Anyone else remember……

Sometime back when the SRHS pension plan fiasco first entered the news cycle, the gang at the Hospital had an early set of talking points that included yammering about how the plan was a public sector plan and that ERISA did not apply (Slabbed debunked those talking points here). Today of course the pension plan litigation is back in state court exactly where SRHS originally said it belonged in those early statements. Except now they do not like the Chancellor assigned to the case.

Quietly and behind the scenes Slabbed has been getting some sage legal analysis from the local legal community. As is often the case I can’t disclose any of what has been shared but what I can do is point to what we already know and maybe gain a few clues about the forces at play. In short this is not about the Health System as much as it is about the folks that control it and the scrappy group of retirees that aren’t going down without a fight. We start with the latest:

Who has a conflict? Certainly not the judge on SRHS cases, retirees argue ~ Anita Lee

The Sun Herald linked a copy of the recusal opposition from retiree Cynthia Almond to accompany the story and it is a must download and read. Retiree lawyers Harvey Barton and Earl Denham turn the Hospital recusal motion on its head, pointing out the glaring legal conflicts that exist between SRHS and its law firm, especially at the time the acts that are the subject of the litigation were perpetrated.

We covered all this, the rumored insider transactions involving then Board Attorney Roy Williams, SRHS and companies owned in part by Mr. Williams’ sons. One of those related party transactions is now incredibly the subject of litigation between SRHS and Team Williams.  Aside from that lawsuit however, SRHS has faithfully stood by their law firm’s side ostensibly even accepting Mr. Williams’ son as their new Board attorney, even after Slabbed placed the proverbial cherry on top with new potential conflicts. Continue reading “Anyone else remember……”

Judge Windhorst’s problem with “abuse of discretion” on display in the Succession of Kenneth Carroll

The poor litigants in this case have Judge LaDart feeding the Beaver and evidently caught Judge Windhorst on a hangover on the recusal motion. The prevailing legal theory is Judge Windhorst will do less damage on the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In any event the below tells the tale.

Recuse again in the news as a fight is brewing in Gretna over Judge LaDart’s ability to call a case straight

We’ve covered the topic of recusal a time or two here on Slabbed and while the first link did not win us any fans in Judge Marty’s courtroom, it still stands today as Slabbed’s single most trafficked post as we scooped the national media yet received nary a hat tip from any of ’em though if memory served Becky Mowbray at the T-P termed the Slabbed Nation “detractors” for expecting an impartial judge in the drill moratorium case. Lest I digress.

In the case at hand the children of the late Kenneth Carroll are involved in a donnybrook  of a contested estate case with Carroll’s widow and my professional experience in these matters is that contested estates generally invite fee rape.  There are allegations Judge LaDart altered a court transcript and worse folks but the crux of the children’ argument is that LaDart is too close to lawyer Max Nathan to impartially dispense justice.  This is not the first time we’ve seen this argument used in the 24th JDC to get a Judge recused as this also happened in the divorce case involving Patrick and Julie Quinn after Patrick Quinn, acting pro se convinced Judge June Darensburg it was best to have Judge Steib step aside due to his close relationship with Julie Quinn’s attorney Wiley Beevers.

We do not have much use for Judge LaDart here on Slabbed and this is no secret so in a twist I’ll present the con arguments to the LaDart recusal motion as filed by Team Nathan for the executrix Isabel Wingerter below the jump.  Judge Steve Windhorst is now presiding. ~ sop Continue reading “Recuse again in the news as a fight is brewing in Gretna over Judge LaDart’s ability to call a case straight”

From the sordid past that just won’t die file: Corporate predator State Farm lied to the Illinois Supreme Court in landmark case.

That landmark case is Avery v State Farm and we have a few post on it here dating back to 2008.  As I remember State Farm defrauded its own customers with auto policies via aftermarket parts.  They lost and kept losing until the election for Supreme Court where they managed to get their whore, Lloyd Karmeier elected and ol’ Lloydie was the deciding vote in tossing the case from the Illinois Supreme Court.  Well folks it turns out State Farm was using straw men and front groups to fund their whore and it is seeing the light of day.  From the Chicage Tribune:

Lawyers in a class-action case accuse insurance giant State Farm of defrauding the Illinois Supreme Court by covering up its support of the Republican candidate in the most expensive state judicial race in U.S. history.

