‘LaPolitics’: September is a big month for class-action lawsuits

If the pandemic, Hurricane Ida and the roof of the Superdome catching fire didn’t provide enough drama for you in September, you can always find further political intrigue in the courts, which have hosted major developments in class-action lawsuits this month.   

Not surprisingly, the headline-grabbers involve Hurricane Ida, starting with a suit filed last Saturday in Orleans Civil District Court against Entergy Corp., Entergy New Orleans and Entergy Louisiana on behalf of utilities customers. According to Gambit, the attorneys involved in the case include former state Rep. Juan LaFonta, Stuart Smith, Andrew Jacoby and Jack Harang. The suit was filed due to Entergy’s “negligence and failure to transmit energy to its customers.”

New Orleans is a tough battleground for Entergy right now. New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno oversaw a public meeting earlier this week to discuss, among other things, alternatives to the monopoly structure under which Entergy operates in the city. For its part, Entergy has already offered various options for moving forward, including but not limited to a merger, a sale or the creation of a city-run utility.

Also related to Hurricane Ida are a series of lawsuits against businessman Bob Dean and seven nursing homes he owns. The businesses are under fire for recent hurricane evacuation practices and for the deaths of nursing home residents during and after the relocation. The latest class-action suit claims “horrific and inhumane” conditions.

Finally, a federal judge granted class-action status on Monday to a lawsuit involving several inmates at Wade Correctional Center in Claiborne Parish. The inmates allege that the mentally ill in the prison were not treated humanely in recent years. Based on reporting from the Associated Press, “U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote’s decision means the criminal justice advocates who filed the lawsuit in 2018 can potentially seek relief for hundreds of prisoners. … Exactly how many is unclear but the ruling by the Shreveport judge says there were 366 people being held at the buildings in question in March 2020.”

They said it: “Doing away with the debt limit is like giving a college kid a credit card with no restrictions and telling them to have fun.”—U.S. Rep. Julia Letlow, R-La.,discussing the debt ceiling, on KSYL Radio. 

Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.