Friday, April 03, 2015

The Good Ole' Boys


Kevin said...

Looking at Shelby Easterly's supplemental disclosure, he says he served as counsel for Calvin C. Fayard, Jr. and D. Blayne Honeycutt in “a civil matter” that concluded some 9 years ago. Yet, he doesn’t bother to disclose the identity of any parties, the docket number or even the court where the civil matter was filed. Nor does he disclose the nature of the matter.

I guess he expected that the court and all the parties to the Sinkhole litigation had already read the article in the Louisiana Record which somewhat identified a New Orleans suit against Fayard and Honeycutt where Easterly defended his friends against allegations that Fayard failed to pay another class action lawyer what he was owed; that Fayard allegedly breached written agreements on fees; and, a few other allegations about the kind of stuff a special master might have to get involved with in a class action settlement.

“A civil matter” ordinarily means 1 civil matter; right?

Whether by design or not, Easterly failed to disclose another civil matter in which he represented Calvin C. Fayard, Jr. He left out the fact he represented Fayard against a class action brought by the same class action attorney who filed suit against Fayard and Honeycutt in New Orleans. The suit in Baton Rouge (05-265, Middle District of Louisiana) involved allegations of mishandling the Defined Benefit Program (retirement funds) for the Fayard law firm employees. I’m emailing Jason a copy of the Answer filed by Easterly as attorney for Fayard.

Also, Easterly did other work for Fayard on the Defined Benefit Program. I'm emailing Jason a letter I received via FedEx from Easterly in late-2005. I redacted the personal info. Notice he mentions Carolyn Mistoler by name in the letter. She's Fayard's bookkeeper. Easterly knows her well, as I’ll explain below.

Kevin said...

Continuing ....

Fayard has previously billed Mistoler's time and expenses to class action cases as a paralegal. She had no education, training or experience that would qualify her as a paralegal. The work she did in those cases was not paralegal work and didn’t benefit the class. Fayard billed for several secretarial and other staff members as paralegals to class action cases to be reimbursed at the higher pay rates.

That might be an avenue for the Bayou Corne objectors to pursue, although I have a feeling it will be rejected out of hand. If I were them, I would ask the court to allow me to examine the billing records to see if Fayard billed staff and bookkeepers as paralegals or other higher-paying positions, and whether or not the Special Master approved this. I would ask for proof of their education, training and experience as a paralegal or law clerk or whatever. Fayard billed me as a law clerk to 1 case even though I’ve never been to law school.

If I were these Bayou Corne residents, I would ask the judge and all the attorneys in the courtroom the following: If you received a notice from a lawyer in a case that said, at some unknown date in the future, s/he was going to file an important pleading asking the court to approve payment of fees that are going to come out of your client’s funds, would you accept that notice as adequate and sufficient enough to protect your client’s rights and to prepare any response to that pleading without any further notice, and without ever having a chance to review that important pleading? They all know the answer is “no.” That’s what happened to class members here with the fee motion.

One more thing about the Easterly and Fayard relationship the Special Master possibly should have disclosed.

Train Car, LLC. It was an LLC created in 2004 by Easterley's then-wife, Connie, and another employee. They made Carolyn Mistoler, Fayard's bookkeeper, the Manager of the LLC. They used the Fayard law office address as the address for the LLC. Shelby Easterly notarized/signed the documents. I’m sending Jason a copy of those, too.

On the same date Train Car, LLC was formed, there was another document signed by Easterly that designated W. Hugh Sibley as an "agent" of the LLC with the authority to bind the LLC, borrow against its assets, sell its assets, etc. Sibley was actually using the LLC to bank the money he was using to build an enormous mansion in Hammond.

Some of you may remember reading news articles in 2009 or 2010 about Sibley laundering cocaine money for the cartel. He owed Harrah's Entertainment millions in gambling debts in 2004 - they even filed a lien or intervention in a class action case because Sibley had assigned his fees in several cases to Harrah’s. Sibley also owed the IRS millions at the time. Fayard and Mistoler were aware of these problems.

In fact, the IRS just happened to issue liens to several financial institutions when Hugh was about to transfer some money to the LLC account from his personal account. Through ensuing litigation, the IRS learned of the connections between all the people involved with Train Car, LLC. Once informed by the IRS that their relationships were going to be the subject of discovery and fact testimony, Carolyn Mistoler suddenly removed her name from the records, the address of the LLC was changed from Fayard’s office to Hugh’s office in Greensburg, and the IRS suit was settled.

Calvin: why don't you tell the readers the story about the lessons you learned from "Old Mr. Easterly" like to one about the kind of people who should do yard work?