Message from the President
by Stevan C. Dittman
The New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association has successfully
come through trying times. Despite the ongoing impact of Hurricane Katrina
on our community, our Chapter has over 1200 members and remains the largest
chapter in the nation. The size of our membership aptly demonstrates not
only our past successes but manifests our hopes for the future. This year the
Chapter intends not only to maintain the traditional events that have proven
so successful over the years but also to encourage new programs and services
for our members. We are also but one year away from a remarkable event: our
hosting the Federal Bar Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention in New
Orleans from September 22nd through 25th, 2010.
The vitality of our Chapter was manifest at our annual luncheon at the Plimsoll Club. New officers
were installed, and various awards were given, including the President’s Award to Paul Pastorek, the
State’s Superintendent of Education, the Jack Martzell Professionalism Award to Marian Mayer Berkett
and Russ Herman, and the Camille F. Gravel Award for Pro Bono/ Public Service to those attorneys who
gave of their time and talent to represent indigent defendants in postconviction proceedings. Our annual
luncheon meeting also boasted record attendance, with Chief Justice Catherine “Kitty” Kimball of the
Louisiana Supreme Court providing the keynote address.
The Chapter’s Board of Directors is committed to sponsoring a number of public service projects and
continuing education programs again this year. The Lunch with the Court Program is again underway,
affording our members the opportunity to meet with Judges in order to discuss, in an informal setting,
federal practice. This fall we will again host our Federal Judges’ Reception. The annual Malcolm Monroe
Federal Practice Seminar will be held on November 20, 2009, affording lawyers not only CLE credit but
an opportunity to be sworn in to the bars of the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Louisiana as
well as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. A legal writing workshop and a federal/state practice CLE are
in the works, and our Younger Lawyers Division will again host its Holiday Party in the Fifth Circuit’s
Great Hall. Spring will see our annual Rubin Symposium as well as other programs.
Designing and administering programs such as these demand much work and dedication from our
Board of Directors as well as our Younger Lawyers Division. Each member of the Board takes on
numerous responsibilities, which include development of educational programs and production of The
Advocate, our quarterly publication. The New Orleans Chapter is fortunate, in particular, to have several
members of the federal judiciary who serve on our Board, Chief Judge Vance, and Judges Africk, Barbier,
Engelhardt, Lemelle, Lemmon, and Magistrate Judge Knowles, all of whom are as active in the Board’s
functions as our attorney members. Unlike other chapters around the nation, we are fortunate to have
an Attorney Conference Center in the federal building, a place where attorneys can not only get a cup
of coffee and a snack but find an internet connection, a Xerox machine, and meeting rooms while they
litigate cases in our federal court.
I recently attended a Federal Bar Association conference for chapter leaders in Arlington, Virginia,
and I was astounded, owing to the efforts of my predecessors, how many times I heard other chapters
being informed “Well you might not be able to do it like New Orleans does, but at least you can try.”
The reputation and excellence of our Chapter were rewarded at the FBA’s Annual Meeting last month
cont’d on page 2
Fall Edition 2009 • Vol. 19, no. 1 Editorial Board: WEndy Hickok roBinson, douglas MoorE and cElEstE coco-EWing
CAMILLE GRAVEL, JR.
Excerpted from a speech given by Judge Ginger Berrigan, United file was a statement of the victim, interviewed the day after the
States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, upon offense, in which she said she could not identify her assailant, his
the award to Camille Gravel of an Angola Hall of Fame Award age, not even whether he was white or black. This statement had
on July 10, 2009 never been disclosed to the defense. In fact, at the trial, the victim
Camille Gravel, my hero, left an impact on just about every positively identified Newton as the man who raped her. Without
aspect of Louisiana law. He is probably most well known to most Camille’s advocacy, this totally innocent young black man may
of you for being Executive Counsel to Governor Edwin Edwards well have been executed.
for his first two terms in office and for his highly publicized During Camille’s first 30 years practicing law, in the 1940’s,
defense of political leaders who found themselves in trouble with 1950’s and 1960’s, he said the machinery of justice unfortunately
the law, including Gov. Edwards, State Senator Michael O’Keefe, depended in large measure on race; the race of the assailant, and
Agriculture Secretary Gil Dozier, and many others. the race of the victim. If victim was white, the accused black,
But what I want to focus on tonight is not the politically the all white juries were likely to convict. If victim was black,
powerful, but rather what Camille did for the powerless people of and the assailant white, acquittals were more common. If it was
the state, those obscure and disadvantaged individuals who had a black on black crime, the white jurors largely didn’t care about
no one to speak on their behalf except him. For that is really the outcome. Only when both the victim and the assailant were
where he made his most significant and enduring contribution, white was justice ever likely fully served.
