“The six council members knew nothing of the agreement until after the grant was received,” said city attorney W. Fred Hornsby III. The council could have chosen not to pay Maxwell-Walker, he said, but agreed to give the firm the standard 6 percent finder’s fee of $180,000 for the grant.
The payment to Maxwell-Walker was not discussed in an open council meeting, only in executive session, Janus said.
Rather than putting a resolution for payment on the budget, it was added to the Dec. 20, 2011, docket of claims with the city’s other bills.
I’ll keep this short and sweet folks as time is scarce for me today but we’re getting some referrals from a Joe Nocera column in the New York Times today about Judge Barbier’s recent fee ruling in the Oil Spill MDL and that also allows me to link Becky Mowbray’s reporting for the Times Picayune on Buddy Caldwell’s appeal of Judge Barbier’s ruling, which we covered here in a post that has been very well received in the new media. For my part I’m still cataloguing various instances where lawyers sitting on the PSC that also represent other clients against BP outside the PSC are taking diametrically opposing positions on the fee arrangement in motions filed before Judge Barbier’s court. This in turn lends the whole affair a three ring circus like quality.
Becky Mowbray OTOH wrote the column that needed writing as she lent some much needed context to the political environment that got us here. Becky points out that Buddy Caldwell went to the legislature to obtain contingent fee authority from the legislature to pay the state’s contract lawyers in the MDL and was denied by same. She also honed in on the fact that the lawyer representing Team Jindal, Burton LeBlanc’s law firm, Baron & Budd sits on the PSC meaning Team Jindal has potentially interest conflicted council. The report had everything but Caldwell’s appeal itself, which a reader was kind enough to share so everyone could read the entire 56 page document for themselves.
I’ll have more on this down the line as the legal conflicts of interest are open, brazen and have amazingly been allowed to this point by Judge Barbier.
Ladies and Gentlemen in the next MDL Wrestling Federation match we have a Fatal 4 way match! We have Barack Obama’s Wall Street shoe shine boy Ken Feinberg for the GCCF v Bobby “Piyush” Jindal for BP v Buddy “Tickle my ass with a feather” Caldwell v Plaintiff Steering Committee (PSC)
Yesterday Anita Lee at the Sun Herald broke and then added to the story of a ruling by Judge Barbier yesterday which allowed the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee to recoup their expenses from those folks that have settled their claims with BP via the Gulf Coast Claims Facility involving a 4% holdback from Louisiana and Alabama originated claims and 6% for everyone else. Seeing Anita’s story, my Katrina Bro Editilla sent me a bat signal via twitter, Anita was kind enough to share the order and spare me the PACER charge when answering my email inquiry and I shook the tree. I just about got pummeled by everything that fell out but today we’ll start by saying while we’ve favorably blogged on Judge Barbier’s rulings in post Katrina insurance litigation his latest ruling is way off base IMHO. In fact it stinks folks.
Luckily for everyone Rebecca Mowbray at the T-P joined the party today and advanced the discussion by disclosing a somewhat open secret that Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is feuding with Gov Jindal and both have legal teams with snouts firmly entrenched in the BP trough supposedly representing the State of Louisiana by pissing on each other. What Mowbray left out was that Caldwell’s contract council, Allan “Show me the Money” Kanner and Judge Barbier have also been clashing repeatedly in the courtroom and it that was addressed in the Judge Barbier’s Order and Reasons:
The Louisiana Attorney General has objected to the creation of a hold-back account insofar as it applies to the State of Louisiana. Louisiana is one of only two Gulf Coast states that have filed claims in this MDL, the other being Alabama. Notably, the Attorney General for the State of Alabama long ago reached agreement with the PSC to work cooperatively to further their joint or aligned interests. Largely for this reason, the Court appointed Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange as Coordinating Counsel for the Gulf Coast States. The Court has on multiple occasions encouraged the State of Louisiana to cooperate with the PSC and the State of Alabama insofar as their interests are aligned versus the Defendants in this complex MDL. Rather than cooperate or attempt to work collaboratively, the State of Louisiana, through its retained private counsel, has instead often obstructed and frustrated the progress of the litigation. Continue reading “Competing Conflicts of Interest cause Gulf Coast Claims Facility to suspend payments: A periodic report from the gutter where its all going down.”
Well, ringy, dingy, dingy! Bum steer and Bum Deal rang a reader’s O’Bell about the bum move by Magnum’s firm “of counsel” Eric O’Bell – a class action suit filed a few weeks before Magnum sealed his deal with BP.
O’Bell filed Greenfield et al v. BP p.l.c. et al on June 8, 2010 in U.S. Federal Court, Eastern District Louisiana, where the case was assigned to Federal District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt. On the Complaint, O’Bell signed the Complaint on behalf of “The Law Offices of Eric O’Bell…Attorneys for the Plaintiffs”. After finding no documentation for “The Law Offices of Eric O’Bell”, I found Eric J. O’Bell, L.L.C and double-checked the Complaint to be certain the word “Attorneys” appears in the plural. It does.
Also on the Complaint are Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, a New York firm and “Attorneys for the Plaintiffs” and David M. Foster, P.C., of Farmington Hills, Michigan, “Attorneys for Plaintiff Alan R. Higgs” (Complaint in scribd format below)
On the 11th, Magnum told WWL that BP had ordered 32 of the devices he and his partner Kevin Costner were selling for use in the Gulf of Mexico; however, other sources indicate the contract was signed a week or so later.