Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You're gonna love this one

After months of trying to get my hands on the 2nd lawsuit involving the crime cameras, Camsoft v. Southern Electronics Supply, Inc. A legal eagle bro in Baton Rouge came through for me.

Suffice to say I am a little confused and need some more legal eagle zombie readers to chime in here for me.

Upon looking at the list of defendants in the case, I was somewhat surprised to see that both Greg Meffert and Mark Kurt are being defended by city attorney, Bob Ellis.

I know Ellis defended Meffert in the original civil case but I thought that was because the city itself was listed as a defendant in that case. What I don't understand is how a city attorney can defend Meffert and Kurt on the city's dime if they are listed as individuals in this lawsuit....is that legal? Can the city legally provide counsel for these guys on this lawsuit?

UPDATE: I made the clarification in the comment section but I just want to say it again, I was not implying that Attorney Ellis had done anything wrong, I was asking if the city is within its legal right to provide counsel for Meffert and Kurt.

The title of the post was not meant to point out who the city attorney is, I meant "you're not going to believe that we are once again paying for legal fees arising from the stupid shit which has happened in this administration's tenure."

I received a reply to the question and was informed that the petition filed referred to Meffert/Kurt's role as "individual and official capacity". I assume the "official capacity" is the qualifying term which allows the city to provide legal counsel.


Anonymous said...

This guy is a walking conflict of interest.

(Can I say that without you being sued?)

Is the City still paying for Meffert's defense? Really?

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahahaha! Bob Ellis! Again!

Sweet Merciful Jesus, am I ever glad I am not Bob Ellis.

He threatened to sue me once, too.

What an angry and confused man.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just came back to this site and saw my comment posted. I thought better of it.

I do think he is a confused and angry man, but I feel badly that my first response was to laugh at him.

Sorry, Bob Ellis.

Anonymous said...

Guys, imho no greater weasel than Mr. E., .... but:

was Meffert sued "in his capacity as" CTO for the City of New Orleans or anything similar?

Have to look at the full listing of the as-alleged part and the allegation-description of how Meffert was acting n the pleadings.

For instance, was Meff handing out a business card with the City Hall address, etc.?

Interesting that Drake is representing himself and that Kurt is represented by Anzelmo & McCranie though.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Just to clarify:

1. I am not criticizing Bob Ellis or suggesting he has done anything wrong, he is a city employee and he must do what his superiors tell him to do...if he was told to represent Meffert in this case then he is just doing his job.

2. Yes, the city is definitely paying for Ellis to defend Meffert in this case.

3. I don't know if Meffert was sued "in his capacity as CTO", it appears to me he is listed as a defendant individually from the city...but I don't know. I would like to find out though.

Once again,I just want to clarify why I posted this...I'm not trying to dis Ellis, I'm just trying to find out if it's the city's responsibility to defend Meffert in this case.

joebozak said...

The City, like any employer, can provide/pay for the legal defense of an employee.

This is normally the case when the the basis for the lawsuit arises out of the employee's scope of work or job duties, regardless of whether or not the employer is named (although the employer usually is under agency doctrine -- because the employer's usually got the $$$ and the insurance coverage).

I agree with Anon, above, when he says you need to get a copy of the petition/complaint to see what the allegations are.

Your "legal eagle" friend should be able to pull an electronic copy of the complaint off of the federal "Pacer" system.

Now, let's say the allegations made against Meffert in this suit were based on purely personal tortious or illegal activity unrelated to his position with the City (for example a car wreck while in his personal vehicle on the way to dinner, or a sexual assault). In such a case the City should not be using its revenue to pay for his defense. This would probably run afoul of, at the very least, ethics laws.

My hunch is that it probably does arise, at least tangentially, out of his role with the City.

Of course, the right thing to do at this point would be to cut him loose. But we know that ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

How Mitch deals with the City Attorney's office is going to be of great interest to me.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I can't imagine it would be anything less than hitting the reset button.

Civitch said...

I wonder if it will be within Mitch's power to undo the Ellis/Meffert arrangement. Would be so nice to see Doughboy have to pay his own legal bills.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this deal is to benefit Meffert.

If he had his own, independant lawyer (a decent one), that lawyer would probably listen to his story of his time at City Hall and go,

"Whoa, boy-- are you telling me that X,Y,& Z, in the City Attorney's office, the Mayor's Office, and so on in City Government knew about this?

Well, that's good. We can tell that and it takes some of it off you.

Or we can trade that information for something."

I'm not a lawyer so my lawyer talk sucks, but do you get what I'm getting at?

If Meffert could afford a lawyer loyal to him alone, that might not be so good for some people at City Hall who are in it who haven't been dragged into this in public yet.

If Ellis or some other City Attorney gets all that interesting info covered by Attorney-client priviledge it makes them strong, right?, because they know where even more bodies are buried and even if they are bound not to spill it, people who know, know that they know.

It seems like this arrangement is not great for the taxpayer and not actually great for Meffert, except that some lawyer is better than none. It seems to be best for Nagin's team and Mr. Ellis.

Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I was thinking on this morning.