and where he was the most inspiring. Camille soldiered on nonetheless, representing countless
Camille realized in law school that he wanted to be a mostly young black men, for free, in that stifling atmosphere
criminal defense attorney. In an interview near the end of his of prejudice. He also employed black people, helped them
career, he said, “I liked the idea of representing people who had financially, and protected them during Ku Klux Klan activity. He
problems. And the people with the most serious problems were even had the singular distinction of having a cross burned on his
those charged with criminal conduct. I wanted to just help people lawn, something I suspect he took as a compliment.
in trouble, who needed an advocate.” And this racial prejudice permeated the bar as well. Louis
To begin his career as a lawyer, in the early 1940’s, Camille Berry was the first black lawyer in Alexandria. The custom at that
pestered the judges in Alexandria to appoint him to indigent time required a local lawyer to formally introduce any new lawyer
criminal cases. Most of the many clients he represented for to the Alexandria Bar Association before they could actually
free were black, facing their charges in an environment where practice. Berry asked several white lawyers to introduce him,
segregation reigned, in which all the judges and jurors were but they declined. Later, Camille heard some lawyers laughing
white. about how Berry couldn’t find anyone to sponsor him. Camille
called Berry on the phone and told him he would be honored to
In the 1950’s, one of his significant cases was that of introduce him into the Alexandria Bar Association. And did.
Lester Newton, a black man accused of raping a white woman.
Newton was convicted and sentenced to death. Camille had not Racial prejudice also unfortunately infected the judiciary.
represented Newton at trial, but became irate when he learned Camille had a longtime friend who was a judge in a neighboring
that one of the prospective jurors, who ended up serving on the parish. Camille represented a young black man accused of
jury, had told someone else “They better not take me on the jury negligent homicide in a car accident in that parish before that
because I’m ready to fry that nigger.” When he heard this, Camille judge. The person killed was white. Camille was convinced
volunteered to represent Newton on appeal for free. Over the this was simply a tragic car accident, with no negligence by
next seven years, Camille worked the case painstakingly through the driver. Nevertheless, he was worried that the all white jury
the state and federal court systems, trying to obtain relief for might nonetheless convict, because the defendant was black and
what he considered a serious injustice. He ultimately succeeded the victim white. Believing this judge to be a fair man, Camille
in obtaining a new trial. By then a new district attorney had taken waived the jury. To his surprise, the judge convicted his client and
office in Alexandria. When the new D.A. reviewed the file, he sentenced him to the maximum five years in prison. A few weeks
contacted Camille to tell him he was dropping the charges. In the later, Camille was having dinner with the judge, and he told the
Message from the President (cont’d)
in Oklahoma City, where we received the Chapter Activity Award for The New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association exists
our overall Chapter activities, The Outstanding Newsletter Award for to serve our members. We look forward to seeing you at our events.
The Advocate, and no less than three Presidential Citation Awards for If there is any way that we can be of assistance, please contact me at
the 17th Annual Rubin Symposium, the “Bankruptcy and Consumer email@example.com or our administrative assistant, Camille Zeller,
Law for Nonspecialists” seminar, and the “Copyright and Creativity” at the Attorney Conference Center.
program, all of which our Chapter sponsored within the past year. No
other Chapter in the nation was so impressively or repeatedly honored
at the national level.
CAMILLE GRAVEL, JR. (cont’d)
judge he was surprised at the verdict. The judge acknowledged editor of the Alexandria newspaper in 1980, in tribute to Camille,
the weakness of the case, but then said, “Well, Camille, you know saying he knew “of no other white man in this state who has
we have all these problems with these niggers. We needed to do been more dedicated to the problems of the weak, the oppressed,
something about all these niggers.” Camille left the table and the down-trodden, the have-nots, and those least able to defend
didn’t speak to the man socially again. themselves than Camille Gravel.”
