Folks Team Magnum, in what I can only describe as an April fools joke, filed an Answer and Reconventional Demand in the suit involving his brother and other former partners at the firm of Gauthier Houghtaling & Williams who left the firm I’m told because of the massive conflict of interests Team Magnum has playing both sides against the middle representing clients against BP while simultaneously representing BP.
The answer contains all the stock denials that one would expect in the early stages of a lawsuit but Team Magnum is taking this a step further with their Reconventional Demand on page 13 of the pdf I linked above. In paragraph 145 Magnum essentially admits to his blatant conflict of interest involving BP while he centers his attack against his former partners making allegations of client poaching that really have no context absent the conflict of interest involving Houghtaling’s company Ocean Therapy Solutions doing business with BP while he trolled for clients to sue BP and Magnum’s lust to sign a legal representation contract with BP. Let’s revisit a the key point in paragraph 145 and compare to the contemporary news report we featured back in June 2010 from Fox 8:
While Huber, Slack, Brian Houghtaling, Pandit and Thomas were encouraged to generate new business for the firm (with GHW providing reimbursement of travel and entertainment expenses incurred in those efforts), GHW provided Huber, Slack, Brian Houghtaling, Pandit and Thomas with a full caseload of work through cases generated by GHW’s two principals, John Houghtaling and James Williams, and GHW’s extensive advertising through television, radio and print media (the expense, for all of which were paid by GHW).
Fair enough, Magnum admits he controlled the advertising and provided clients outside of the efforts of his former partners. Now we have this from Val Bracy’s report on Gauthier Houghtaling and Williams circa June 2010:
A spokesperson for Houghtaling says the law firm started advertising for clients before he invested in Costner’s project and that the firm is following all rules related to disclosing potential conflicts.
Houghtaling has taken a leave of absence.
It’s not clear whether he will be paid during the leave.
Law firm partners typically make money from every case the firm handles.
The firm says it has not yet filed any suits against BP.
A representative for BP said he wasn’t aware of Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams’ effort to recruit clients but that he would look into it.
Val’s video report was set on I-10 below a Gauthier Houghtaling and Williams billboard advertising for clients to sue BP. I am not sure what representative for BP spoke with Val but surely it was not Mark Holstein in BP’s legal department as sources tell me that Holstein did indeed later sign a contract with Team Magnum for legal representation for BP. Turns out GHW’s of counsel Eric O’Bell was filing a class action suit against BP on June 8, 2010 while Team Magnum was trolling for clients via their I-10 billboard and among other considerable advertising efforts.
This brings up other questions as we have evidence that BP knew as early as June 2010 that Magnum was advertising for clients to sue them and it is important to note that the Greenfield et al v. BP P.L.C. class actions against them had already been filed. So why would they hire them?
The answer is simple folks, we already saw this play out in the Porteous impeachment case where the flies that had influence with Porteous like his former law partners Creeley and Amato were able to gin all sorts of work from those who perceived hiring them would gain a litigation advantage with the disgraced former judge and that in turn spurred others to hire council like Don Gardner and Joseph Mole to counteract the fix by putting in a fix of their own.
Magnum manages the finances of the political campaigns for virtually every judge in the 24th JDC and Louisiana state 5th Circuit court of appeals and that does not count the fundraisers for two-faced politicians like Miss Piggy Mary Landrieu, Bobby Jindal and Billy Nungesser. And it should be lost on no one that Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell was the deal clincher for Magnum to sell those useless Kevin Costner Oil Water separators to BP in what strongly resembles a classic shakedown. For BP this situation is a win-win as the obvious conflicts on interest will ultimately sideline Magnum in suits involving BP at worst taking him out of the game.
Unfortunately there are winners and losers in this story and in my mind’s eye the biggest losers are those folks that in good faith signed up with Gauthier Houghtaling and Williams and/or the O’Bell class action case because folks, you guys are truly fucked by having duplicitous, interest conflicted legal representation.
As always stay tuned because the more the lawsuits involving Magnum’s former partners drag on, the more turds that float to the surface as Magnum’s version of Mutually Assured Destruction continues.