The Public has a right to know that the $20 million KATRINA settlement with the Levee Boards and their insurer is corrupt and fraudulent.
There are several “back-stories” to this settlement, none of which has been reported by this newspaper.
The Public needs to know that this settlement came about after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the United States of America (acting through the Army Corps of Engineers) had immunity from any and all claims for damages arising out of KATRINA. And since “Plaintiffs’ Liason Counsel” Bruno, and the cabal he is a part of, failed to sue the State of Louisiana, because they had secretly represented the State in presenting the State’s $200 billion claim against the United States, the cabal was left holding an empty bag when the United States was determined to be immune from suit.
So how was the cabal going to recover its “out-of-pocket” costs incurred in fighting the Federal Government for several years (all for “nothing”, as it turned out)?
The insurance policies issued to the Levee Boards were worth, at a bare minimum, $20 million, or so. Accordingly, the cabal made a “grab” for those funds, which would have served several purposes: (a) the $20 million would reimburse the cabal its “costs”, and do so in a way that (b) did not cause the cabal the obvious ethical problem of pursuing its own client, the State, for damages (the Levee Boards being State entities). The cabal also had to be very careful that their “secret” client, the State, wasn’t implicated for more than “one policy limit” of $20 million. Luckily for the cabal, the Levee Boards and their insurer decided it was best if they would “play along”, but only if they could obtain a full and complete Release in exchange for one policy limit of $20 million. The alternative was years of uncertain litigation.
In this the cabal was assisted by the then-presiding judge, whose “close personal friend of long-standing” was a prominent cabal member.
But there were certain potential problems to overcome.
There was the issue of whether one policy limit was “enough”, since there were multiple breach sites all over New Orleans, each one arguably “triggering” a full policy limit. There also was an issue about whether the State of Louisiana should be required to lend its “full faith and credit” to woefully under-insured and grossly negligent and mismanaged Levee Boards, not to mention the fact that the settlement allowed the Levee Boards (and the Orleans Levee Board in particular) to retain their assets, like airports, marinas and office buildings, among others. There also was the issue of direct liability of the State for the failure of the State to properly supervise the incompetent Levee Boards, which wasn’t even addressed by Plaintiffs’ Liason Counsel Bruno and his cabal due to an obvious conflict of interests.
Some innocent “Victims of KATRINA” raised these and other issues in written objections to the proposed settlement. However, in ruling on the objections, the Fifth Circuit focused only on the fact that the settlement was really a “money grab” by the cabal to recoup its “costs” and that real “Victims of KATRINA” weren’t going to recover “one red cent” from the settlement. The Fifth Circuit specifically held that: “We hold that the district court erred by approving the settlement without any assurance that attorneys’ costs and administrative costs will not cannibalize the entire $21 million.”
So it was “back to the drawing boards” for the cabal, this time with a new judge, who has been working on the recently announced new deal for the past six (6) years!
Interestingly, Mr. Schleifstein’s March 3rd article about the settlement doesn’t mention haw much Mr. Bruno will be receiving, I’d be willing to bet that his share will be more than the $2.50 that it is reported that some claimants will receive.
Parenthetically, on October 23, 2008, I filed the largest legal malpractice class action lawsuit in the annals of American jurisprudence against Bruno and the cabal members for their failure to sue the State of Louisiana in the KATRINA litigation. That case bears Civil Action No. 08-4728 on the Eastern District docket. A scant two (2) weeks later, on November 7, 2008, I was suspended from the practice of law by the same judge who now presides over the Levee Board settlement. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
New Orleans , Louisiana