A man can not serve two masters: A pair of stories to illustrate the point.

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.


12 thoughts on “A man can not serve two masters: A pair of stories to illustrate the point.”

    Reid Alan Cox, Of Counsel Jan Witold Baran
    Renee L. Giachino, Of Counsel Thomas W. Kirby*
    Caleb P. Burns
    113 South Columbus Street WILEY, REIN & FIELDING
    Suite 310 1776 K Street, NW
    Alexandria, VA 22314 Washington, DC 20006
    Telephone: (202) 719-7000

    Harry Rosenberg *Lead Counsel
    Christopher K. Ralston
    365 Canal Street, Suite 2000
    New Orleans, LA 70130-6534
    Telephone: (504) 566-1311

    "The Center for Individual Freedom is an Alexandria, Virginia based U.S. lobbyist and policy advocacy organization founded on the principle of securing individual freedoms as embodied in the United States Constitution and state constitutions. It was founded in 1998 and tends to focus on neoconservative and Republican/libertarian[citation needed] values."

    "Center for Individual Freedom

    Center for Individual Freedom has reported spending a total of $2,519,788 on independent campaigning through October 2010, with 100% benefiting Republican candidates."

    1. The Center for Individual Freedom, represented by:
    Jan Witold Baran, Esq., Wiley, Rein & Fielding
    Thomas W. Kirby, Esq., Wiley, Rein & Fielding
    Caleb P. Burns, Esq., Wiley, Rein & Fielding
    Reid Alan Cox, Esq., Center for Individual Freedom
    Renee L. Giachino, Esq., Center for Individual Freedom
    Christopher K. Ralston, Esq., Phelps Dunbar, LLP
    Harry Rosenberg, Esq., Phelps Dunbar, LLP
    Mary Ellen Roy, Esq., Phelps Dunbar, LLP

    2. The State of Louisiana; Paul J. Carmouche, District Attorney, 1st Judicial
    District; Robert Roland, Chairman, T.O. Perry, Jr., Vice-Chairman, John W.
    Greene, E.L. Guidry, Jr., R.L. Hargrove, Jr., Michael J. Kantrow, Sr., Joseph
    Maselli, Henry C. Perrett, Jr., Ascension Delgado Smith, Dolores Spikes,
    Edwin O. Ware, III, of the Louisiana Board of Ethics and the Supervisory
    Committee for Campaign Finance, represented by:
    Raymond Gray Sexton, Esq., Louisiana Board of Ethics and its individual
    Charles H. Braud, Esq., Office of the Attorney General
    Harry Rosenberg

  2. Let me cut to the chase—Phelps Dunbar has attacked the Louisiana Ethics laws for the sole purpose of taking over the judical branch of government in the state. More on this later…

  3. Group funding GOP campaigns had its origins backing tobacco

    Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida is the target of attack ads paid for by the Center for Individual Freedom, founded in 1998 to counter restrictions on smoking.

    October 24, 2010|By Kim Geiger and Tom Hamburger, Tribune Washington Bureau

    Reporting from Tallahassee, Fla. — Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida has marshaled some key advantages for his seventh reelection race: He has outraised his GOP opponent, and has the rare distinction of being a Democrat endorsed by both the National Rifle Assn. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    But Boyd also voted in favor of the healthcare overhaul this year, and like other Democratic incumbents now faces a barrage of attacks by little-known conservative groups funded by anonymous donors.

    The latest came last week from an organization called the Center for Individual Freedom, created more than a decade ago by former tobacco industry executives who sought to counter government restrictions on smoking.

    Now headquartered in the top floor of a townhouse in Alexandria, Va., the center recently launched more than $2 million worth of ads in the districts of nine vulnerable Democrats, including Boyd, with more possible in coming days.

    The group is no longer associated with tobacco or smoking.

  4. Lets make it clear this is a battle for power and control of Government by business. IE facism. Not the libertarian defender of freedom they present themselves to be—"Founded in 1998, the Center for Individual Freedom is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with the mission to protect and defend individual freedoms and individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

    "Group funding GOP campaigns had its origins backing tobacco

    Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida is the target of attack ads paid for by the Center for Individual Freedom, founded in 1998 to counter restrictions on smoking."


    Victims Deserve Justice; Trial Lawyer Gravy Traingravy train
    n. Slang
    An occupation or other source of income that requires little effort while yielding considerable profit.

    gravy train

    ….. Click the link for more information. Should End, Group Says

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 2 /PRNewswire/ — The Center for Individual Freedom today called on Members of Congress to support the concept of asbestos asbestos, mineral
    asbestos, common name for any of a variety of silicate minerals within the amphibole and serpentine groups that are fibrous in structure and more or less resistant to acid and fire. victims' compensation fund.