Camille did get the conviction reversed for lack of evidence, When I came to work for him in 1978, Camille was in his
and his client went free. early 60’s, politically powerful and a legend in his own time.
Camille’s criminal defense work on behalf of African When I asked him one day what it was like to have so much
Americans also paralleled his politics at the time. power, he told me the only value in having power was to use it on
behalf of those who didn’t.
In 1956, he was elected as one of Louisiana’s Democratic
National Committeemen and he attended the national convention I remember one night I was working late by myself at his
that year. Also, that same year then Governor Earl Long had urged office and a distraught woman called up because her son had just
Camille to run for Attorney General of the state of Louisiana. been arrested. I was a newly minted lawyer and really didn’t
Camille declined, in significant part because he did not want to know what to do so I told her to call back in the morning when the
defend, as Attorney General, the laws upholding segregation in office was open. About half an hour later, the phone rang again
the state. He began to publicly declare that “segregation was and it was Camille. The woman had called him at home, gotten
morally wrong,” an extremely unpopular position in Louisiana him out of bed. In that half hour time period, Camille had called
in the 1950’s. a judge (gotten him out of bed as well) to have a bond set, called
a bondsman to arrange for a bond and made an appointment for
Camille then took a substantial step further and helped draft me to meet with the woman and her son first thing in the morning.
the civil rights plank of the Democratic Party for the 1956 He said she probably didn’t have any money, but that that was
Convention, which condemned segregation outright. As a okay.
result, anti-integration forces back in Louisiana met and voted
to recall Camille as a representative from Louisiana. This was In 1976, Loyola University Law School in New Orleans
an unprecedented move. Camille appealed his ouster to the awarded Camille an honorary doctorate of law, “in recognition
Democratic National Committee and was reinstated by the of his distinguished career in the law, his courageous dedication
committee. Needless to say, he took tremendous grief back home. to the cause of social justice, his unselfish public service and his
loyalty to the church.”
Across the aisle from the Louisiana delegation during that
pivotal 1956 Convention was the Massachusetts delegation, In 1986, Camille was the first recipient of the Justice Albert
where Camille met a young senator named John F. Kennedy Tate Award from the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense
and they became friends. In 1957, after all the turmoil over Lawyers. In 2000, the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense
the civil rights plank, Camille received a letter from Senator Lawyers established the Camille Gravel Scholarship to help with
John Kennedy, commending Camille for being a real “profile training of Louisiana criminal defense lawyers primarily engaged
in courage” for helping to draft and publicly support the anti- in indigent defense. A few years ago, the Federal Bar Association
segregation platform. “Although present events may make your of New Orleans created the Camille Gravel Pro Bono Award, to
position more difficult,” said the future President, “I am convinced go each year to an attorney who has done substantial pro bono
that in the long run your position will prove to be the best for your legal work in the past year.
state, the country and our party.” I think if Camille were here today, and asked to say something
In the 1960’s through the 1990’s, Camille continued his to all of us, he would perhaps quote a passage from one of his
advocacy of behalf of those who needed it most. He was appointed favorite poems, by Ralph Chaplin. It is particularly appropriate
by Governor Edwards to represent the public at the Constitutional now that Camille himself is gone.
Convention in 1973 and 1974. In that capacity, he was pivotal in Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie
the drafting and the passage of the Declaration of Rights Section, Dust unto dust
producing a series of rights and privileges, particularly in the area The calm, sweet earth that mothers all who die
of criminal law, that were significantly more expansive than the As all men must;
rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
But rather mourn the apathetic throng
He was a member of the statewide Louisiana Indigent Defender
Board, the Governor’s Commission on Pardon, Parole and The cowed and the meek
Rehabilitation. He took on the representation of prisoners, the Who see the world’s great anguish and its wrong
most disliked and politically powerless of all, before the Pardon And dare not speak!
and Parole Boards. Camille Gravel spoke loud and clear for 65 years. And this
Louis Berry, the black attorney that Camille introduced into state, country and all of us blessed to know him are that much
the Alexandria Bar Association years before, wrote a letter to the the better for it.
By: The Honorable Loretta G. Whyte,
Clerk of Court, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana
E-FILING –A MAJOR STEP FORWARD
Get ready to enjoy the convenience of filing your new civil suit right from your office computer. No more rushing to the
Courthouse at 4:55 p.m. or shipping a new complaint overnight to avoid having a case prescribe.
