I’m very close to tying several things together

The Wino has been talking folks and now the previously blind now see.  It is not for the faint of heart.

Let’s think business/socially and make some connections.  We need to go back to the late legendary trial lawyer Wendell Gauthier.  He is the tie that binds all of the major power players in Jefferson Parish and his legacy, like that of NFL great head coaches lie in the legacy of former assistants that made good on their own.  In this case “making good” meaning rising to the top of the cesspool in Jefferson Parish.

Aaron Broussard traces his early roots to Gauthier via the Pan Am Crash litigation (and before). So does Danny Abel and Vaughn Perret.  We know from published reports that Calvin Fayard fits in.  We also know that Calvin Fayard is closely associated with Hugh Sibley.  Sibley in turn was closely associated with Pravin Desai via his son Nipun “Nick” Desai.  Our recent review of our Trout Point and Cerro Coyote coverage featured Desai’s Super 8 Motel on Clearview, a major commercial property with a zero tax assessment.  We also know that Aaron Broussard and Danny Abel used that address in court filings forming the “legal department” there thus we come full circle.

We also have some very tantalizing news accounts of problems in Canada with major banks engaging in money laundering including Scotia Bank, which also had operations in Costa Rica.

By now I think I’ve made my point in saying that former Slabbed commenter Telemachus was featured so prominently in Trout Point Lodge, Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret’s Nova Scotia SLAPP suit against Slabbed not because he ever made fun of them because he didn’t. Rather, Telemachus was dangerous to them for another reason Continue reading “I’m very close to tying several things together”

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 2.

To repeat part of the lead from Part 1, rarely am I presented with a topic that neatly ties in so many concepts previously presented on Slabbed, such as cognative bias.  For purposes of this post cognative bias involving the media as we again visit with Matt Labash at the hard line GOP media resource The Weekly Standard. We profiled Matt’s 1998 profile of  the Castano Group of trial lawyers that took down big tobacco before training their sites on the nation’s gun manufacturers in part 1, where I labeled Matt’s story a “hit piece” and it is true it was one and beyond my own opinion I’ll add I’m merely repeating Matt’s 2006 description of his first profile of Wendell Gauthier, Danny Abel et al thus the post title. In the interim and despite the earlier “hit piece” Matt ended up befriending Abel and using his NOLA area contacts to write a second story on the big easy for the Weekly Standard, this time post Katrina plus 6 months that I thought was simply excellent. Before we highlight some of that story’s high points we need to fill in a bit of the gap between the death of Gauthier and Hurricane Katrina for Trout Point Lodge/La Ferme D’Acadie owner Danny Abel and his boy toy sidekick Shane (D’Antoni) Gates and for that we need to highlight one of  Abel’s true life literary adventures in OUTGUNNED: The First Complete Insider Account of the Battle Over Gun Control. Luckily for all of us Abel’s co-author Peter Brown has been kind enough to share his thoughts on the endeavor with the Slabbed Nation but before we delve into the lawsuit Abel and his boy toy Shane Gates recently filed against Mr Brown using the legal services of Aaron Broussard we must first visit with a 3rd party review of the book, which Brown claims was a complete flop:

Meanwhile, Outgunned, by journalist Peter Harry Brown and trial attorney Daniel G. Abel, is about what’s happening in the here and now. More specifically, the book is a sympathetic look at the efforts of a nationwide consortium of trial lawyers (including Abel) who called themselves the “Castano Group,” and who took on the gun industry in the late 1990s. Why are these lawyers particularly interesting? While it’s true that others had already tried to sue the gun industry (including in a well-publicized New York litigation), the Castano lawyers were different. In the world of the plaintiff’s bar, they were the A-Team. They had resources, connections, and experience–including the experience of winning a $346 billion settlement from the tobacco companies. They were also ambitious. Beginning in 1998, the Castano lawyers launched anti-gun suits in cities across the country–until more than 30 state and local governments were involved in litigation against the gun industry.

The Castano lawyers knew this would be extremely challenging litigation and were proven correct–most of it has floundered or failed. So why did they do it? Not for the cash, insist the authors, who point out that the gun Companies do not have the same deep pockets as Big tobacco and could never offer the same kind of rich settlement that the tobacco litigation yielded. But even if one accepts that the lawyers’ motives were largely pure (maybe they were, maybe they weren’t)–and, indeed, even if one discounts their failures in court–Outgunned is not a book that inspires great confidence in the potential of litigation to solve the nation’s most vexing policy issues.

It also is not a very reflective or analytic book. To be fair, Outgunned bills itself as an “insider account of the battle over gun control.” This is meant to be juicy stuff, not a policy tract. But without much critical argument to distract the reader, the book bogs down in a muck of appalling details about the Castano lawyers who are supposed to be our heroes–facts that the authors unabashedly trot out and never successfully excuse. The key players include well-connected Washington, D.C., lawyer John Coale–who is called “the clown prince of the legal world”–and Cincinnati’s Stanley Chesley, a.k.a. the “sultan of settlement.” But the lion’s share of the limelight is reserved for the book’s co-author Abel and his partner, Wendell Gauthier, with whom Abel bonded at the site of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India. Ah yes, those were the days. “While an elephant chased Gauthier through the streets of India,” recall the authors, “Abel crept over terrain with thickets full of cobras to spy on the Union Carbide plant.” Continue reading “Laissez les bons temps rouler! Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 2.”

Actually Matt, you had this one called right to begin with. Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 1.