    "Victims of asbestos exposure too often find themselves suffering, not only from illness, but also at the hands of the court system," said Marshall Manson, the Center's Senior Vice President of Public AffairsThose public information, command information, and community relations activities directed toward both the external and internal publics with interest in the Department of Defense. Also called PA. See also command information; community relations; public information.
    ….. Click the link for more information.. "Far too many asbestos victims will never receive fair compensation if Congress does not act swiftly to adopt a trust fund and ensure that those legitimately harmed by asbestos exposure find justice."

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    The group pointed out that a study by the RAND Institute found that the weight of asbestos lawsuits is a $200 billion drain on the economy. Already more than $70 billion has been spent on claims, but only 43 percent of that total has gone to victims. The bulk of the remaining 57 percent has gone in the already deep pockets of lawyers.

    "We must ensure that the money spent on asbestos claims actually goes to real victims. It's time to end the trial lawyers' asbestos gravy train. A trust fund will do just that," Manson said. "To be sure, the current bill is not perfect, but it is an outstanding first step. Congress should move forward."

    The Center for Individual Freedom has sent a letter to Congress urging them to support a trust fund solution to the asbestos litigationAn action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.

    When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation.
    ….. Click the link for more information. crisis.

    The Center for Individual Freedom (http://www.cfif.org/) is a non-profit, non-partisan constitutional advocacy organization. CFIF engages on a wide range of issues including legal reform.

    CONTACT: Marshall Manson of the Center for Individual Freedom, +1-703-535-5836

    Web site: http://www.cfif.org/

  5. Of course this push by business groups lead to the unexpected windfall—

    WASHINGTON — Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

    The 5-to-4 decision was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy.

    The ruling represented a sharp doctrinal shift, and it will have major political and practical consequences.

  6. Knowing that I am not politically correct, I always strive to be morally correct:

    Watching Ken Burn’s documentary on PBS, The Statue of Liberty, so may years ago, I can remember vividly to this day, James Baldwin’s eloquent and rather chilling quote in response to the narrator’s’s question concerning his opinion of slavery today. With the Statue of Liberty looming in the background, Mr. Baldwin let go the arrow of truth, and I paraphrase.


    Now show the first five minutes of the Ken Burns film The Statue of Liberty, stopping at the end of the James Baldwin interview. http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/statueofliberty/

    The ‘double en tant’ of this post, A Man Cannot Serve Two Masters, I find to be ironically disturbing as it concerns Ms. Kim Boyles, a partner in the Phelps,Dunbar Law Firm. That Ms. Boyles, a female Afro-American, who has been honored as a distinguished professional, has chosen to play an active role in representing these Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso in “defending the indefensible” in matters such as the infamous racist ‘noose and whip’ Lee case and the ‘sexist vengence and harassment’ case of AMV … gives one pause to reflect upon the meaning of Mr. Balwin’s words…

    That the immorality of slavery in the past and in the present has remained a constant … it’s all about the money !!!

  7. I

    Problems from the King vs Phelps Dunbar case I see—

    "Considering the basis for applying the continuing violation doctrine in the employment
    context, and after evaluating the record evidence as it currently exists, I agree that King’s
    discrimination claim should survive a prescription exception at this stage."

    "According to Mr. King’s pleadings, most cases in the tort and insurance section were tried before predominately African-American jurors in the Civil District Court for Orleans Parish and Defendant wanted him to be the firm’s black face in that venue."


    Plaintiff, Danatus Norman King is an African-American attorney who was employed by
    Defendant, Phelps Dunbar, L.L.C., as an associate in the commercial litigation section from 1990 to 1995. While in the commercial litigation section, he was supervised by the individual
    defendants, Roy Cheatwood, Harry Rosenberg, and Danny Shaw. Mr. King alleges that he was assigned to work on the files of Defendant’s African-American clients and that he was asked to transfer to the tort and insurance section of the firm because of his race. According to Mr. King’s pleadings, most cases in the tort and insurance section were tried before predominately African-American jurors in the Civil District Court for Orleans Parish and Defendant wanted him to be the firm’s black face in that venue. He also alleges that the transfer request was prompted by pressure on the Defendant from the New Orleans Aviation Board’s general counsel to hire African-American attorneys for the tort and insurance section and have those attorneys work Aviation Board files. Mr. King claims that his refusal to be transferred led to a hostile work environment and retaliatory tactics such as unwarranted criticism of his work, refusal to grant work assignments to him, and accusations of his being too sensitive to racial matters. Mr. King alleges that the refusal to grant work assignments caused him to beg for assignments from other associates, even junior associates, and had an adverse effect upon his income because he was unable to bill hours


  8. Phelps Dunbar Attorney Named “Outstanding Person”

    "Her employment practice includes representing employers in employment related claims, such as retaliation and discrimination claims as well as workplace harassment."
    From Phelps Dunbar website.


    Ms. Kim Boyles, a partner in the Phelps,Dunbar Law Firm. That Ms. Boyles, a female Afro-American, who has been honored as a distinguished professional, has chosen to play an active role in representing these Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso in “defending the indefensible” in matters such as the infamous racist ‘noose and whip’
    From Whitmergate post.

