The business world always slows down in advance of the Christmas holiday so yesterday I took advantage and headed to US District Court in New Orleans and a major pretrial hearing in the Heather Hilliard civil suit against Jefferson Parish. The hearing was attended by all the finest people but before I get to that the following is spreading like wildfire in the NOLA legal community:
Judge berates lawyer in OPP case as new jail’s opening is delayed again ~ Jim Mustian
The judge also raised concerns Wednesday that the sprawling jail litigation has become “overlawyered,” noting Gusman now has two private law firms handling the case, while Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration also has engaged two firms. The city remains actively involved in the litigation because state law requires it to pay for inmate care.
Williams, of the firm Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams, has joined attorney Blake Arcuri and the Usry, Weeks & Matthews firm in providing legal services to the sheriff. The city, meanwhile, has relied on Harry Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney who works for the firm Phelps Dunbar, and Ralph Capitelli, of Capitelli & Wicker, in addition to the advice of City Attorney Sharonda Williams.
The mounting legal fees are being doled out even as the city and the Sheriff’s Office continue to fight over how to spend limited resources on changes at the jail. “The taxpayers are paying for it at the end of the day,” Africk said.
It’s not clear why Gusman decided to hire a second law firm, though the sheriff has faced a torrent of litigation prompted by OPP’s violent conditions, even apart from the consent decree proceedings.
Spokespeople for Gusman and Landrieu did not respond to questions Wednesday about how much the Sheriff’s Office and city are paying the attorneys.
Its only money after all folks. Maybe Judge Africk remembered this: Continue reading “Looks like I was in the wrong courtroom yesterday…..”
And it is only right that Slabbed reveal those sides given that I broke the coverage of management team turmoil in the Young Administration back in January, 2012 which was joined almost immediately by the big media outlets in NOLA. The story went straight down into the gutter with tales of workplace sexual harassment that used terms like “Thong Thursday”, “Booty Call” and “Ass Chaps” in reference to certain female employees or official acts involving them.
Employees resigned under duress and eventually the female employee that brought the original complaint, Heather Hilliard, was terminated. She then filed suit against Jefferson Parish, ultimately hiring Bobby Truitt to represent her. This story’s time in the sun has mostly passed but just like with Bay Tech I kept a watchful eye on PACER and I have a doc from earlier this week in the case that I gotta share. But then today an Easter egg came in the form of the deposition of a member of John Young’s security detail that is simply priceless and it is there we begin as Slabbed explores the many sides of Parish Prez John Young:
There’s 365 days to a year, 30 days to a month, whatever, 12 months to a year, however you want to look at it. John Young’s got 365 dispositions, okay? One for each day, so pick a day.
I can’t imagine this witness we be seen by the defense as being helpful to their cause as the former bodyguard felt like John Young did not treat his security detail with respect: Continue reading “Heather Hilliard litigation reveals the many sides of Parish Prez John Young….”
Folks don’t get mad, get Slabbed. I’m not certain why Ms. Hilliard changed counsel midstream but I certainly think she nabbed a fine lawyer. Newbies can find vital background here and here plus generally here. It is another example of a Slabbed scoop on the Jefferson Parish beat.
I’ve had a few things in my inbox on this and the Broussard flood suit for well over a month that need examining. Plus this Jefferson Parish hospital deal has people talking and they are not talking about the extensive coverage afforded to Councilmen Chris Roberts and Ben Zahn by NOLA.com and the Advocate or the quality of care provided by the various competitors to the deal. I’ll see if I can get something semi coherent together on that issue while I have a sliver of time to spare. It sounds like classic cesspool politics based on what I know at present.
The latest email blast from Jefferson Parish Citizens for Good Government came late last night. Speaking of Ben Zahn:
Supporters of Good Government:
The Jefferson Parish Council will meet this Wednesday, September 18th at 10 a.m. on the West Bank at the General Government Building. As we have been doing at every council meeting for the past three years, Citizens for Good Government will again present information from our Campaign Contribution Table shown below. The information which we present is summary information which supplements the contractor campaign contribution information read aloud by Council Clerk Eula Lopez. We have factually and precisely identified the entries in our table as total campaign contributions of at least $1,000 made during the PAST FOUR YEARS to our councilmembers by contractors and subcontractors on whom the Jefferson Parish Council is scheduled to vote at the next council meeting. The contractors and subcontractors in our table were obtained from resolutions in the Agenda for the council meeting and from the affidavits attached to the online Agenda Items. Continue reading “I hear Heather Hilliard has a new lawyer: Jefferson Parish Omnibus”
I guess it is only natural my email inbox got a workout late yesterday afternoon after Former Young Administration CAA Heather Hilliard filed suit against Jefferson Parish since Slabbed trail blazed the subject of Hilliard’s battles with Young’s former Deputy COO Richard Hart. In fact Slabbed was there in early 2011 with news that Hart was widely considered a snake in the grass reminscent of self admitted felon/POS Tim Whitmer by my peeps at the Yenni Building months before Hart’s name surfaced in the mass media. So along those lines when open hostilities commenced Slabbed was again there “first with the most” and the story crossed into the mass media.
I would like to make one small request of Team Hilliard now that Slabbed is picking up coverage of the lawsuit:
Ditch the watermark. Click the pic to get the 10 9 page pdf:
I hate to sound callous but I saw this coming with the very first set of posts I did on the Richard Hart-Heather Hilliard conflict. Rich Rainey has all the skinny.
Is Hilliard a whistle blower? No. Did how her complaint of harassment against Hart was handled set the bar for how these type of employment issues would and should be handled in the future? Absolutely because it was handled right despite the attempted interference on part of COO Chris Cox.
Yes, Hart well deserved the chop shop for his slaughterhouse management style but sources have consistently told Slabbed since the early days that Hilliard was in over her head as a CAO. Both illustrate a consistent criticism I’ve heard about the Young Administration that many members of his senior management team are long on legal/professional credentials and very short on practical management experience. I’ll add no amount of experience can help someone with Hart’s personality type, which is well suited for industries like construction that need strong willed a-holes to push jobs to completion.
That said debacles like the Hart-Hilliard saga are certainly giving those previously uninitiated in the art of management in team Young a very quick education.