Sunday, March 10, 2013

Leaving so soon?

The City of New Orleans has issued a new RFP for legal services in the BP case:

2013-03-07 CNO Request for Legal Services BP

I am assuming this means that the current law firms, the ones I referred to as the JV attorneys in Part 2Herman, Herman, Katz and Cotlar Fayard and Honeycutt,  Domengeaux, Wright, Roy &amp, Edwards Leger & Shaw are being let go.

It could also mean the City is seeking additional counsel on the matter but I seriously doubt that is the case.

This is an interesting turn of events.  If you read Part 2 of the Wisner chronicles, I brought up numerous potential conflicts of interest with these law firms serving as counsel for the Wisner property in their case against BP while simultaneously serving as counsel for the City of New Orleans as well as serving on the BP PSC (Plaintiff Steering Committee).  

Basically they have all the bases covered.  It's like they hit the lottery in litigating anything of significance against BP.   

Although, remember, that Leger & Shaw are not on the PSC.  It would be interesting if Leger & Shaw reapply under the new RFP and land the job, huh?  But Leger & Shaw may have another conflict of interest with Wisner interests if you take into account that they are representing LaFourche Parish in its case against BP.

Interesting times.  

My main question now is who will serve as counsel for the Wisner Trust?  These lawyers were originally moved into their position as Wisner counsel without an RFP.  If you read Part 2, you know the back room politics which took place in order for these lawyers to be placed as Wisner's counsel.

These lawyers were put into place as Wisner's council after they were already representing the City of New Orleans' interests.

This current RFP says it was released on March 7th and the deadline for submissions is March 18th.  Not a lot of time but this will have a significant impact on the Wisner Trust as it could be left in the lurch regarding legal representation against BP.  In fact, this continuous counsel shuffle could be considered a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the Mayor as a trustee to the Committee.

This is conjecture, but it would appear to me that the conflicts of interest named in Part 2 may have led to the JV lawyers' exit....if, indeed, that is what is happening.  As stated, these lawyers also serve on the PSC and the law firms involved are asking for 600 million for their services in the BP case.  Their involvement with the City/Wisner case may be posing some serious problems for them and I suspect they may have just decided it is better to walk away from those interests in order to protect their financial interests as PSC attorneys.

By the way...are these PSC attorneys considered "Class Action" attorneys?  I think it's important that we figure that one out.

I am currently pursuing a separate story about the PSC attorneys and I have filed a FOIA request with the Deepwater Horizons Claims Center which I believe is being rejected but I have yet to receive the explanation for that rejection in the mail.  I hope to know more about that tomorrow but I would like to send out a plea for help, here on AZ, if there are any attorneys or freedom of information advocacy groups out there that could help me obtain the information I'm seeking.  I'm pretty much on my own here and I would like to file an appeal if I am rejected.  I would appreciate any help I can get.

Let's keep digging, zombies...there are bodies in these graves.   

12 comments:

Kevin said...

Could it be this is simply dotting the "i"s and crossing the "t"s? Could it be the current counsel will bid on this RFP because they have an insurmountable advantage based upon their experience in the main litigation? Would their positions on the PSC sort of rule out any competition.

Anonymous said...

Edgar before Mike was a seman? pg 17-18
http://books.google.com/books?id=vywEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA18&lpg=PA18&dq=eddie+sapir+and+joe+segretto&source=bl&ots=4L5_hZcS_r&sig=PoMsDv8go5azjBjGnDQeWjjFI6Q&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2fc9UejLKNKr2AXn3IDgBg&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=eddie%20sapir%20and%20joe%20segretto&f=false

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

I have no idea. I think it may be about firing the PSC lawyers and re-hiring Leger but he has a conflict of interest too.

Ricardo said...

Good job on WBOK this afternoon. I see a parallel between what Mitch is trying to do with the Wisner Trust and what the Jefferson Parish Council is wanting to do vis a vis East and West Jefferson Hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Why is no media outlet picking up on this?! Cowards I presume. Are they that afraid of this Mayor?

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

I am somewhat befuddled as well. The City is potentially changing it's counsel on the BP case in midstream and this isn't newsworthy?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

I am somewhat befuddled as well. The City is potentially changing it's counsel on the BP case in midstream and this isn't newsworthy?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Kevin said...

What's the latest? Who submitted bids?

Anonymous said...

Kevin

I cannot find it on the open bid section of the City website anymore.....

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that the City is trying to replace the JV attorneys. My take on the RFP is that the City may be trying to hire additional independent counsel in case the Wisner folks or someone else raises the conflict issue again. If that is what the City is doing, then they should be commended because hiring independent co-counsel is exactly what the bar association recommended when the conflict was first raised. It seems to me that the real conflict is that the JV attorneys on the PSC (who have already settled with BP) are trying to place more blame on Transocean and Halliburton then on BP in the BP trial. Of course they are doing that because they already got their money from BP in the settlement, so they are now moving on to the subs. However, that hurts the City and Wisner Trust claims because those claims have a much better chance of success against BP than against the subs. The City could get punitive damages against BP if BP is found grossly negligent. Yet the JV attorneys are making that less likely to happen by shooting at the subs and not BP in the current trial. By doing so, the JV attorneys are benefitting their private clients at the expense of their City clients. If I were the City, I certainly wouldn't want my attorneys working against my interests to maximize another client's recovery. I think this is a blatant conflict of interest. The RFP is a sign that the City has wised up and is taking steps to make sure its interests are adequately protected for its valuable punitive damages claim against BP. Why isn't anyone raising this conflict? It's shameful. I hope you follow through on this because it stinks.

Anonymous said...

It does not appear that the RFP is even active anymore, according to the City's website......?

What the hell is going on?

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Good question...I don't have an answer other than Anon's theory above.

But here's a better question....why has no MSM resource covered it or why has no local MSM resource reported that Mikal Watts removed himself from the PSC or even that he is under federal investigation?