Coming soon to a computer near you:

Nowdy and I have alluded to our recent problems with sleep deprivation so I’ll come clean with one of the reasons. This past weekend we took a detour during our trip to the hive to meet a publisher who encouraged us to write a book or two and take selected advertising for other books along the lines of what is found on the American Zombie blog. As of the writing of this missive we have 2,360 published posts, most dealing with insurance, some dealing with living in the aftermath of this nation’s largest natural disaster along with a healthy dose of Beef Plant, the Perdigao saga and now the unfolding Jefferson Parish political corruption scandal among other topics.

Off the top of my head I’m guessing Nowdy and I have spent upwards of $10,000 on PACER and other blog related items over the past 2 plus years and have willing done so as a labor of love for the issues that confront the people of the Gulf Coast post Katrina. Neither one of us has delusions of wealth here but it would be nice to earn enough money to offset the expenses of publishing this blog and make the nights where we are lucky to grab a couple hours of sleep a bit more palatable. Since we are children of the internet we’ll be going with an internet based publisher. We’ll have more details on that soon. Please continue to enjoy us here on wordpress while we work on transferring the site.

Meantime stay tuned for some more Broussard fun, the long promised exploration of  Wendell Gauthier’s old firm and more on River Birch. We’re also hoping to cover developments in Sunquest, Ex Rel Rigsby, Part 3 of the Regulatory challenge and a bit more on Karen Clark, cat bonds and insurance cat modeling.


Coming up at 9 on Fox 8

We’re told Val Bracy will be reporting on Team Wilkinson. I urge the Slabbed Nation to tune in. Meantime WWL Channel 4 has a Paul Murphy report on Wilkinson already up. Make no mistake folks this bunch on the Parish Council has only turned over what Mr Letten subpoenaed and is no more out front of this than the man on the moon. Again note how interim Parish President Theriot so easily fired the Deputy Parish Attorney that was in charge of public records requests that has no allegations of wrong doing associated with her yet continued to stand by his man Tom Wilkinson until his toxicity forced his hand and even now defends this at will employee despite the overwhelming evidence against him. All I can say is those “pictures” Wilkinson has on Theriot and Company must be good. The video is below the fold. Continue reading “Coming up at 9 on Fox 8”

Aggregate Reserves – the meme for the scheme and the schemata of the Defendants in Branch qui tam

Memes, of course, are contagious and those about Katrina litigation tend to spread like wildfire.  In that regard, Judge Vance, who appears to be up-to-date on her shots and fully immunized, might want to suggest others get booster shots before decisions are made on Branch’s Motion to Compel.  Defendants’ response to the Branch motion is an aggregate of aggregation of epidemic proportion.

The schemata employed by the defendants are designed to weaken Branch to the point the case is dismissed as quickly as possible by limiting Branch discovery.  The associated attack of the  aggregated aggravators, a variation of hide and go-seek, targets Interrogatory No. 4 from the Branch Motion to Compel.  Interrogatory No.4  requests aggregate data on each insurer’s Katrina reserves, “the amount of money…[an]… insurance company sets aside on its books to ensure the ability to pay…[claims]”:

As noted in Nicholas v. Bituminous Casualty Corp.:

Setting reserves is a method of managing litigation in which attorneys, claims adjusters and/or line personnel compile their mental impressions and opinions concerning the substance of the litigation as well as the cost of litigation. Specifically, when setting a reserve, attorneys and claims personnel not only assess the value of the claim based on the available evidence and the strengths and weaknesses of the claim, but also take into consideration the probability of an adverse judgment, the jurisdiction, and the fees and expenses that may be incurred in defense of the claim.

Consistent with the schemata, the meme of the aggregated aggravators is one that frames any Branch discovery not specific to a claim as a “fishing expedition”.  While that meme falls short, I did go fishing hoping to catch something that would be relevant to the Branch request for each company’s aggregated reserves for Katrina claims – and while fishing I caught Central Georgia Anesthesia Servs.,P.C. v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S.,: Continue reading “Aggregate Reserves – the meme for the scheme and the schemata of the Defendants in Branch qui tam”

If not for a conflict of interest, DA Connick and family would have no interest at all. A Parish Council meeting update. (Corrected and Updated)

Folks we’ve passed from the ridiculous to the completely over the top as my phone and email in box are getting a heck of a workout this morning.  Let’s start  with my comment to last night’s post that tied a few things together:

We’ve been told item #84 passed unanimously. We’ve also been told that Interim Parish Attorney Peggy Barton fired assistant Parish Attorney Steve Mortillaro.

Ms Barton seems quite the interesting character as I’m told civic activist Margie Seeman used my post to challenge councilman Chris Roberts on agenda item #84 which would allow the Parish President Theriot to explore the possibility of bringing in-house the legal services that are provided by outside lawyers. The warning flag was contained in my post on the Tuesday Night Massacre where Deputy Parish Attorney Louis Gruntz referred to Tom Wilkinson as his client. Parish residents following the situation saw the resolution as a way to open the door to allow the Parish Attorney’s office to represent the recent offenders before the Personnel Board.

That said I did not do agenda item #84 complete justice so we need to again circle back to a question/comment left by Telemachus on last night’s post:

Question about Resolution 84, what does that mean? Does it mean the Parish Attorney’s office is about to take on civil stuff now done by firms like Chehardy, Sherman or Connick’s firm? I’m guessing not? It means the in-house work relates to clean-up relating to the mess left by the in-house people themselves, so that the in-house is really now in the out-house?