Those attorneys, including former television star and U.S. senator Fred Thompson, allege State Farm lied and mislead the court, hiding its “extraordinary support of Justice (Lloyd) Karmeier’s campaign and to thwart Justice Karmeier’s disqualification.”

A petition was filed last week, asking the court to reconsider its decision to void a $1 billion verdict against State Farm. The petition is based on an investigation by former FBI agent Michael Reece. Continue reading “From the sordid past that just won’t die file: Corporate predator State Farm lied to the Illinois Supreme Court in landmark case.”

SLABBED (not exactly) Daily – August 5, 2010

On a slow news day – or a day when it’s not so hot – any one of these stories could take an entire post to cover.  However, today is neither and without going further, here is news you can use:

Making a diagnosis of “improper influence” requires a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. Not only is it unrealistic to think we can eradicate all judicial biases, instincts, leanings or interests, however termed, but it is also unwise. We want our judges to live in the real world, so that they can bring their life experiences and common sense to the table when deciding cases. Judges must remain “partial” to some influences, therefore, like the case law, and controlling statutes, and perhaps even basic standards of decency and morality, too. As The New York Times recently cited, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s view on recusal was that if a justice’s mind was “a complete tabula rasa” in relevant respects, it “would be evidence of lack of qualification, not lack of bias.”

While I hope you’ll follow all the links, but by all means, read this opinion post on recusal from Law.com.

  • Staying with matters of public policy for the moment, let’s talk unemployment rates. Online news is filled with stories like this about the uptick in unemployment rates – and all appear to have been written by someone clueless about the issue.

Here’s a clue – anyone reporting on the increase should start by defining “seasonal”. Continue reading “SLABBED (not exactly) Daily – August 5, 2010”

Meet Judge Helen "Ginger" Berrigan. Another Louisiana Eastern District Judge with a recusal problem.

Judge Berrigan also has problems getting insurance cases right. In Berrigan’s case, she has never met an insurance company or murderer she failed to like. In this video clip, Professor Carl Bernofsky explains how he was Berriganed and how she refused to recuse herself despite a clear-cut conflict of interest.  Carl is the moderator of Tulane Link and until Slabbed has been a lone voice in the wilderness on problems in the Louisiana Eastern District Courts.

[googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5203601110730482074]

Putting in the fix and giving them the Feldman Part 2: Slabbed explores the seemingly foreign concept of recusal in the Louisiana Eastern District Federal Courts as we tie a few more things together.

Subsection 455(b)(4) requires disqualification where a judge “knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.” Section 455(d)(4) defines “financial interest” for the purposes of section 455(b), and provides specific exemptions, such as investment in a mutual fund or ownership of government securities. Note that, apart from such exemptions, even the smallest financial interest (e.g., ownership of a single share of stock) requires recusal. It is a judge’s duty to keep abreast of all of his or her financial interests.

Te above text from Recusal: Analysis of Case Law Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 455 & 144 found at the Federal Judicial Center has provided us with a treasure trove of information. As is often the case what appear to be unrelated events in Louisiana there are often common roots.  My research on the landmark recusal case I cited yesterday on Jim Brown’s Common Sense, Liljeberg v Health Services Acquisition Corporation led to this post which is also one heck of a story, one that will bring us from that case in the 1980s to the current impeachment of disgraced Louisiana Eastern District Court Federal Judge Tom Porteous and several points in between.

We need to catch our readers up to a key concept that we’ve highlighted several times here on Slabbed in the concept of control in politics and the judiciary. Many times those that run for office or nominated for judgeships are mere lackeys for monied interests. A very wealthy South Mississippian that is well respected in the business community told me something long ago that introduced me to the concept:

Some people want money. Some people want the power. I always wanted money because money rents power. Continue reading “Putting in the fix and giving them the Feldman Part 2: Slabbed explores the seemingly foreign concept of recusal in the Louisiana Eastern District Federal Courts as we tie a few more things together.”

