Gentleman start your attorney! Phil Bryant may not smell oil on the coast but the bar smells money. Slabbed updates the Oil Spill.

This post has a little something for everyone as the media frenzy on BP’s little mess is exceeded only by the feeding frenzy of the legal profession as seemingly every ambulance chasing lawyer in the nation has descended upon the Gulf Coast like a swarm of locusts. And we have some video for those folks that are wondering what the heck Jefferson Parish Council at large members John Young and Tom Capella are doing these days besides suing the blogosphere as it appears they are hunting a new washed up celebrity to pal around with as their boy Steven Seagal is currently out of the picture (due to recent accusations involving making a staffer his sex slave during filming of reality TeeVee show). Well, either that or they are cuddling up with the managing partner of Wendell Gautheir’s old firm, John Houghtaling, hoping they can finagle a redo of the Pan AM Flight 759 crash from 1982 when then Kenner mayor Aaron Broussard managed to steer the boys at the Gautheir firm the lion’s share of the after crash legal work. Lets begin with this Channel 4 video of a washed up Kevin Costner, the gang from Jefferson Parish and Costner’s contraption which he claims will cure the slick:

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more about “New Orleans News, Local News, Breakin…“, posted with vodpod

So with much of the gang in Jefferson Parish accounted for let’s shift over to New Orleans City Business and Ben Myers who covered the attorney problem a bit over a week ago: Continue reading “Gentleman start your attorney! Phil Bryant may not smell oil on the coast but the bar smells money. Slabbed updates the Oil Spill.”

Is there a doctor in the court? Patterson

…if this Court does find Wilson’s Amended Complaint deficient in any respect Wilson respectfully prays that he be given opportunity to amend his complaint to cure whatsoever deficiencies the Court might find.

While team Wilson was praying Judge Hittner would prescribe a cure, Defendant Steve Patterson’s attorney, Hiram Eastland, filed a Rebuttal declaring the deficiencies fatal.

Plaintiff’s opposition fails to resolve any of the shortcomings addressed in Mr.Patterson’s Motion to Dismiss. From denying the existence of a heightened pleading standard for fraud, to reiterating the same legally insufficient factual allegations, Wilson can point to nothing that would save his complaint from dismissal.

After finding there was “nothing that would save” Wilson’s complaint, Eastland eviscerated Wilson’s Opposition to Patterson’s Motion for Dismissal.

Plaintiff has failed to shed any new light on his Amended Complaint that would allow it to endure against Mr. Patterson. All of the fatal flaws that are reiterated in this reply exist for a reason: this is simply not a RICO case.

Eastland’s arguments, while specific to Patterson, have implications for other defendants and/or other litigation,, particularly those where the distinction between unethical and unlawful conduct has been blurred : Continue reading “Is there a doctor in the court? Patterson”

Breaking News – Wilson v Scruggs settles!

Remember Eastland dismantles RICO claim in Wilson v Scruggs? Well, he sure ‘nuf did – although Patsy Brumfield broke the story in the Daily Journal before I could get to my computer:

Roberts Wilson Jr.’s multi-million-dollar lawsuit against imprisoned ex-attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs has come to an end – it’s been settled, Wilson’s attorney, Charlie Merkel of Clarksdale tells the Daily Journal.

Wilson sued Scruggs and others, accusing them of not paying what he was owed years ago for his part in national asbestos litigation. He also claimed they owed him for using his fees to bankroll other national lawsuits, which yielded mega-fees for the attorneys involved.

One of those “others” was Scruggs co-defendant Steve Patterson and Eastland’s motion to dismiss the RICO case was written in his role as Counsel for Patterson. Continue reading “Breaking News – Wilson v Scruggs settles!”

Constructive Trust oxymoron in Wilson v Scruggs as Eastland dismantles RICO claim

oxymoron [oksee maw ron] expression with contradictory words; a phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect

First, there was the vision of Roberts Wilson and his attorney Charles Merkel sitting ringside when Dick Scruggs is in court reminding me of my overly eager former mother-in-law —  although, to her credit, a trip to Piccadilly would satisfy her desire for a free lunch.  A vision of constructive trust that is not.

Then, there is the matter of mind-boggling dispute reported last week in the Clarion Ledger creating a vision of  “granny Bobs” and “nanny” Merkel each with purse in hand.  A vision of constructive trust that is not:

The federal government that prosecuted multimillionaire Dickie Scruggs and a former law partner who says he’s owed millions are battling over money paid to sway a judge in Scruggs’ favor.

