Nowdy covered the civil cases related to the political prosecution of former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz back when she was active here on Slabbed and it pairs up well with a topic I’ve covered in Jefferson Parish in the suit filed by Anne Marie Vandenweghe against the Parish and former interim Parish President Steve TheRiot. I noted some recent news in Lampton that has implications for the suit against the Parish as we again find the law firm of Phelps Dunbar in an interest conflicted situation. I’ll begin with the Sun Herald’s Anita Lee:
Dunn Lampton, now deceased, then took the tax records of Diaz and his wife, Jennifer Diaz, to the Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission. Leslie Lampton was a commission member at the time and was part of an investigation involving the tax records, which ended without action in December 2008.
A 5th Circuit panel already has ruled Dunn Lampton was not immune from a lawsuit because he was acting outside the scope of his official duties as U.S. attorney when he turned over the tax records to the commission.
A trial judge had ruled neither Dunn Lampton nor Leslie Lampton was immune from a lawsuit.
I mention this because Phelps Dunbar is evidently representing both the Parish and former interim Parish President Steve Theriot. You see folks, one of the defenses the Parish aka The Taxpaying Public has is arguing that TheRiot was acting outside the scope of his official duties trying to silence a whistleblower, especially since as CEO I’d argue he had a fiduciary duty to do about the opposite. After all why should the taxpayer get stuck for the TheRiot carrying River Birch Landfill’s water? If the Parish waived the conflict by using one law firm, then I’d add Team Young has not looked at for the taxpaying public by doing so.
Now this does not mean the Parish is wrong paying for his legal counsel as that may be dictated by the terms of his employment agreement etc. That said the Parish likely also has basis for recovery there if they can show TheRiot acted outside the scope of his official duties in his treatment of AMV.
This case is very young as we’re still in the single digits for PACER document numbers. We’ll be having more on both cases down the line.