    I think King did better leaving Phelps Dunbar no matter what the future held for him. If this is the same person I'd say the future has been good to him.


    I suggest that the lawyers for Phelps, Dunbar failed it’s obligation to perform ‘due diligence’ in it’s purported representation of the client they were retained to act on behalf of … namely the TAXPAYERS and CITIZENS of Jefferson Parish, AND NOT, the Council Members and/or Parish President who selected Phelps, Dunbar !

    Considering that the thrust of Ms. Vandenweghe’s Whistlebler Claims, both original and amended as filed with the JP Personnel Board, contained allegations of wrong doing on all levels of Parish Government … allegations which have become the foundation of an on going Federal Investigation known as ‘The Jefferson Parish Scandals” … truthful statements of fact which have been further substantiated by the La. Legislative Auditor … what was Phelps, Dundar’s ethical duty under these circumstances ?

    FIRST … to identify who was IN FACT their client ? In this endeavor, Phelps, Dunbar failed miserably … instead of performing a due diligence investigation of the allegations documented by AMV, the members of this firm chose to collude with the very political thugs whose desire it was to cover up these wrong doings and thus protect themselves … it is of course these same political thugs who voted to hire Phelps, Dunbar and continue to vote to pay their exorbitant legal fees …

    SECONDLY … a) the lawyers for Phelps, Dunbar’s unethical and seemingly unconscionable conduct in it’s Slapp Tactics employed against AMV… b) and what could be described as an act of malpractice, the filing of that ridiculous blogasphere lawsuit, a blatant act of harassment directed toward AMV … c) and the unprofessional and unethical references by Kim Boyle alluding to some imagined future breach of AMV’s duty to her client during the course of AMV’s lawsuit to get her public records. A lawsuit which I may add, was successfuly appealed, having the La.Supreme Court deny writs affirming the La Court 5th Circuit Court’s 3-0 decision reversing the home cooked BS ruling of the GretnaMentality poster boy, Ross LaDart against AMV … d) and lest I forget Phelps, Dunbar’s obvious and arrogant conflict of interest in representing Jefferson Parish in the first instance in the Public Records lawsuit as previously referenced in paragraph c.

    I would bet there are a litany of other instances of Phelps, Dunbar’s unethical and questionable conduct … however I haven’t been privy to discussions in that ‘den of inequity’ these Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso call an “executive session” !!!


    Rule 1.3. Diligence

    A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

    The Louisiana Supreme Court readopted this rule on January 2, 2004. It became effective on March 1, 2004, and has not been amended since. This rule is identical to ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3 (2002).

    Comments to ABA Model Rule 1.3
    [1] A lawyer should pursue a matter on behalf of a client despite opposition, obstruction or personal inconvenience to the lawyer, and take whatever lawful and ethical measures are required to vindicate a client’s cause or endeavor. A lawyer must also act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client’s behalf. A lawyer is not bound, however, to press for every advantage that might be realized for a client. For example, a lawyer may have authority to exercise professional discretion in determining the means by which a matter should be pursued. See Rule 1.2. The lawyer’s duty to act with reasonable diligence does not require the use of offensive tactics or preclude the treating of all persons involved in the legal process with courtesy and respect.

    The Louisiana Supreme Court has held that the "baseline sanction" for lack of diligence, neglect of matters and failure to communicate is "suspension from the practice of law." See In re Phelps, 827 So. 2d 1140, 1143 (La. 2002).*]

    For these Political Thugs on the JP Council to continue to retain Phelps, Dunbar to allegedly represent the best interests of the taxpayers and citizens of Jefferson Parish, THE CLIENT, is just pure abuse of power coupled with criminal malfeasance by these same elected officials.

    One day the law firm of Phelps,Dunbar, and those lawyers of the firm individually who have participated in this travesty of justice directed toward Ms. Vandenweghe, and all the taxpayers and citizens Jefferson Parish, will be made to account …

  10. We have a resident prophet … and I quote from his preceding comment:

    November 5, 2011 7:50 am

    Let me cut to the chase—Phelps Dunbar has attacked the Louisiana Ethics laws for the sole purpose of taking over the judical branch of government in the state. More on this later…”

    Ms. Morgan is a partner in the law firm of Phlips, Dungbar … and ethically challenged she is …

    Federal court nomination of Susie Morgan to get more consideration
    Published: Saturday, November 05, 2011, 1:30 PM
    By Times-Picayune Staff http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/11/fe

    Really … who are these people?

  11. "The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”

    This seems like a logical choice for information concerning historical or current race based issues organizations may hold. To answer an objective question with a subjective response may be good lawyering but it poor judgment—when it is the US Congress asking the questions. Don't expect Congress to have to do the due diligence about your past which they specifically request you to conduct. Just my two cents.

    Here is the email address if it helps—

    [email protected]

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