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.”

Breaking News – Bossier v State Farm fully and finally settled

TEXT ONLY ORDER finding as moot [198] Motion to Alter Judgment; finding as moot [200] Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law; finding as moot [200] Motion for New Trial; finding as moot [204] Motion for Taxation of Costs; finding as moot [210] Motion to Review; and finding as moot [213] Motion to Review.

All motions are rendered moot in light of the announcement by counsel for the parties that this cause of action has been fully and finally settled. NO FURTHER WRITTEN ORDER SHALL ISSUE.

Signed by District Judge L. T. Senter, Jr., on January 12, 2010.

That’s the ballgame! No details available.

Breaking: State Farm files for mistrial in Bossier

I am locked up in a meeting this afternoon and just about spit my coffee when I saw the latest on Bossier.  In short, the Farm knows they are toast in Bossier and are now officially grasping for straws. Anita Lee, who is now offically part of the news cycle, reports for the Sun Herald:

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. denied State Farm’s motion for a mistrial before a jury returned to the courtroom for a fourth day of testimony Thursday in a Katrina case, Bossier vs. State Farm.

State Farm attorneys sought the mistrial because of an article in Thursday morning’s Sun Herald. The article reported on Senter’s suggestion that the attorneys get with their client, State Farm, and try to settle the case.

Senter polled the jury and found two of the eight jurors had been told that an article was in the newspaper but they did not hear anything about the content. Continue reading “Breaking: State Farm files for mistrial in Bossier”

Judge Senter dismisses jury briefly, suggests State Farm settle with Bossier (can you belive it?)

State Farm attorney Ben Mullen said the Mississippi Supreme Court only recently clarified that insurance companies bear the burden to prove water caused a loss before payment is denied.

Senter corrected him, saying, “That’s been the law since 1910, counsel.”

Anita Lee – of course – has the story for the Sun Herald – and what a story it is!  According to Lee, it all started when Bossier had just finished presenting evidence that he should be paid policy limits of $650,000 on his Hurricane Katrina claim.

Senter dismissed the jury, then heard State Farm’s argument that the policyholder’s case was so weak the judge should dismiss it without rebuttal from the insurance company. Senter rejected the motion, then suggested State Farm consider making an offer to policyholder Reginald “Ed” Bossier that would end the trial.

Senter said the record so far includes “some pretty tough stuff” pertaining to the insurance company. “See what you can come up with,” Senter told the attorneys, “and everybody can come out of this with a degree of honor.” Continue reading “Judge Senter dismisses jury briefly, suggests State Farm settle with Bossier (can you belive it?)”

Anita Lee covers Bossier v State Farm trial for the Sun Herald

Pupua admitted under questioning from Bossier’s attorney, Judy Guice, that he was unable to produce any of the reports he used because State Farm later conducted a “Hurricane sweep,” as Guice called it. The company ordered adjusters to return all Katrina documents, including e-mails and adjusting guidelines.

How thoughtful of the good neighbor!  Who would have ever guessed? Bossier’s counsel Judy Guice certainly wasn’t guessing!  Anita Lee reports on the trial of Bossier v State Farm in two stories for the Sun Herald – Wind versus water damage debated in State Farm case and Witness says wind, adjuster says water.   Lee’s first story provides background and covers the opening statements made by counsel for both parties:

Attorneys for Bossier and State Farm offered opening arguments Monday after eight jurors were selected to hear the case in U.S. District Court. The jury must decide whether Bossier is owed more than the total of $93,480 State Farm already has paid on a policy that provided about $650,000 in coverage.

State Farm contends water destroyed Bossier’s one-story home. Bossier argues State Farm wrongly shifted the burden to him to prove wind heavily damaged his home before the water arrived…

Guice told the jury State Farm adjusters were instructed to deny coverage when they were unable to distinguish wind from water damage. “The proof will show State Farm forced the insured to sue and prove his losses,” said Guice, who hopes to seek punitive damages if Bossier wins his case for policy limits in the trial’s first phase.

State Farm attorney Ben Mullen argued the insurance company denied coverage only for excluded water damage, as the policy dictates. He said testimony from the same eyewitness will show water had risen high enough by 8 a.m. to destroy the Bossier home in the Bayside Drive neighborhood.

Lee’s second story covers the Tuesday testimony of State Farm adjuster Tip Pupua: Continue reading “Anita Lee covers Bossier v State Farm trial for the Sun Herald”

…and the Saints go marching in Katrina litigation

Oh, the Lord works in mysterious ways.  For example, tomorrow the trial in Bossier v State Farm begins on – trumpets, please – on All Souls Day.  Today, however, we celebrate All Saints!

One could say the slabbed have some saints-in-the- making –  it really is a miracle a case ever gets to trial! For now, we’ll just call them angels:

The English word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos, which means ‘messenger’.

Three who come to mind are Coast attorneys Judy Guice, Deborah Trotter, and Rose Hurder.  Guice will take her message to court tomorrow; so, let’s take a look at the others – and, since the Saints will still be marching if I type fast enough to get ahead of the Souls, a look at New Light Baptist v State Farm seems the appropriate place to start.  If you need background, check Oh my God! State Farm files motion to compel New Light Baptist Church to supplement discovery and the update in September’s SLABBED Monthly.

I’ve been regularly checking PACER for weeks expecting to see that New Light’s counsel,Deborah Trotter, and State Farm had settled the case. When new items appeared on the docket Friday, it was clear the case had not settled (understatement).

…pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Plaintiff, New Light Baptist Church, will take the video deposition upon oral examination of one or more officers, directors or managing agents, or other designated person(s) who consents to testify on behalf of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company on December 14, 2009 and December 15, 2009, at the offices of Hickman, Goza & Spragins, 115 Homestead Drive, Madison, MS 39110, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

When you pull the Notice, you’ll find a detailed list of the information State Farm’s 30(b)(6) representative needs to be capable of discussing.  Trotter never fails to surprise me; yet, even knowing that, the last thing I was expecting was a Continue reading “…and the Saints go marching in Katrina litigation”

She’s Seabiscuit in a match with War Admiral – Bossier v State Farm

This is at least the third time State Farm has violated this Court’s discovery orders. It is apparent that neither State Farm nor its counsel feel any compunction concerning such violations.

Is there any misconduct by State Farm that will result in sanctions? That seems to be the question State Farm is asking this Court to answer. This Plaintiff and others who rely on the Court’s even-handed enforcement of its orders seek an answer as well.

The crowd that watched Seabiscuit race War Admiral was estimated at 40,000 – just slightly larger than the number of State Farm policyholders on the coast with claims subject to MID mediation:

The Pimlico Race Course, from the grandstands to the infield, was jammed solid with fans. Trains were run from all over the country to bring fans to the race, and the estimated 40,000 at the track were joined by some 40 million listening on the radio.

Comparable numbers who rely on the Court’s even-handed enforcement of its orders are watching this race for justice – and Bossier’s counsel, Coast attorney Judy Guice, says forget the roses; hang sanctions on State Farm!

Details are in Bossier’s Motion for Sanctions Under Rule 37(b) for Failure to Comply with Court Order of September 3, 2009, filed today in Katrina’s federal district court: Continue reading “She’s Seabiscuit in a match with War Admiral – Bossier v State Farm”