Louisiana’s Foti challenged post-departure for choices in office

As I’ve said before, work is the curse of the blogging class.  Time is limited for blogging these days, but let’s see what I can squeeze into the blog in the next few days.

This Mike Kunzelman story is very interesting: former Louisiana AG Charles Foti, a prosecutor of almost mythic ineffectiveness and Mr. Magoo-like short-sightedness, is being second-guessed on at least two fronts after being defeated for re-election last year: his successor wants to dump some of his "curious" lawsuit choices, and insurers are suing the state to challenge Foti’s hiring of private lawyers to prosecute a lawsuit on behalf of the state.

Louisiana’s new attorney general says he inherited some “curious” cases from his predecessor, Charles Foti Jr., who teamed up with campaign donors on his way out of office to file a pair of multimillion-dollar antitrust lawsuits.

Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell also inherited a case in which Foti is accused of illegally contracting with some of the same private lawyers to represent the state in a lawsuit involving the Road Home rebuilding program.

Caldwell, through a spokeswoman, said he is reviewing Foti’s lawsuits and contracts with private lawyers and hasn’t decided how many cases to keep. He wouldn’t identify the cases of interest, but said they were filed during Foti’s final days in office last month.

“There has been documented curious official behavior on the part of the previous AG’s Office that has not gone unnoticed. It’s not going to take a Catahoula Cur to find the trail,” he said in a statement, referring to the official state dog.

For me, the following was the heart of the story:

It’s not unusual for private lawyers to represent the state without billing hourly rates or reaching an agreement on contingency fees, said Dane Ciolino, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

“It’s essentially the attorney general giving them a fishing license and they don’t know what size fish they’re going to catch,” said Ciolino, who teaches a course in legal ethics.

. . . .

“Unfortunately, in Louisiana, we have a long history of attorney generals doling out litigation to friends and contributors,” Ciolino said.

It’s not just in Louisiana, though: same thing in Mississippi, and not just Under the Hood — Mike Moore also favored the tactic.



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