Requiem for the Super 8 Motel Legal Department

Last week I received a heads up that Slabbed’s mortal enemy Daniel “Danny” Abel had died after being struck by a car in a hit and run just before Christmas last year. One would have to imagine the range of emotions that one experiences under such circumstances. I was on someone else’s dime however and unable to indulge anything in the moment.

I knew Slabbed would certainly be publishing on this topic and the pause for reflection was a good thing. Whatever baser emotions we experienced inside Slabbed were gotten out of the way in fairly short order and that is good overall. We would never wish getting hit by a car and then lingering for two months inside a long term care facility during a pandemic on our worst enemy, which Abel would certainly make the short list. That said after news traveled another person Abel had terrorized with shithouse legal tactics described what happened as ‘karma’ to me. Such determinations are above my paygrade.

Ramon Vargas wrote the Obit for the Picayune and it was sourced by all the usual suspects in Abel’s adopted son Shane Gates and his long time friend Eric Paulsen. This much is true about him, he was gold to his friends and had excellent people skills. He was at his best as a lawyer teamed up with the late Wendell Gauthier during the class action bonanza of the 1990s, the worst abuses of which resulted in tort reform. Abel was the political component of that team as he had judges in his pocket and political connections including and especially with former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard.

After Gauthier died Abel was cast adrift as a lawyer in many respects. The 2006 lawsuit against State Farm he filed for Paulsen for instance was a major crash and burn with Paulsen getting zeroed on a wind-water case other lawyers would routinely win after the storm. Over the ensuing years Abel would take on other cases that were either outlandish on their face or that he would badly mishandle such as the Martin’s. He ended up being sued for malpractice more times in the last decade than I could count. He developed a penchant for suing Judges, law enforcement and opposing lawyers.

His relationship with former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard was what captured our interest here at Slabbed, especially their dabbling in the practice known as libel tourism suing US media outlets reporting on Broussard using his Canadian property holdings to perpetrate a bribery and money laundering scheme. Specifically it was their second libel suit against Fox 8 which laid bare the scheme and Abel’s intimate involvement in it. Slabbed obtained a large portion of that court record and published the affidavits sworn by Louisianans in a Canadian Court over news broadcast in New Orleans, Louisiana. For that I earned the full measure of Abel’s ire. Although he didn’t know it at the time Abel met his nemesis.

He sued me and then my lawyers repeatedly. Yes, he still had a few pocket judges but he had earned far more enemies in Louisiana repeatedly suing ‘unfriendly’ judges and court staff. It was I that wrote the letter that resulted in the suspension of his law license due to threat of harm to the public. Abel being Abel however, he still took money from the public by continuing to hold himself out as a lawyer. It wasn’t fading folks as much as it was desperation.

By time I called Abel and his business partners to account in Federal Court here in Mississippi I well knew my enemy and was waiting for him. And one by one his frivolous lawsuits in Louisiana bit the dust. The last thing the man wanted to do was take a deposition and have to answer questions about those Canadian affidavits he swore. He dropped from our radar a few years ago with an occasional sighting over at the anonymous weblog he co-publishes, Real Malice.

For us Abel is the heel against which we measure all the others we’ve covered. So far none have come close.