The Eastern District of Louisiana is now accepting complaints and other initiating documents filed electronically. Together
with e-filing your Complaint or Notice of Removal, you will also pay the filing fee on-line and have your prepared summons
signed, sealed and returned to you electronically.
Attorneys have been e-filing other pleadings for quite a while now, and they confirm that it has resulted in great savings of time
and expense. Many of you have asked when we would extend these benefits to initiating the suit as well, so we know you will be
pleased to welcome this next step in the electronic filing process. As with other filings, the system will accept new suits 24 hours
a day, seven days a week.
Although we have tried to keep it as close
For Immediate Release: October 7, 2009
as possible to traditional paper filing, there are
necessary differences. Even those attorneys who REGISTRATION AVAILABLE FOR
are experienced with e-filing complaints in other FIFTH CIRCUIT ELECTRONIC CASE FILING
courts will have to learn a few unique procedures
for the Eastern District of Louisiana. There are The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will begin offering
several excellent opportunities planned to help electronic case filing (ECF) to attorneys on a voluntary basis in
you with this. The Federal Bar Association has December 2009. Please check the court’s ECF website at: http://www.
generously offered to sponsor a seminar providing ca5.uscourts.gov/cmecf for new information as it becomes available.
CLE credit at no cost (see opposite page). Court
In preparation for ECF implementation in December, we
staff will also continue to conduct hands-on
are pleased to announce that attorneys may now register their user
classroom training at the courthouse. Finally,
identification and address information for the Fifth Circuit ECF through
on-line training modules will be available on the
the PACER Service Center. Attorneys can request a new account or
court’s web site. Each of the training programs is
expected to last no more than an hour. It is really update an existing account to add the Fifth Circuit at: http://pacer.psc.
essential for everyone to take advantage of one of uscourts.gov/announcements/general/ea_filer.html .
these programs. We will act on each request and will notify applicants when their account
is approved. During the initial influx of requests, we ask for your
Schedules for the classroom training are not
patience because we will have a large number of accounts to review.
100% certain as of this writing, but be on the
However, we will process your requests as quickly as possible.
lookout for important information to be posted
on the court’s web site and e-mailed to you. If attorneys do not already have a PACER account, they should
apply for that as well. CM/ECF accounts are linked to their (or their
firm’s) PACER account so that only one login/password is required to
use CM/ECF for filing or case review.
We also invite the public to register for “interested person”
accounts that do not provide filing privileges, but allow the user to
receive notification in cases when filings are made. Follow the link
above to register but select “other” instead of “attorney”.
CLE Seminar – USDC EDLA’s New Mandatory Rules for
Electronic Filing of New Complaints, Removals and
Other Initial Filings beginning October 19, 2009
The Clerk’s Office of the Eastern District of Louisiana and
The Federal Bar Association - New Orleans Chapter
NO TUITION ~ NO REGISTRATION FEE
Seminar Registration Required
• Filing the Initial Complaint • Paying filing fees
• Filing a Notice of Removal • Issuing summons for service
• Handling emergency relief (TROs, etc.) • Determining case assignment
Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Location: Ceremonial Courtroom, 5th Floor
United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana
500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
Email: ____________________________ Firm/Employer: ____________________________
Phone: _______________________________ Fax: __________________________________
Please Return this Form to: Camille Zeller, Attorney Conference Center
Hale Boggs Federal Building, Room B364
500 Poydras Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Phone: (504) 589-7990
Please help us honor our judiciary
and celebrate their contributions to our community.
Federal Bar Association
New Orleans Chapter’s
Annual Federal Judges’ Reception
Cocktails and Buffet Dinner
Featuring the Joe Simon Trio
Thursday, November 12, 2009
6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
R.S.V.P. to 504-589-7990 Louisiana Supreme Court • 400 Royal Street
If you are interested in attending this year’s Annual Judges’ Reception, please forward your completed registration form to Camille
Zeller at the Attorney Conference Center, 500 Poydras Street, Room B-364, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. Please contact Camille if
you are interested in participating as a sponsor of this event.
FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION – NEW ORLEANS CHAPTER
ANNUAL FEDERAL JUDGES’ RECEPTION • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2009
Louisiana Supreme Court Building - 400 Royal Street – French Quarter • 6:30–9:00 p.m.
