and other discussion by the public; some dating back awhile.

  14. There are lots of skeletons in that In Re: Combustion closet. Nice memory for detail NAAS.

    Shifting gears, but along the same lines, word is that Magnum and Williams are now representing BP. Gauthier would truly spin in his grave. Maybe Supasleuth will return and tell us how proud Gauthier would be that his “son” is representing the worst corporate wrongdoer in recent history.

  15. To NAAS: There is another dimension to the conflict of interests posed by the likes of Calvin Fayard representing the interests of the State while simultaneously representing plaintiffs like newscaster “Norman Robinson”, and it revolves around a lawyer’s ethical obligation not to divide his loyalty in a simple tort case. This is easier, perhaps, for non-lawyer Members of “The SLABBED Nation” to understand, than esoteric “Road Home” conflicts of interests, which also contain yet another dimension: the involvement of the Federal Government, which funded Road Home.

    Anyway, before “the Illuminati” SHUT DOWN ALL OF MY LITIGATION, in retaliation for my drawing a bead on Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. who would make “G.T. Ortous” BLUSH, and Duval’s “close personal friend of long-standing” Calvin Fayard and those of his ilk (the result being that I was disbarred and driven into financial RUIN), my approach to the “Victims of KATRINA” litigation was very simple: If the Unites States of America was legally liable, then its purse was sufficiently large and deep to compensate everyone. However, suppose “the Supremes” (we’re not even “close” to getting there) rule that the United States is immune?

    If that were to happen, then who is the next deepest pocket? ANSWER: The State of Louisiana, of course. In order to hedge bets for my clients I sued the State and attempted to pursue the State very vigorously. However, I was thwarted at every turn by Duval who, in retrospect, was ruling in favor of the State time and time again “on-the-papers” IN ORDER TO BENEFIT FAYARD AND FAYARD’S “SECRET” CLIENT, THE STATE, WHICH DUVAL KNEW ABOUT.

    All of these issues were succinctly summarized in a Memorandum to James Gill of the Times Picayune dated in October 2007. Remarkably, what I laid out to Mr. Gill 3-years ago remains 100% accurate. Maybe SLABBED will publish it one day. Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  16. Sock:

    After approving approximately $43 million in fees for the Combustion lawyers in the Summer of 1997, Judge Haik literally dressed up as Santa Claus for our (Fayard law firm) Christmas party at Sullivan’s in Baton Rouge. He stayed dressed that way all night as several of us – Judge Haik, Fayard, Pat Juneau, Tuppy and so on – bar hopped around Baton Rouge.

    Speaking of BP, did you get an invitation to the “Last Supper” (that’s what it was actually called on the invitation) at Fayard’s St. Charles mansion to discuss the litigation?

  17. NAAS : Please continue with your info on the AG office of Louisiana and how the office is prostituted out by certain political cronies. They contribute to the AG’s campaign fund year after year for quid pro quo litigation agency status. All the state wide political corruption in the world doesn’t interest the office’s investigation I guess because there’s no pay day for the AG’s campaign fund. Foti also got off the political corruption track and prosecuted Dr. Pou for publicity however the frustrated public turned the tables and didn’t re-elect him. Steve Theriot failed to fire one corrupt employee in Jefferson yet he’s rewarded by a fat AG contract by another AG mainly interested in CFP, campaign fund prostitution. The public needs to do a “Foti” on the present AG next election for his selective and minimal prosecution of state wide political corruption and his continued obsession with CFP.

  18. And don’t forget the Office of “The Inspector General”, which is as big a CESSPOOL as the Louisiana Department of “Injustice”, now headed by Caldwell, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the State. What a fucking JOKE. Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  19. NAAS: RUKMe – 43 million and Santa only gets a few drinks. Santa needs to land on G.T. Porteous ‘s roof this X-mas to get some GretnaMentality cookies. That way he can get his sleigh and fence fixed plus some bags of Franklin-$100-sense from Wiseman Fayard.

  20. When it became apparent that Foti was not going to be in the run-off, the Fayard entities gave Caldwell the maximum contributions on October 29, 2007, and the Road Home contract stayed in place until October 2008 when their hand was forced to prove the legitimacy of the contracts.

  21. politiciansparadise at 12:43

    No comment; yet. I still have an ethical conduct complaint pending against Fayard. Do a search here on Slabbed for my motion to recuse Judge Haik and the supporting affidavit.

  22. AROD: Merry Christmas from James Gill who just wrote an editorial in the Times-Picayune today admitting that you correctly called the early shots on the prejudicial rulings of District Court ‘s Judge Duval for his political lawyer friends. Gill also declares you were kept for 16 hours in your torture chamber. This could be the beginning of blowing the top off the story of your illegal persecution for telling the truth about the status of the State and Federal conspiracy to shut you up. I wonder if the Slabbed comments at this post were read by Mr. Gill and he felt it was time to release some of the information you sent him in 2007. Here’s a toast to you and hoping this snowball keeps rolling downhill.

  23. Just some follow-up to my comments above about AG and DHH contracts and Calvin Fayard’s prior experiences with those.

    I mentioned the Rineheart case and a related case where Fayard, Loupe and others worked together as co-counsel. The cost and expense records in those cases have been designated as confidential by court order. But I think it

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