Enterprise Award Winner Rebecca Mowbray on Claims Dumping

It was brought to my attention by our friend from Louisiana Mr Cominglatersooner that Rebecca Mowbray won the prestigious Enterprise Award given to recognize excellence in business journalism.

Rebecca Mowbray, a business writer for The Times-Picayune, has received an award from the leading organization for business journalists.

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers announced Thursday that Mowbray won an Enterprise Award, which recognizes stories that take a broad look at a trend or development. Her entry was “Same House, Same Repairs,” a story that examined how some insurance companies shift costs to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Indeed tracking down the original story “Same house. Same repairs. Same insurer. Why different prices?” and its reference to the Weiss case lead me all over the internet as the $2.8 million dollar verdict was seen as a stunning example of Katrina insurance bad faith. It also lead me to David Rossmiller’s Insurance turned Dickie Scruggs coverage blog and some of the most prime examples of why he is regarded as an insurance shill by lawyers that actually litigate wind-water cases and those of us actually located in Katrina ground zero. Continue reading “Enterprise Award Winner Rebecca Mowbray on Claims Dumping”

Louisiana Public Adjusters Qui Tam Suit Appeal (Updated)

One of the more interesting twists in our post Katrina insurance saga was the public adjusters suit filed in Louisiana against several insurers in May of last year which contained some very specific allegations of wind claims dumping on the National Flood Insurance Program.  Little did the public adjusters know at the time was that Dickie Scruggs has filed a similar suit under seal against many of the same insurers on behalf over several insured here on the coast and the Rigsby sisters.  At the time my very non-legal thought was the suits should be joined because they involved very similar issues but involved actions in two states, different kinds of flooding and the differing fact patterns that result from that.

Later we would find out in the world of Qui Tam that it is essentially first come, first served and since Mr Scruggs filed the first lawsuit, the Louisiana suit was dismissed.  Again my non legal mind had difficulties comprehending the logic involved in dismissing the Louisiana case which on it’s face involved different issues but my experience in the business world has taught me that logic and the law, while not mutually exclusive, also do not share space on the same page in the book of life. Continue reading “Louisiana Public Adjusters Qui Tam Suit Appeal (Updated)”

Eye of the Storm

I was looking at the Times Picayune early this morning and ran across this 25 minute video they put together.  I listened to it in the background while I made my rounds and I think our readers will enjoy watching it. This is their story of how they covered the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans in those dark early days.

[googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3989911357450927172]

Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds….

Busy doesn’t describe my office on March 28th of a typical year for us and this year is no different. Having finally fully restaffed last fall plus the increase in business leaves me with many options where to spend time such as quality control on the work product produced the staff (i.e. checking business and personal income tax returns), meeting and delivering my work product to my business clients or seeing the many business prospects that are still looking for a construction specialized CPA.

Yesterday deliveries and meetings took me from Columbia to Bay St Louis.  Today I run from Gulfport to Slidell and points in between. The time demands leave me right at 2 minutes to pen three or so posts on topics I find interesting. This missive is the gumbo post where I mix all the little items – hopefully into something good.

First stop is Jackson and the Clarion Ledger, where the very colorful and ineffective Mayor finds himself still cleaning up his messes from years ago. The foibles of Frank Melton normally would not darken the pages of this blog but it appears those he libeled tried to drag the Good Hands people into their suit filed against him by two people in law enforcement. Continue reading “Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds….”

The Judicial Bribery Scandal Claims Another Victim: Will the Delaughter Suspension Be Truly Temporary?

This afternoon we learned from our friends at the Clarion Ledger that Judge Bobby Delaughter has acquiesed to a temporary suspension request by the Commission on Judicial Performance. The Jerry Mitchell story at the Clarion Ledger filed this afternoon stated in part:

The state Commission on Judicial Performance asked the state Supreme Court to temporarily remove DeLaughter from the bench until the commission could review two complaints filed against the judge.

The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Division is investigating DeLaughter and others in connection with allegations lawyers schemed to influence him to rule in favor of famed Mississippi lawyer Dickie Scruggs in 2006. Continue reading “The Judicial Bribery Scandal Claims Another Victim: Will the Delaughter Suspension Be Truly Temporary?”

Close call for Paul Prudhomme, Foodies Everywhere Almost Sent into Deep Mourning

I saw this in the Times Picayune. Tragedy almost stikes at the heart of New Orleans cuisine!

