Worth repeating take note: Let’s talk Paul Connick Sr. and his son Dutchie Connick

From my comment on Slabbed solves the mystery on the shores of the Tusket River in Nova Scotia as we reveal the Trout Point connection to the Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal

Paying people as Paralegals that did not report to work has been a time-honored practice dating back to the Tim Coulon days as Parish Prez. Of course we all know Tom Wilkinson was Coulon’s guy for Parish attorney.

Slabbed of course was on this topic “first with the most” way back in February 2010 courtesy of Telemachus when the name Paul Connick Sr entered the lexicon of the Slabbed.

To their credit Channel 6, working quietly in the background on this matter in July of last year checked in with this:

But Parker Broussard isn’t the only one on the list with political ties in Jefferson Parish. Also listed as a paralegal is Paul Connick Sr. Continue reading “Worth repeating take note: Let’s talk Paul Connick Sr. and his son Dutchie Connick”

The Times Picayune calls for a Federal investigation into Jefferson Parish payroll fraud. Does the ‘Gretna Mentality’ slab US Attorney Jim Letten?

Is October the month indictments finally come down? Will DA Paul Connick, who has known about these allegations at least as long as everyone else, finally emerge from hiding and do his job? Is Jim Letten stonewalling the investigation as some folks allege? Unfortunately today’s Times Picayune Op Ed on the general subject of public payroll fraud in Jefferson Parish Government did not provide the answers to any of these questions but we do appreciate their editorial position and in fact applaud it.

The comments to it convey a good sense of the various cross sections public opinion on this topic.  I’m going to focus on the very real frustration with US Attorney Jim Letten which echos some of what I’ve been told by several folks both off blog and on.  While not a majority viewpoint IMHO the frustration is real and the allegations troubling. In light of the recent senate proceedings in the impeachment of Judge Tom Porteous the commenter has an appropriate name to boot: Gretna Mentality which is a kissing cousin to our own recent use of term ‘Gretna Style’. Here is the remark:

This is what happens when you allow US Attorneys to be selected by Politicians. When David Vitter holds off the appointment of other federal post because he demands that James Letten be assured a job you have to wonder why a whore is protecting a whore of a US Attorney. Letten is nothing more than another sleazebag corrupt lawyer himself. The record is public, Kurt Engelhardt was David Vitters Campaign manager, and somehow David Vitter managed to pay for whores in New Orleans for years without ever spending his own money. Continue reading “The Times Picayune calls for a Federal investigation into Jefferson Parish payroll fraud. Does the ‘Gretna Mentality’ slab US Attorney Jim Letten?”

Breaking News! Judge dismisses RICO suit against Dick Scruggs and SMBD

With pleasure I eat ↑ (some of) my my words about Judge Keith Starrett who followed the law despite the fact his resulting Order dismissed the RICO case against Dick Scruggs and SMBD; i.e., Young v Scruggs:

Defendant Richard F. Scruggs was a highly successful trial lawyer who gained international fame from settlements with large tobacco companies. The plaintiffs, who are both attorneys, worked for Scruggs, Millette, Bozeman and Dent, P.A, (“SMBD”) a law firm and predecessor to defendant SMBD. The plaintiffs assert that they dedicated a large part of their legal career to assisting the defendants in obtaining the tobacco settlements.

On July 1, 1999, the plaintiffs entered into written agreements with the defendants which provided for the plaintiffs’ services in the tobacco litigation. The plaintiffs were employees of and not shareholders in the firm. As part of their compensation for services rendered in certain tobacco litigation, SMBD agreed to pay each plaintiff five percent of the net attorney fees the firm received from the tobacco litigation. Their agreement calculated “net fees” after certain deductions from gross proceeds, including fees due to other associated attorneys and “any other obligations by [the] firm in connection with tobacco litigation other than obligations to firm shareholders.” SMBD paid the plaintiffs through regular quarterly payments.

