Calhoun again under siege

Special master in Bayou Corne sinkhole settlement admits he served as attorney for plaintiffs’ counsel; Impartiality called into question ~ Kyle Barnett

Some Bayou Corne settlement recipients raise concerns about their legal representation ~ David Mitchell

Slabbed has good bit in archives on the subject but of late it has been Jason that has been tearing it up.

The Good Ole’ Boys ~ Jason Berry

Is it me or are industrial plants in Louisiana beginning to explode with regularity???

I tell you folks you know the class action set is happy happy these days.

Gas plant explosion in Washington Parish ~ Jay Vise

Just like with the fertilizer plant in Texas and last week’s explosion I’d be willing to wager safety corners have been cut.  We’ll see.

BREAKING: Self described King of Torts gets his ass kicked in California

These guys are the worst of hypocrites that you can possibly find,” said Roger Chadderdon, technology counsel at Cataphora. “They claim to be trying to help the little guy, but what they’re doing is trying to put more money in their own pockets. Everybody knows that, but this is a case that illustrates it beyond what I have ever seen.”

So who is this self proclaimed King of Torts? He and his son have appeared on these pages before. Now the real riddle is what does this guy have to do with the Goat Farm lawsuit Charles Leary is mentioned so prominently in? (Leary has denied involvement in that lawsuit to the Canadian media despite the offical court record here in Louisiana.) Perhaps an ex wife who partnered with Trout Point Owner Danny Abel to homecook the out of state plaintiff they attempted to fleece. Man the stories I’ve heard about Deonne whew!  And that doesn’t count the problems Deonne and her ex are having in Florida these days. Kinda mirrors the crash and burn now occurring on the shores of the Tusket River in Nova Scotia huh.

To paraphrase Nowdy the past isn’t dead, it is not even past.

Stay tuned.


Laissez les bons temps rouler! Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 2.

To repeat part of the lead from Part 1, rarely am I presented with a topic that neatly ties in so many concepts previously presented on Slabbed, such as cognative bias.  For purposes of this post cognative bias involving the media as we again visit with Matt Labash at the hard line GOP media resource The Weekly Standard. We profiled Matt’s 1998 profile of  the Castano Group of trial lawyers that took down big tobacco before training their sites on the nation’s gun manufacturers in part 1, where I labeled Matt’s story a “hit piece” and it is true it was one and beyond my own opinion I’ll add I’m merely repeating Matt’s 2006 description of his first profile of Wendell Gauthier, Danny Abel et al thus the post title. In the interim and despite the earlier “hit piece” Matt ended up befriending Abel and using his NOLA area contacts to write a second story on the big easy for the Weekly Standard, this time post Katrina plus 6 months that I thought was simply excellent. Before we highlight some of that story’s high points we need to fill in a bit of the gap between the death of Gauthier and Hurricane Katrina for Trout Point Lodge/La Ferme D’Acadie owner Danny Abel and his boy toy sidekick Shane (D’Antoni) Gates and for that we need to highlight one of  Abel’s true life literary adventures in OUTGUNNED: The First Complete Insider Account of the Battle Over Gun Control. Luckily for all of us Abel’s co-author Peter Brown has been kind enough to share his thoughts on the endeavor with the Slabbed Nation but before we delve into the lawsuit Abel and his boy toy Shane Gates recently filed against Mr Brown using the legal services of Aaron Broussard we must first visit with a 3rd party review of the book, which Brown claims was a complete flop:

Meanwhile, Outgunned, by journalist Peter Harry Brown and trial attorney Daniel G. Abel, is about what’s happening in the here and now. More specifically, the book is a sympathetic look at the efforts of a nationwide consortium of trial lawyers (including Abel) who called themselves the “Castano Group,” and who took on the gun industry in the late 1990s. Why are these lawyers particularly interesting? While it’s true that others had already tried to sue the gun industry (including in a well-publicized New York litigation), the Castano lawyers were different. In the world of the plaintiff’s bar, they were the A-Team. They had resources, connections, and experience–including the experience of winning a $346 billion settlement from the tobacco companies. They were also ambitious. Beginning in 1998, the Castano lawyers launched anti-gun suits in cities across the country–until more than 30 state and local governments were involved in litigation against the gun industry.