The answer and a whole lot more comes courtesy of Unslabbed who was obviously in attendance: Continue reading “If not for a conflict of interest, DA Connick and family would have no interest at all. A Parish Council meeting update. (Corrected and Updated)”

I pulled the post on DA Connick and conflicts of interest…

Folks events are moving so quickly I had to pull the post as it contained a major factual error. DA Connick’s firm Connick and Connick is not representing Tom Wilkinson or Ken Trahan nor is the Parish as of yet paying their legal bills. I have not been contacted by anyone in Parish Government but in talking with other sources it became clear the accounts I received were confused somewhat. DA Connick’s firm does do work for the Parish just not in the capacity representing potential criminal defendants. We apologize in advance for any confusion this erroneous posting may have caused as we are committed to getting this story right.


You speak out and we break your legs. The Jefferson Parish way of doing business via fear and intimidation on display as Latter & Blum fires Arthur Sterbcow.

Couresty of American Zombie

No one that lives, works or conducts business in Jefferson Parish is immune as this story posted last night on the Times Picayune’s website by Becky Mowbray illustrates:

Arthur Sterbcow, the public face of the largest real estate firm in New Orleans, was terminated as president of Latter & Blum, Inc./Realtors Tuesday for providing information to The Times-Picayune about assessment values and home prices in Jefferson Parish for a story published on Sunday.

The information, known as broker price options, showed a 14 percent gap between home sale prices and property tax assessments made by Jefferson Parish Assessor Lawrence E. Chehardy.

Going in, seasoned Jefferson Parish observers understand it takes a certain amount of testicular fortitude to report the story. The lack of sack exhibited last night on Fox 8 about Debbie Villio’s political fund-raiser illustrates that fact. When it comes to getting out the story, the local media becomes an enabler when they bow to threats and intimidation. I suspect that is why Jim Brown opined during my short interview with him last Friday night on WJBO in Baton Rouge along the lines that it takes a Mississippi guy to blow the lid off the corruption in Jefferson Parish as we continue: Continue reading “You speak out and we break your legs. The Jefferson Parish way of doing business via fear and intimidation on display as Latter & Blum fires Arthur Sterbcow.”

Class action lawyer Hugh Sibley scheduled to be re-arraigned March 12

Our sources tell us this generally indicates that Mr Sibley has done the one thing no one expected: Cop a plea. We do not know if Mr Sibley is singing or not but if I had to guess the answer would be yes, especially in light of the renewed interest the old posts we published on this topic currently enjoy. Those post can be found here, here, and here. Connecting the dots in that matter led us to District Court Judge Richard T Haik and the Bayou Sorrel Class Action litigation. Our blogging on the general topic eventually lead Baton Rouge Attorney Donna Grodner to send us her now famous “Butt call” press release which we then connected to the Louisiana ODC by way of the Bayou Sorrel litigation.

When news of  Sibley’s legal problems surfaced it electrified the local legal community. If he cuts a deal the party currently underway in Jefferson Parish has potential to be kicked to another level IMHO. Stay tuned.

We’d also like to welcome our friends from south of the border that have become regular readers of our Sibley archival posts.


Shall we dance? Magistrate Shushan invites Allstate and Pilot adjusting to the party – Order grants in-part Motion to Amend Complaint REVISED AND CORRECTED

Oops!  With an apology to Judge Vance and another to SLABBED readers, I have corrected my error and appropriately attributed the Order discussed in this post to Magistrate Shushan.

Magistrate Shushan’s autopsy-Order on the 2nd Amended Complaint filed by the Branch Consultants poses a new and entirely different challenge for reporting on an order issued in Branch –  turning a technical manual into a non-fiction novel.  In that context, Allstate is somewhat of a MacGuffin, “a plot element that catches the viewers’ attention…Commonly, though not always, the MacGuffin is the central focus of the film in the first act, and later declines in importance as the struggles and motivations of characters play out”.

Although Allstate is certain to be the “central focus” of public interest in the Order, it is important to note the Magistrate doesn’t know how this character will play out and her Order” is stayed until the District Judge resolves any appeal of the order”.   In that regard, a footnote in the Order is telling of the story at this point:

In support of it motion for leave to amend, Branch states:

To be clear, whether Allstate is entitled to immunity under the first-to-file provision of the False Claims Act is not at issue in this motion (for leave to amend), and Branch has not attempted to fully brief the issue here. Rather, what is at issue is merely whether Branch may amend its complaint to attempt to state a claim against Allstate.

The story of claims handling following Hurricane Katrina is more of a thriller than a typical mystery.  However, the Magistrate’s dénouement of the plot missed important clues and I momentarily digress from the discussion of Allstate’s role to examine her conclusion and related denial of the proposed incorporation of an inflated-revenue scheme.  Branch alleged a loss-shifting scheme in both the original and first amended complaint.

In her Order, Magistrate Shushan declared, “The loss-shifting and inflated-revenue motives create two entirely different schemes”.  I contend otherwise and suggest her decision indicates knowledge of the law can not overcome lack of experience with what “po’ folks” call “getting by” else she, too, would recognize the two are one in the same. 

On a much larger scale, the situation insurance companies faced after Katrina was similar.  Like those who can’t meet their obligations when faced with an unexpected cost, insurers employed strategies that delay payment of thousands of policyholder claims and made partial payment on thousands more in the guise of mediated settlements. However, they also engaged in a “broad scheme” to “get by” for reasons that have been well documented since Katrina such as investments that were worth less or worthless.  Continue reading “Shall we dance? Magistrate Shushan invites Allstate and Pilot adjusting to the party – Order grants in-part Motion to Amend Complaint REVISED AND CORRECTED”