Defendant Steve Patterson’s Motion to Dismiss, filed by Greenwood attorney Hiram Eastland,, thoroughly dismantles Wilson’s RICO case.  Any vision Wilson had of RICO pouring Scruggs’ money in his purse and Merkel’s had to have been, instead, a hallucination.

A vision of “constructive trust”  that is not: Continue reading “Constructive Trust oxymoron in Wilson v Scruggs as Eastland dismantles RICO claim”

The past that isn’t even past – and the present of Paul Minor

Attorneys for Paul Minor  filed an emergency release motion with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday seeking his immediate release while the court deliberates his appeal.

It is the last chance Minor will get to see his wife before her imminent death.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., reported the story on the Huffington Post and, to some, he has become the story.

Federal troops on patrol in Oxford, Mississippi 1962 "The Ghosts of Mississippi" (Wright Thompson, CNN)

Outraged by his suggestion Minor has committed no crime other than being the number one donor to Democratic candidates in Mississippi, you’d think he was the Kennedy enrolling Meredith in Ole Miss. Faulkner was right, The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even pastContinue reading “The past that isn’t even past – and the present of Paul Minor”

Breaking News: Benavides replaces Owen on 5th Circuit panel hearing Minor appeal

Yesterday, Y’all Politics reported Paul Minor’s attorney Hiram Eastland petitioned Judge Pricilla Owen to step aside on appeal.  The Y’all post included a copy of Eastland’s letter to Judge Owen.

Having recently been notified that you are to serve on the panel of United States v. Paul S. Minor, No. 07-6075], I respectfully write to call to your attention matters of which you may not be aware in connection with this case. In summary, the matters relate to the intersection between this case and Karl Rove, former adviser to the President. Public sources report that you have a professional and persona] relationship with Mr. Rove. They report that Mr. Rove served as your campaign manager for your election to the Texas Supreme Court and that he received the sum of $250,000 for that engagement. Public sources also report that you and Mr. Rove are personal friends and have been for some time. Similarly, Mr. Rove was a forceful proponent of your nomination to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Exh.1; Exh. 2…

Obviously, you are in a better position than anyone to evaluate the question best described by the court  in Jordan.  We bring this matter to your attention so that you can make an informed judgment. Please accept this letter and information in the most respectful spirit in which it is intended.

Eastland’s mannerly presentation of the issues had an impact.  Sources in Texas tell SLABBED that Judge Owen stepped aside this morning and Judge Benavides has been appointed to replace her on the panel hearing Minor’s appeal.

Another Minor matter at the 5th Circuit – Hiram Eastland

Paul Minor and former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman now have more in common than the interest of the House Committee investigating selective prosecution by the Department of Justice.


Appearance form filed by Hiram C Eastland for Appellant Paul S Minor.

Bellesouth found this on the Docket at the 5th Circuit – still no accessible copy of the Appeal filed on the 19th; however, the Docket also indicates co-defendant Teel will file an Appeal by the end of the month.

Updates will continue as information becomes available.

Siegelman’s release should answer “Eastland” who?

Former Governor Siegelman’s release should resolve questions asked when Steve Patterson selected Greenwood (MS) attorney Hiram Eastland to represent him in USA v Scruggs.

Has Eastland ever in his life handled a criminal case…to the best of my knowledge no one has ever considered him a “go-to” guy for criminal work.

I’ll say this in public, and not much more: Hiram Eastland is a lowish level political operative, not a lawyer. In the sort of fix Patterson is in, there is no skill Eastland has I know of that you would need. Coghlan is a real criminal defense lawyer, and I would assume had nothing to do with bringing in the, um, extra talent.

It seems the, um, extra talent, came in handy for the former Alabama Governor – and unlike some in Mississippi, um, the folks at CNN and Talking Points knew the go-to guy when the story broke.

As the lead appellate counsel on Siegelman’s legal team, Eastland developed the legal theories and wrote the briefs that the 11th Circuit agreed with in freeing the former Alabama Governor while his appeal is pending.

Looks like we’ll have the opportunity to hear this profound story when Siegelman testifies before Congress in May. It’s anyone’s guess if or when the profound story of USA v Scruggs will be told – but there’s no need to keep second-guessing Eastland’s claim there’s one to tell.