The Castano lawyers knew this would be extremely challenging litigation and were proven correct–most of it has floundered or failed. So why did they do it? Not for the cash, insist the authors, who point out that the gun Companies do not have the same deep pockets as Big tobacco and could never offer the same kind of rich settlement that the tobacco litigation yielded. But even if one accepts that the lawyers’ motives were largely pure (maybe they were, maybe they weren’t)–and, indeed, even if one discounts their failures in court–Outgunned is not a book that inspires great confidence in the potential of litigation to solve the nation’s most vexing policy issues.

It also is not a very reflective or analytic book. To be fair, Outgunned bills itself as an “insider account of the battle over gun control.” This is meant to be juicy stuff, not a policy tract. But without much critical argument to distract the reader, the book bogs down in a muck of appalling details about the Castano lawyers who are supposed to be our heroes–facts that the authors unabashedly trot out and never successfully excuse. The key players include well-connected Washington, D.C., lawyer John Coale–who is called “the clown prince of the legal world”–and Cincinnati’s Stanley Chesley, a.k.a. the “sultan of settlement.” But the lion’s share of the limelight is reserved for the book’s co-author Abel and his partner, Wendell Gauthier, with whom Abel bonded at the site of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India. Ah yes, those were the days. “While an elephant chased Gauthier through the streets of India,” recall the authors, “Abel crept over terrain with thickets full of cobras to spy on the Union Carbide plant.” Continue reading “Laissez les bons temps rouler! Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 2.”

Actually Matt, you had this one called right to begin with. Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 1.

Rarely am I presented with a topic that neatly ties in so many legal concepts we’ve advocated here on Slabbed such as ordinary citizens losing their basic constitutional rights under the ruse of  Tort Reform and as luck would have it, this area was used as the poster child for the need to strip ordinary citizens across this country of their constitutional rights so my sources on this topic can’t be better placed.  The story includes all the finest corrupt trial lawyers from the now incarcerated Dick Scruggs to Calvin Fayard and beyond.  It also includes a group of gay men we affectionately call the girls here on Slabbed that were affiliated with Wendell Gauthier.  Luckily for me I don’t have to reinvent the wheel as two articles in the conservative publication the Weekly Standard well tells the story of the abuses that lead to a few men becoming obscenely wealthy while everyone else lost basic constitutional rights so lets hop in the wayback machine to 1998 and Matt Labash’s wide cited story Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Wendell Gauthier loves to smile. Sure, the most renowned class-action lawyer in New Orleans possesses many other trademarks. He has full-bodied Atticus Finch hair, and he’s tailored like a mogul from Milan. With a soft Cajun accent, he’s a fount of country-lawyer malapropisms (he says his old friend Edwin Edwards, the frequently indicted former governor of Louisiana, has a “photogenic mind”). But Gauthier’s defining characteristic is the infectious, perpetual, coprophagous grin. Indeed, an opposing lawyer once objected to a judge that Wendell Gauthier smiled too often. With his track record, who wouldn’t?

A veritable Zelig of mass-disaster litigation, Gauthier has twice ranked as one of the National Law Journal’s “100 Most Powerful Lawyers.” From the 1982 Pan Am plane crash to the 1980 MGM Grand hotel fire, from bone screws to breast implants, if it burns, leaks, seeps, or (praise God) explodes, chances are Gauthier is heading up the plaintiff’s committee, siphoning 25 percent to 35 percent contingency fees from the multi-million dollar jackpots relinquished by accident-prone companies waiting to get milked in class action lawsuits.