Rarely am I presented with a topic that neatly ties in so many legal concepts we’ve advocated here on Slabbed such as ordinary citizens losing their basic constitutional rights under the ruse of  Tort Reform and as luck would have it, this area was used as the poster child for the need to strip ordinary citizens across this country of their constitutional rights so my sources on this topic can’t be better placed.  The story includes all the finest corrupt trial lawyers from the now incarcerated Dick Scruggs to Calvin Fayard and beyond.  It also includes a group of gay men we affectionately call the girls here on Slabbed that were affiliated with Wendell Gauthier.  Luckily for me I don’t have to reinvent the wheel as two articles in the conservative publication the Weekly Standard well tells the story of the abuses that lead to a few men becoming obscenely wealthy while everyone else lost basic constitutional rights so lets hop in the wayback machine to 1998 and Matt Labash’s wide cited story Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Wendell Gauthier loves to smile. Sure, the most renowned class-action lawyer in New Orleans possesses many other trademarks. He has full-bodied Atticus Finch hair, and he’s tailored like a mogul from Milan. With a soft Cajun accent, he’s a fount of country-lawyer malapropisms (he says his old friend Edwin Edwards, the frequently indicted former governor of Louisiana, has a “photogenic mind”). But Gauthier’s defining characteristic is the infectious, perpetual, coprophagous grin. Indeed, an opposing lawyer once objected to a judge that Wendell Gauthier smiled too often. With his track record, who wouldn’t?

A veritable Zelig of mass-disaster litigation, Gauthier has twice ranked as one of the National Law Journal’s “100 Most Powerful Lawyers.” From the 1982 Pan Am plane crash to the 1980 MGM Grand hotel fire, from bone screws to breast implants, if it burns, leaks, seeps, or (praise God) explodes, chances are Gauthier is heading up the plaintiff’s committee, siphoning 25 percent to 35 percent contingency fees from the multi-million dollar jackpots relinquished by accident-prone companies waiting to get milked in class action lawsuits.

Matt nailed Gauthier’s career “hittin’ the walls” with every stroke of his jaded poison pen. Not mentioned though except here on Slabbed is that the Pan Am Crash was the launching pad for Gauthier’s subsequent mega legal  successes as then Kenner Mayor Aaron Broussard greased the marketing skids for Gauthier giving him sole early access to the families of the victims. Continue reading “Actually Matt, you had this one called right to begin with. Slabbed travels back in time with the girls and ties a few things together. A Trout Point Lodge / Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update Part 1.”

In this episode of Magnum J.D.: Slabbed takes a trip down memory lane and visits with Gauthier, Downing and a couple of the girls

Folks I’m thinking there is not much class in class action. From a reader (click the pic to get the 2 page pdf):

Here is a bit of analysis from another reader: Continue reading “In this episode of Magnum J.D.: Slabbed takes a trip down memory lane and visits with Gauthier, Downing and a couple of the girls”

And to think Eric Paulsen had an insurance case against State Farm we somehow missed….

This pleading came to me captioned Gates – Best Pleading Ever and in a strange slabbed sort of way it is as we find an example of a plaintiffs lawyer doing some of the sleazy things we’ve come to expect from State Farm lawyers like our old friend Scot Spragins of Kuehn infamy. Best of all it allows me to roll out some of Eric’s off air friends like Shane (D’Antoni) Gates and Danny Abel. To wit:

First, Plaintiff and Shane Gates (also known as Shane L. D’Antoni) are creditor/mortgagee and debtor/mortgagor on the very property as issue in this lawsuit, 56345 McManus Road in Slidell, Louisiana. 2 Thus when Baumgartner questioned Plaintiff at his deposition regarding his “unusual relationship” with Gates and why Gates seemed to be living at the McManus Road Property, Plaintiff’s reply that “Gates made a few mortgage payments” for Plaintiff has a whole new set of implications in light of the unearthing of the Bond for Deed, a transaction that has never been disclosed to State Farm or its counsel during the adjustment and lawsuit over this claim.3 Certainly in Plaintiff’s position as creditor/seller to Gates of the McManus Property, Plaintiff could have produced Gates for deposition and clearly knew at the outset when initial disclosures and discovery was made that Gates would be a witness in these proceedings. Continue reading “And to think Eric Paulsen had an insurance case against State Farm we somehow missed….”

Mass resignations at the once storied firm of legendary litigator Wendell Gauthier? The answer my friend is blowin’ on the Slab, the answer is blowing on the Slab….

John Houghtaling and friends sporting their Sheriff's badges. Image courtesy of Magnum's facebook page.

As I’ve gotten to know elements of the greater NOLA legal community I’ve come to appreciate the legacy on the plaintiff’s side of the bar of the late Wendell Gauthier, who was a litigator’s litigator. Simply put the man had a special talent in reading and reaching juries. In fairness,  I’ve also heard the stories of the impact the man’s accumulated wealth had on elements of the local judiciary, especially at the zenith of his career with the tobacco litigation.  As Gauthier died relatively young many of his contemporaries and former partners are still around as are an entire generation of younger lawyers that learned the art of the arguing a case from Gauthier in the years before he died.

Enter Gauthier’s successor, John Houghtaling aka Magnum J.D., who dealt with Gauthier at the very end of his career before his untimely passing.  According to Magnum’s many detractors in the local legal community Houghtaling parlayed that brief association with the dying Gauthier to becoming his very young and aggressive successor.  Lawyers that knew Wendell Gauthier for decades were then chopped en mass in favor of expensive sports cars and young women. Continue reading “Mass resignations at the once storied firm of legendary litigator Wendell Gauthier? The answer my friend is blowin’ on the Slab, the answer is blowing on the Slab….”