BREAKING: Who Dat Judge Martin Feldman owned Exxon-Mobile when he heard agruments in the deep water drill ban. Slabbed again calls for his immediate removal from the bench and impeachment.

So far the AP has mangled the story but the Wall Street Journal caught Feldman’s dirty little problem and it is there we begin:

Legal documents released Friday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reveal that U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman sold his holdings in Exxon Mobil Corp. on Tuesday, the same day he blocked the Obama administration’s drilling moratorium.

Exxon Mobil was among the companies using drilling rigs whose operations were suspended under the administration’s moratorium, according to Exxon spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman.

According to federal law, federal judges are required to step aside from cases that present financial conflicts. Continue reading “BREAKING: Who Dat Judge Martin Feldman owned Exxon-Mobile when he heard agruments in the deep water drill ban. Slabbed again calls for his immediate removal from the bench and impeachment.”

"Who Dat" Judge Martin Feldman owned Ocean EnergyTransocean Stock as late as May 14, 2010. Slabbed calls for his immediate removal from the bench and impeachment.

To our readers across the world: The people here in the Gulf South are slaves to political idealogues that populate our court system and masquerade as judges. We’re madder than hell and we’re not going to take it any more.

This is why no one should EVER let Joe the Plumber do their thinking for them. And Joe, so you know boubie, we question Feldman’s partiality here at Slabbed because we know the man, inside and out, from the way he butchered the insurance litigation after Katrina in favor of big insurance companies. You have been freed from moderation because I’d love to hear what the GOP from Ohio has to say about this.  (This person is not really Joe but is someone from Ohio that is just as dumb, maybe even dumber.)

Without further adieu I’ve embedded some of Feldman’s recent work below the fold from the cases of  Williams v Transocean and Cajun Offshore Charters v Transocean. Feldman thinks admits to he still owns Transocean on May 14, 2010. There is also another conflict on Feldman’s part where he admits one of the law firms involved in the litigation does his personal legal work but still he refuses to recuse himself. (H/T a member of the Slabbed Nation) Continue reading “"Who Dat" Judge Martin Feldman owned Ocean EnergyTransocean Stock as late as May 14, 2010. Slabbed calls for his immediate removal from the bench and impeachment.”

Slabbed covers the coverage of the story we broke to the world on Katrina's "Who Dat" Judge Martin Feldman.

I’ve received quite the education in the workings of the media since Katrina and never cease to be amazed how those that supposedly see things as they are (ie journalists) over PR spin are impacted by the same cognitive biases that afflict the rest of us mere mortals. Since we broke the news contained on Judge Martin Feldman’s 2008 financial disclosure form regarding his affinity for oil related stocks, the media have woven that facet into most every report on Feldman’s ruling yesterday blocking President Obama’s drilling moratorium. Simply put it appears results oriented Judge Feldman has a huge conflict of interest here, one that his backers will not be able to wish away and sweep under the carpet New Orleans style.

Normally one would expect the best reporting on this would come from the local media outlets and indeed some have done a masterful job covering this story. Sadly, the regions premiere newspaper The Times Picayune has chosen to circle the wagons around Judge Feldman and break out the pom poms rather than explore how Feldman’s ruling is now tainted. Becky Mowbray, a fine journalist who has done some fantastic reporting on the scams insurers employed to dump their wind claim obligations on the National Flood Insurance Program and whose work we have featured on stabbed more times than I can count took a journalistic leave of absence in favor of pom poms and it is with her story we begin:

A federal judge in New Orleans blocked the Obama administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling Tuesday, prohibiting the government from enforcing the six-month drilling ban announced just weeks after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that many in Louisiana fear will be economically devastating. Continue reading “Slabbed covers the coverage of the story we broke to the world on Katrina's "Who Dat" Judge Martin Feldman.”