Noted New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme was setting up his cooking tent on the practice range at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, when he felt a sting in his right arm right above his elbow

According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Prudhomme shook his clothing, and a .22 caliber bullet fell from his shirt to the ground. Continue reading “Close call for Paul Prudhomme, Foodies Everywhere Almost Sent into Deep Mourning”

Misdeeds at the Louisiana Windpool, Citizens Insurance

I have on occasion lamented the lack of transparency at the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association.  A visit to their website for example will not reveal the names of the governing board and very little else concerning their operations. What little I know comes from Commissioner Chaney and the occasional mention in the press.  You would think the powers that be behind insurance that costs so much yet pays so well would be proud to put their names behind the organization. I do know that David Treutel does not hide the fact he is on the windpool board. Dave, who hails from the supposed hotbed of anti-insurance land is a respected businessman and active member of the Bay-Waveland civic community. I can’t imagine he would object to being listed as a wind pool board member.

The lack of transparency has it’s bad effects.  Citizen’s insurance over in Louisiana similarly operated free from sunshine and in the dark for years.  It took a herculean effort on part of Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot to peel back the veil of secrecy to reveal what the premium dollars of the Louisiana insurance paying public was buying at Citizens. Continue reading “Misdeeds at the Louisiana Windpool, Citizens Insurance”

Laws Against Judicial Bribery and Jim Hood Redux

Some people like money, some people like power. People that like power go into politics. Me, I like money and money rents power so I get the best of both worlds. -Quote from a highly successful coast businessman to young Sop many years ago.

Early on the “Jim Hood is a crook campaign” struck me as a partisan political affair because no evidence has been produced against Mr Hood except guilt by association. One thing I’ve learned is that politicians of all stripes taking campaign ca$h from less than reputable characters is hardly new. It’s equally clear the goals of the parties to such transaction are manifestly differing; a politician lives to be re elected and ca$h is the mothers milk of that endeavor.  Donors expect their contributions to result in access though not necessarily for help in committing a crime certainly to further their interests.  While I’ll grant when the scandal hits the fan such arrangement do not look good it is also equally true that such arrangements do not imply a conspiracy between the parties in furtherance of criminal activities. In fact the more likely implication is simply the politician needed money and was willing to take it from whomever was willing to contribute. Continue reading “Laws Against Judicial Bribery and Jim Hood Redux”

Al Copeland, Fried Chicken and Courthouse Corruption

A week or so back I was reading some interesting chicken soup recipes on another blog and I chuckled as the outlanders simultaneously displayed both admiration and confusion over the 300 plus year old cultural traditions that make New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast both charming and an enigma to outsiders. In the old days, especially south of I-10 here in Mississippi we viewed ourselves as a world apart from the rest of Mississippi. In Waveland, we considered ourselves a suburb of New Orleans. Many of our Dads commuted daily to New Orleans to work; many New Orleanians has second homes or retired to Waveland, where our population would seemingly double in the Summer.

Most of our cultural traditions we hold close. For example, I never fully explained to Nowdy, for instance, that “Later” is a common substitute for “Good bye” down here. To understand the people and culture you really have to live the experience. Despite Mississippi’s own rich history of outragious politicians they seem minor league in comparison to characters like Earl Long or Leander Perez, who ruled Plaquemines and St Bernard Parishes for many years. Closure from the impacts of Perez family rule would many years later find my best friend escorting his Mom to Buras Pointe a la Hache to collect her share of the oil royalties her cajun family, like so many others, had been swindled out of by the Perez family.

This morning we learn of the passing of another cultural icon, Al Copeland. Al was equal part fried chicken king, speed boat racer, serial spouse and modern day Kris Kringle (not to be confused with Mr. Bingle 😉 ). His name was also associated with judicial bribery long before it became fashionable in Mississippi. Continue reading “Al Copeland, Fried Chicken and Courthouse Corruption”

The Real National Legal Scandal Buried in the Scruggs Saga Publicity

Once again Sam Friedman has written an excellent post to his blog on his observations about the insurance industry “trifecta” of losing their arch nemeses Elliot Spitzer, Dickie Scruggs and Melvyn Weiss in the space of a week. Though Cowboy won’t like this I’ve used one of his old labels for this post, “Crooks in Gucci Suits” because the shoe fits.

While Dickie Scruggs gained fame as the public face of the affiliated law group that took down big tobacco it was actually Ron Motley in South Carolina that was the heavy lifter in the group. It is easy to confuse being the public face for top dog but the associated PR from being the front man also put a big target on Mr. Scruggs, from lawyers here in Mississippi who envied his success to the business community who view trial lawyers in general as Satan incarnate. When I think about those at the pinnacle of their professions I am sometimes reminded of the famous John Lord Acton quote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Of course my life experience differs from painting “great” men with such a broad stroke as few of us are truly bad, even fewer absolutely good. Most are a mix of good and bad, even Dickie Scruggs and Joey Langston. In Melvyn Weiss’s case being in the background meant the publicity with his guilty plea would not be as great.  However, his transgressions far exceed “corruptly influencing” a small time country judge from BF North Mississippi as we’ll soon see. Continue reading “The Real National Legal Scandal Buried in the Scruggs Saga Publicity”