Louisiana Eastern District US Attorney Investigation: String of “Big Rig” Sideswipes and an Old Subject Resurfaces

Orders like the one below have been popping up in certain “Big Rig” crash cases where the Plaintiffs are being represented by Vanessa Motta and Joe Bruno:

Thomas v Chambers Doc 220 by Slabbed on Scribd

Word has evidently been slow to filter out there at the Courthouse because such orders are still being issued as recently as last Wednesday:

Warren v Rosstrans Doc 64 by Slabbed on Scribd

None of this counts another order issued last month in another matter that uses similar language. Besides being Big Rig cases the commonality between them involves counsel though it is not clear either Motta or Bruno are the targets of the federal investigation. Judge Feldman last month gave an accounting of the cases involved to that point in Reff v Werrner:

Reff v Werner Doc 106 by Slabbed on Scribd

But it was the Docket in Thomas v Chambers that contained some additional color and it was there we zeroed in and out popped an old subject here on Slabbed in Sean Alfortish.

Alfortish evidently now works for a company that factors medical receivables. Alfortish and the company he contracts with, Medport LA LLC have been subjected to several subpoenas in both Thomas and several other cases. Magistrate Roby explains in her order on the Alfortish/Medport Motion to Quash at Docket 151:

The Defendants contend that most of the subpoenas mentioned were issued in separate lawsuits involving different defendants and plaintiffs. R. Doc 44, p. 15

Separate lawsuits indeed. Judge Feldman listed several of them in his order above. As for the defendants and all of those related cases, this is what they have alleged per Judge Vance at Docket 217:

Defendants asserted (1) that Chambers “did not experience any type of impact consistent with a motor vehicle accident,” (2) that Chambers only merged into the right lane after “an unknown third vehicle swerved directly in front of him into his lane 2-3 times,” and (3) that shortly after merging, plaintiffs “flagged” Chambers down and indicated that they had been in a collision. Defendants further alleged that there is circumstantial evidence supporting their allegation that plaintiffs’ claims are fabricated. Defendants asserted that plaintiffs have social or familial ties to the plaintiffs in approximately fifteen other lawsuits involving similar collisions on Interstate 10. The Court denied defendants leave to file the amended counterclaim, because it did not remedy the fact that their claim for fraud was not legally cognizable under Louisiana law.

So why are the defendants in these cases so interested in Alfortish? The subpoenas they issued to him provide a clue because he was served at 84 N. Wren St, New Orleans, LA 70124. A google search yielded a result which indicates both Alfortish and Plaintiffs counsel Motta have been connected to that address but I do not consider that to be definitive proof of a connection between the two. The proof for that is on Ms. Motta’s Facebook page and the pictures she has of herself and Alfortish at the last Superbowl (Alfortish is a Rams fan according to the comments to the picture though he was pictured wearing a Patriots jersey) as well as one taken in March 2018. The company Alfortish acts as an independent contractor, Medport LA LLC has factored the medical bills related to the Thomas case as follows (via Thomas, ECF 38-4, Page 2):

In total, Medport holds $41,933.00 in accounts receivables related to treatment, care, and/or medications provided to Ms. Thomas; $181,884.05 in accounts receivables related to treatment, care, and/or medications provided to Ms. Harris; and $55,250.00 in accounts receivables related to treatment, care, and/or medications provided to Mr. Clark. The total amounts above are still due and owing to Medport by these respective individuals.

Ms. Motta is a relatively recent law school graduate. According to the bio on her website she graduated from Loyola Law School in 2015. According to the State of Louisiana Bar rolls she was admitted to practice law in May, 2016. Given her relative lack of experience it was thus impressive to see her involvement in 26 cases, the overwhelming majority of which appear to be Big Rig sideswipes:

Via PACER
Via PACER

The closed cases all appear to be the ones with stays issued, similar to the ones shown above.

Naturally Court orders such as the ones linked above are the subject of a good deal of gossip in legal circles. Thrown in ex-con Sean Alfortish and it amplifies greatly. Anyone that has been with Slabbed from inception back in 2007 understands we do not have much use for insurance companies. But if there is an extended family in NOLA staging accidents around the I-10/610 split to sue trucking companies based upon bogus claims that represents a cost to everyone that buys insurance. It has to be stopped.

Federal Investigations take time and this one has been going on since at least spring 2019 but the filings in Thomas give us some hints that it has been ongoing for longer than the order staying the case was issued. I suspect we’ll find out soon the identity of the targets.

Disclosure: One of the subjects of a Plaintiffs’ subpoena in the Thomas matter which was also subject to a Motion to Quash JS Investigations, has performed investigative and process services for Slabbed New Media. Neither JS or its principal had involvement in the development or publication of this story.

7 thoughts on “Louisiana Eastern District US Attorney Investigation: String of “Big Rig” Sideswipes and an Old Subject Resurfaces”

  1. Could it be another Bruno levee suit failure ? Bruno failed to sue the State and the poor flooded , class action plaintiffs got pennies while the attorneys got millions. But me thinks that case has been closed forever from the eyes of the public and investigators.

    1. Lock

      the problem with suing the state is that you get a piece of paper, see LSA-Const. Art. XII, Sec. 10. Now if you are well connected, you can get the Legislature to appropriate the funds. Of course, if you are not, good luck with that.
      Oh, and if you think “I’ve got relief in fed court,” think again. Fed judges routinely turn down suitors who try some Fifth Amendment or 14th amendment issue in order to compel the state to pay.
      Yes, even though Louisiana in the constitution waived sovereign immunity in part for tort and contract, the booboisie in their infinite stupidity in 1995 amended the constitution to essentially say to those injured by the State “it sucks to be you.”
      So as a practical matter, in some class action/mass tort litigation, do you spend the money to receive a scrap of paper without any value? If you can ride out a few years and oblate the Legislature, maybe. Otherwise, not much future in such a course of action.
      If, and there’s the big “if,” you can find a bunch of insurers to tackle, that’s great. But the state and local governments have a nasty habit of requiring next-to-useless policies covering only a few cents on the dollar.
      Yes, the Swamp’s local outpost in Louisiana is alive and kicking, and likely getting a big fat infusion because of the recently concluded affliction on the public, ahem, “election.”

  2. That’s a funny coincidence. Before becoming a lawyer, she was a stunt person in Hollywood. Now in old “Hollywood South?”

        1. Good catch, Doug. A four year attorney (and judging from her admission date she didn’t pass the bar the first time around) gets some good money cases and, contrary to the odds, a wholesale lot of them. Many more experienced attorneys don’t see that number in a decade.
          And really bad timing what with the crony socialists (the LABI repubs) taking over the Louisiana Legislature, making her a poster child for “tort deform.”

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