Content tagged “Lawyer”

Making way for whistleblowers

Whether you are an employee of a private company or the owner of one, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could soon change the way your business operates.

How to hire a lawyer

If you're being sued, the prime time to hire an attorney has already passed.

Lafayette lawyer fires back at BP after taking heat for handling of oil spill claims

Lafayette attorney Patrick Juneau has administered some of the biggest claims settlements in U.S history. He handled Vioxx and Toyota settlements. And he is the administrator for BP settlements, paying claims to those who can prove their businesses were damaged by the impact of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The BP settlement is complex and mammoth—more than 1,000 pages—and Juneau had nothing to do with writing or approving it. He was appointed by a federal court to administer it, which includes filing and reviewing claims in a timely fashion and keeping track of the company's appeals. Not once in his career, Juneau maintains, has a corporation attacked his integrity—until BP. In a recent interview with The Daily Advertiser, Juneau fights back. "BP's CEO Bob Dudley said I was willfully misinterpreting the settlement; that's a lie and, yes, it is actionable," Juneau says. "BP agreed to the settlement and its terms and it had the advice of some...

Kimberly Robinson

Kimberly Robinson's passion for justice and improving people's lives is what attracted her to the practice of law. Few would assume her area of expertise—tax law—could be the means to feed those passions.

'Business Report': Business takes on plaintiff lawyers at Capitol

"The most sweeping legal reform bill of the year died pitifully less than halfway through the session," writes Business Report's David Jacobs in the magazine's new cover story. In Louisiana, when the plaintiff in a civil suit wants less than $50,000, the combatants don't have the right to a trial by jury. Most states have no such barrier; of those that do, the cutoff is $15,000 or less. "It's such an obvious example where Louisiana is far out of alignment with many other states," says Melissa Landry, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch. "We're completely off the reservation." But House Bill 917 never even got a real vote. On April 15, the House voted 51-49 to table the measure, which means the $50,000 threshold most likely lives at least another year. "I'm still a little stunned that the debate ended the way that it did," Landry says. Plaintiff attorneys lined up with the courthouse crowd, led by the Louisiana District Judges Association, in support of the...

Merit selection: Not an option

"Judges are not politicians," U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declared during his 2005 confirmation hearing.

Blane Clark

"My first real job was at McDonald's, where I worked for Charlie Valluzzo and many other managers who taught me a lot. My friends and colleagues at Kean Miller make fun of me for continuing to tell McDonald's stories' 35 years later. However, there is a piece of advice from one of my former managers, Charlie Jones, that I took to heart. He told me that if you wanted to advance up the corporate ladder, you had to train people to take your place. I am not sure if that philosophy is taught in management schools across the country, but it always made sense to me."

Local law firm now accepting Bitcoin for payment

Local real estate attorney Bryan G. Jeansonne kicked off the new year with a new way of doing business. On Wednesday, Jeansonne's firm, Dore Jeansonne, began accepting the digital currency Bitcoin as a method of payment, along with more traditional modes of payment like credit cards and personal checks. "A lot of people find it easier to use than regular currency," says Jeansonne, explaining why his firm decided to begin accepting Bitcoin. For those unfamiliar with the technology, Bitcoin is a four-year-old electronic currency that in many ways functions like any other currency. It was created by a software developer and is accepted as payment by a growing number of merchants, both online and in the real world. What makes Bitcoin unique is that it is decentralized and no single institution controls the Bitcoin network. Jeansonne says for his clients there are a couple of potential advantages to using the digital currency. "There are a lot fewer fees than payment processing companies...

Ex-BP engineer convicted on one obstruction charge, acquitted on second

A former BP drilling engineer was convicted today of deleting text messages from his cellphone to obstruct a federal investigation of the company's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Kurt Mix was found guilty on one charge and acquitted of a second charge. A federal jury deliberated for more than nine hours over three days before reaching the verdict on his case. The count of obstruction of justice carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Mix will be released on his present bond, and sentencing is scheduled for March 26. The Associated Press reports Mix hugged his friends and family members in the courtroom before leaving the courthouse hurriedly. "I'm only going to speak through counsel," he told one reporter trying to ask him a question. Trailing behind her brother in the courthouse lobby, Bridget Mix called the verdict "just unbelievable." "You can't wrap your head around any of it," she said. Prosecutors argued that the 52-year-old engineer...

Local lawyer recounts Supreme Court experience

Local attorney Phil Preis of Baton Rouge's Preis Gordon law firm was at the counsel's table Monday as the Supreme Court discussed a case that could impact compensation for Stanford Group victims. "I was about four feet from Justice [Stephen] Breyer," he says. "It was a wonderful experience. Our whole law firm went just to see it." Washington attorney Tom Goldstein handled oral arguments, though Preis Gordon helped prepare the briefs. Preis says the atmosphere was cordial, yet adversarial, and less formal than he expected. "Nobody really gets to make a presentation," he says. "As soon as we sat down, [the justices] started asking questions." Preis' clients want to sue firms that worked with Stanford, claiming those firms negligently aided the fraud, while the federal government says allowing a state class action would interfere with the SEC's enforcement powers. While the fraudulent Stanford CDs were not "covered securities" under the law, since they weren't backed by real...

Local attorney says '60 Minutes' coverage 'a little sensational,' but with 'some legitimate points'

Local personal injury attorney Gordon McKernan was relaxing with his family in front of a Disney World hotel room TV Sunday night when he saw a snippet from one of his firm's TV commercials in an episode of CBS's 60 Minutes. It was hardly a case of positive PR. The story, which also showed similar commercials from firms around the U.S., explored the rise of fraudulent disability claims nationwide and suggested one of the reasons more cases are being filed with the Social Security Administration is because of aggressive "trolling" by disability lawyers, who get a cut of the benefits if they're awarded. "We've got a system that is being gamed pretty well right now," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, tells 60 Minutes. The report also spotlights the practice of a West Virginia law firm that made $70 million off disability claims last year, many of which were fraudulent, according to former employees...