Menage a Frois law Firm Baker Donelson again exhibits blatantly unethical courtroom behavior a what else is new update

I’ve been sitting on some very nice legal briefs out of Lafayette Parish  for a few weeks now regarding a pair of highly unethical lawyers in Baker Donelson partner Monico Frois and her insurance defense sidekick Daniel Brenner with the firm of Bolen, Parker, Brenner, Lee & Gremillion out of Alexandria.

This post will highlight their shameful conduct in Landry v PSA of Lafayette but to set up Baker Donelson, I’ll first remind our readers they landed on our radar screen when Deputy Mississippi Insurance Commish Lee Harrell left MID and went to work there. The revolving door in the insurance biz is nothing unusual but Harrell took brazen to another level as Baker Donelson counts State Farm as a client and before he left MID Harrell whitewashed the Market Conduct Study untaken by MID against State Farm for their shameful claims practices in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina before collecting his payoff for same via Baker Donelson’s Jackson Mississippi office.

Through time I collected a few tidbits on Baker Donelson ethical sleazery so their latest bit of jackassery came as no surprise.  Following the insurance litigation indicated to me a sizable segment of the insurance defense bar could not win a case unless corners were cut and sadly there are plenty of lazy judges that allow all manner of underhanded tactics simply so cases move off their dockets.  Federal Judges in particular have a reputation for such laziness.

So I’ll set up Landry with a quote from a lawyer that has tangled with Baker Donelson’s Monica Frois to get a flavor of how she is viewed by her peers:

I’ve had cases with Monica Frois in the past. She’s a c–t and a world class cheater…….

So with that endorsement I eagerly dug into the 87 page transcript of the contempt hearing held in Lafayette in late September before 15th JDC Judge Edward Broussard in the case of Landry v PSA of Lafayette and indeed found unethical behavior that would make the Oxford Mississippi Insurance defense bar blush and that folks is saying something! The part where ol’ Monica claimed medical incapacitation due to a few pimples on her ass is simply priceless.  😉 In a highly unusual move, instead of finding Frois and Brenner guilty on multiple contempt charges Judge Broussard referred them to the Louisiana ODC. This is especially delicious because you find this blurb on Monica’s bio page at Baker Donelson:

Monica Frois is a shareholder in the Firm’s New Orleans office and concentrates her practice on health care matters as well as complex litigation, insurance coverage, legal ethics and professional responsibility litigation…….

While I’m highlighting Baker Donelson we’ve seen several firms mentioned time and again for practicing shithouse law.  For instance Ungarino and Eckert had a predilection for filing fraudulent removal motions, Adams and Reese has done more sleazy things than I can mention and keep this post semi short while Phelps Dunbar has never met a conflict of interest it failed to exploit. The lawyers I speak with continually name the same names over and over and it bears out in the news cycle. With that said this would not be a Ménage à Frois without another example of a major ethical lapse on Baker Donelson’s part and Slabbed’s case archives provided it in the case of Perfect Company v Essex Insurance et al.

In Perfect Company we find Baker Donelson paying fact witnesses (pdf page 5) and this is a huge no no as Lee Harrell no doubt would tell you.  You see a good bit was written about paying fact witnesses during Scruggs Mania, especially by insurance defense types shilling for State Farm at the time.  As a layman my point of view is a bit different as I never saw the point in attacking the non lawyer witnesses since few folks outside the legal profession understand why it is important fact witnesses not be bought.  Nope, in my mind the blame for such things squarely rests with the lawyers that should know better.

Organizationally one naturally wonders what causes a large organization to be ethically rudderless and the only thing I can think of is a win at all costs mentality coupled with judges that tolerate such crap.  This problem is not inherent to the proverbial large law firm either.  There are several “downtown firms” that never see the light of day on Slabbed because they do their jobs ethically and likely take the attitude that even if you bring your A game to the courthouse every time you occasionally lose one.

Most judges wouldn’t have the sack to refer partners from large politically connected firms to the ODC like Judge Broussard did in Landry.  Seems to me the good people in Lafayette have a keeper folks.

We’ll be keeping our eye on Ms Frois and the ODC.

sop

10 thoughts on “Menage a Frois law Firm Baker Donelson again exhibits blatantly unethical courtroom behavior a what else is new update”

  1. "We’ll be keeping our eye on Ms Frois and the ODC."

    Don't hold your breath. Also on her bio page:

    "With four years of service on the Hearing Committee for the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board – 2004 to 2008 – she brings extensive experience dealing with attorney disciplinary matters, legal malpractice and professional liability."

  2. This was a constant problem in Katrina litigation.

    The insurance companies were constantly stating the fact witness adjusters should be compensated despite their status as fact witnesses. The common argument was they were "independent adjusters".

    What a load of crap! Good for the plaintiffs!

  3. Pingback: - New Orleans News
  4. Your comments about "lazy" judges is spot on. The abject failure of judges and magistrates to drop the hammer on professional and ethical violations emboldens insurance defense lawyers. The discovery abuses, the obtrusive deposition conduct on down the line.

    I'll never forget a judge glossing over the laundry list of defendant-insurance company abuses and stating "you all need to get this case to trial, so work together." Hello? How can a lawyer prepare for trial whe he can't get relevant, discoverable information without having to stop and prepare a motion and then wait a month for it to be heard.

    I blame the judiciary as much as the unethical-unprofessional lawyer.

  5. So shouldn't the ODC recuse itself from this referral as the alleged miscreant has served on a hearing committee? But can any other entity in LA hear this other than ODC?

  6. ej: If she is still active, I believe the ODC kicks it up to the ADB who reviews the complaint and selects a special counsel to conduct the investigation.

    The question for me is: why did she stop being a member of the hearing committee after only 4 years?

  7. Please allow me to go (a little bit) "off topic". The Office of Disciplinary Counse and/or the Louisiana Supreme Court have been "stacking" the so-called "Attorney Disciplinary Board" with WHORES for years. The lawyers in Louisiana fumbled badly in the early 1990's when we allowed "lawyer discipline" to be taken from US via the Louisiana State Bar Association and put in the hands of the charletan Charles B. Plattsmier, Jr. (And I have a "message" for you, Plattsmier, you cocksucker: Before I die, I'm going to put your sorry ass IN JAIL). I really get upset when Members of the SLABBED Nation talk about Plattsmier and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel as if they have "legitimacy". This entire office and structure should be DISMANTLED. Plattsmier is a CRIMINAL. He PIMPS for the Chief "Injustice" WHORE Catherine Kimball. Anyone who wants to educate himself or herself about Plattsmier's and Kimball's CRIMINAL CONDUCT can access the latest in "The Ashton O'Dwyer Series of Video Productions", available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLYZL6GbwEI. What Kimball did to me makes whatever Joan Benge did pale in significance. What Plattsmier did to me makes any ethical lapses by Monica Frois pale in significance. I'm really going to have "FUN" putting Kimball and Plattsmier in prison. What do I have to lose? Ashton O'Dwyer.

  8. The Louisiana Bar sounds like a theater school. A (now famous) actress I've known since we were kids said of her early years: "it was touch and go there for a while. I wasn't sure if I'd end up with a career or the clap."

  9. I worked with Frois and she is just as unethical and lazy as mentioned above. About all she was good for was telling me what to do and telling me that one of my many duties was walking her dog.

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