Matt nailed Gauthier’s career “hittin’ the walls” with every stroke of his jaded poison pen. Not mentioned though except here on Slabbed is that the Pan Am Crash was the launching pad for Gauthier’s subsequent mega legal  successes as then Kenner Mayor Aaron Broussard greased the marketing skids for Gauthier giving him sole early access to the families of the victims. Continue reading “Actually Matt, you had this one called right to begin with. Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 1.”

Between a crook and a hard place: A Louisiana Lite Gov election update.

Here is the choice folks, the daughter of a politically connected class action lawyer with a Goldman Sachs/Bill Clinton pedigree or the lawyer for a sleazy stock operator who ran a pump and dump on the now defunct HSOA.  That HSOA scam created a lot of bagholders due to greed but some of the stuff Daddy Fayard is into really will make your skin crawl.  We appreciate the coverage and links from Scott McKay over at the Hayride on a few of our older posts dealing with Hugh Sibley and his connections to Pappa Fayard.

All that said Slabbed will make a recommendation on this race: Continue reading “Between a crook and a hard place: A Louisiana Lite Gov election update.”

Slabbed updates the Baton Rouge rump ranger trio: The traditional media joins us at the Cedarcrest class action party. Commenc

History will record Slabbed was there first with the most with our original post on this topic almost one month ago. You folks from Baton Rouge should not take comfort in the fact that your paper did not have the guts to report this after Lewis Unglesby did what he does best in showing his fanny to the powers that be. There are reasons the public does not trust the media.

The Baton Rouge Business Report has the story (second one down) including a quote from Lyman Thornton, a fine lawyer that is now first assistant U.S. attorney in Baton Rouge. Here at Slabbed we trust Mr Thornton to pursue the interest of justice in this matter.

The Baton Rouge legal community is abuzz since attorney Donna Grodner alleged that ad hoc judge L. J. Hymel and attorney Lewis Unglesby engaged in ex parte communication, which ultimately led the former to recuse himself from class action litigation in January. Ex parte communications are conversations made without the knowledge of all involved parties in a legal matter. The alleged conversation was heard via telephone in a case of “pocket dialing”: A phone call was unintentionally made to Grodner from attorney Ralph Fletcher’s cell phone moments before the alleged conversation took place. Grodner says she reported the incident to the proper authorities, but the U.S. Attorney’s office would not confirm or deny any investigation is ongoing. “We receive information from the public on a regular basis,” says Lyman Thornton, first assistant U.S. attorney. “Once we receive that information, we do not comment or speculate on any future action.” Continue reading “Slabbed updates the Baton Rouge rump ranger trio: The traditional media joins us at the Cedarcrest class action party. Commenc”

From the you can’t make this stuff up file we have another problem on the Louisiana class action front: Ye ol’ buttcall

There are times that we get tips that simply defy description. This one comes courtesy of a proverbial buttcall via Baton Rouge Lawyer Donna Grodner. The names should be familar ones to the Louisiana legal community.

Through an odd series of events involving a “butt call”, Judge Hymel was found participating with Lewis Unglesby in what may be described as an “ex parte” communication on the case. An “ex parte” communication occurs when an attorney has a private conversation with a sitting judge about litigation over which the judge presides. It was reported that the phone conversation was taped.

Attorney Donna Grodner whose office was the inadvertent receiver of the “butt call” commented as follows, “This explains a lot of what has been going on in this case. Although I had a feeling something was going on – I could never put my finger on it. I am sorry for the delays this will cause in the litigation, which has already been strung out too long by these individuals.”

Indeed as the Slabbed can attest getting the shaft without benefit of lubrication can be most disconcerting and as our own Robert can attest lawyers milking this type litigation are sometimes a very big problem as we continue our peek behind the back door into the world of ex parte communication: Continue reading “From the you can’t make this stuff up file we have another problem on the Louisiana class action front: Ye ol’ buttcall”