During and after the tobacco litigation, the defendants were involved in attorney fee disputes with Alwyn Luckey and William Roberts Wilson, both of whom claimed damages from fees earned in earlier asbestos litigation through association with the defendants. Luckey and Wilson also both sought a portion of the defendants’ tobacco attorney fees under a constructive trust theory, i.e., they should recover a portion of the defendants’ tobacco attorney fees because (they claimed) Scruggs and SMBD used asbestos fees due them to finance the tobacco litigation…

This court has previously addressed a similar issue in a RICO claim brought by Wilson and Luckey against the defendants and others for recovery of asbestos and tobacco attorney fees. In that case, Wilson and Luckey alleged that defendant Scruggs had committed predicate acts in furtherance of a scheme to deprive them of attorney fees. Wilson v. Scruggs, No. 3:02cv25TSL, slip op. at 16 (S.D. Miss. Sept. 29, 2003). In granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, Judge Lee found that the alleged predicate acts did not meet the “continuity” requirement because they were all alleged to be “pursuant to a single effort to effectuate a single wrong against no one other than” Wilson and Luckey...

The plaintiffs’ allegations of racketeering activity are composed of nearly identical claims Continue reading “Breaking News! Judge dismisses RICO suit against Dick Scruggs and SMBD”

Scruggs defendants file Rebuttal in support of Motion to Dismiss Young v Scruggs

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap

Even with the pleadings reported in The Barriester’s Dream – Plaintiffs’ Oppose Scruggs’ Motion to Dismiss, Scruggs refused the role of  Snark in this latest filing in Young v Scruggs, Defendants’ Rebuttal Brief in Support of their Motion to Dismiss:

Plaintiffs’ RICO claims do not fail because of a technical misstep; they fail because the series of events alleged in the Complaint and the RICO Statement do not rise to the level of a RICO violation which entitles Plaintiffs to that statute’s special remedies.

The brief states, There is no magic language Plaintiffs can add to their pleadings to create a RICO cause of action. Believe me, there is also no magic language to make a discussion of law related to serving Richard Scruggs with process interesting reading.  The rest, however, is interesting reading and an apt reminder that RICO is not something you just toss out to get your case in federal court.

Defendants Scruggs et al make three clear arguments for dismissing Plaintiffs’ RICO claims: Continue reading “Scruggs defendants file Rebuttal in support of Motion to Dismiss Young v Scruggs”

The Barriester’s Dream – Plaintiffs’ Oppose Scruggs’ Motion to Dismiss

He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
On the charge of deserting its sty.

Plaintiffs Lee Young and Charles Mikhail, Young v Scruggs, have filed a because-we-say-it-isn’t-so-Opposition to Scruggs’ Motion to Dismiss. Admittedly, I’m not an attorney, so I may err in thinking a judge should not be asked to grade papers and give them back for correction; but… Continue reading “The Barriester’s Dream – Plaintiffs’ Oppose Scruggs’ Motion to Dismiss”

Scruggs files a nothing here, move on Motion to Dismiss Young v Scruggs

After reading Eastland’s response for Patterson in the Wilson v Scruggs RICO case, it is difficult to disagree with the legal arguments of the Motion to Dismiss that Dick Scruggs filed in  Young v Scruggs; for example:

Plaintiffs’ pleadings fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Defendants engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity. Even if proven, Plaintiff’s allegations could not establish that any predicate acts posed a threat of continued criminal activity, as all of the alleged predicate acts mentioned in Plaintiffs’ Complaint are related to a single, discrete, otherwise lawful transaction.

The Memorandum Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss provides background and more about the basis for the Motion:

This case relates to Plaintiffs’ demands for money from Defendants Richard F. Scruggs and SMBD, Inc., their employer, under an attorney fee agreement signed in July 1999. Plaintiffs seek damages for Defendants’ decision in July 2005 to charge Plaintiffs with responsibility for satisfying a portion of a federal court judgment rendered against Defendants. Plaintiffs also seek damages for the residual effect of Defendants’ payment of certain legal fees to a law firm which represented Defendants in another litigated matter.

Plaintiffs pursue their quests for money under a variety of legal theories, including RICO, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. This Court should dismiss some or all of Plaintiffs’ claims. First, Plaintiffs have failed to sufficiently serve process on Richard Scruggs. Second, Plaintiffs have failed to state a RICO claim upon which relief can be granted. With dismissal of the RICO claims, this Court should decline to retain supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. Even if this Court does retain jurisdiction, the applicable statute of limitations bars Plaintiffs’ claims related to the July 2005 decision to allocate responsibility to Plaintiffs for satisfying a portion of the federal court judgment. Continue reading “Scruggs files a nothing here, move on Motion to Dismiss Young v Scruggs”

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”