Name (Individual or Sponsoring Firm):____________________________________________________________________________
Phone: _________________ Fax: ___________________ E-mail: _____________________________________________________
A. No. of persons attending: ____ at $50.00 per person, or
_____ at $45.00 per person (federal law clerks and employees)
B. Sponsorships: ___ Platinum ($1,250 – 10 tickets)
___ Gold ($750 – 5 tickets) SPONSORS: Please submit a separate list
___ Silver ($500 – 2 tickets) of the persons who will attend the event.
Total enclosed: $ _______________
Please return this form and remittance to:
Attorney Conference Center NOTE: Please make checks payable to:
Room 364, 500 Poydras Street Federal Bar Association
New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 589-7990
MALCOLM MONROE FEDERAL PRACTICE SEMINAR
sponsored by the youngers lawyers division of
the federal bar association, new orleans chapter
friday, november 20, 2009
registration 8:00 a.m. • seminar 8:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
pan american life center, 601 poydras street, 11th floor, new orleans, la 70130
Each year the Younger Lawyers Division of the Federal practice in federal courts and facilitating interaction and
Bar Association New Orleans Chapter, hosts the Malcolm W. communication between the bar and the judiciary. The many
Monroe Federal Practice Seminar. Malcolm W. Monroe was benefits of Federal Bar Association membership include
president of both the national Federal Bar Association and the invitations to Federal Bar Association activities and functions,
New Orleans Chapter and a leader in the New Orleans legal such as our popular Lunch with the Court program and our
community. It is in his honor that we present this seminar each annual Federal Judges’ Reception, special member rates for
year. CLE programs, complimentary subscriptions to national and
The Malcolm W. Monroe Federal Practice Seminar local Federal Bar Association publications and numerous
offers attorneys a unique opportunity to fulfill continuing legal opportunities to interact with members of the federal bench
education requirements and, at the same time, obtain and bar.
admission to all federal courts in Louisiana, including the U.S. This year we are pleased to offer a half-day seminar
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a joint admission on a variety of topics that should prove both entertaining
ceremony held at the end of the seminar. and educational, presented by experienced practitioners and
In addition, by registering for the seminar, attendees federal judges. Presentations will focus on ethics, professionalism,
become members of the Federal Bar Association, an law office management and federal practice.
organization dedicated to improving the quality of The registration deadline is Friday, November 6, 2008.
If you are interested in attending this year’s Malcolm Monroe Federal Practice Seminar, please contact
Camille Zeller at the Attorney Conference Center (589-7990), or visit the website at: www.nofba.org.
The packet of district court enrollment forms must be completed and received at the ATTorney ConFerenCe CenTer
no LATer THAn noVeMBer 7, 2008
The Federal Bar Association welcomes its new members:
John T. Balhoff M. L. Juran
Sher Garner Attorney at Law
P. Michael D. Breeden III Bernard Marcus
Attorney at Law Lehmann Norman & Marcus, LC
Cynthia M. Cimino Adam P. Massey
Federal Public Defenders Office - EDLA Krebs, Krebs & Jurgens, PLLC
Alison DeClouet Benjamin B. Saunders
Stanley, Reuter, Ross, Thornton & Alford LLC Davis & Saunders, PLC
Carl E. Hellmers III Patrick J. Schepens
Frilot, LLC Lewis, Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson
Russ M. Herman Christina M. Soileau
Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar, LLP Milling Benson Woodward, LLP
Darleen M. Jacobs Hanna M. Verlander
The Law Offices of Darleen M Jacobs Attorney at Law
Kristina L. Junot Zachary L. Wool
Bienvenu, Foster, Ryan & O’Bannon Stanley, Reuter, Ross, Thornton & Alford LLC
If you would like to become a member of the FBA, or know someone who would like to become a member, please call
Eric R. Nowak, Membership Chair at 504-522-7885, or Camille Zeller at 589-7990 for more information.
FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION 2009
ANNUAL MEETING AND AWARDS LUNCHEON
On August 21, 2009, the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association
held its Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Plimsoll Club on the 30th Floor of
the World Trade Center overlooking the Mississippi River. The 310 attendees
were treated to lunch, chapter business, and an enlightening talk by Chief Justice
Catherine D. “Kitty” Kimball of the Supreme Court of Louisiana. James M.
Garner, now immediate Past President, welcomed our members to the event with
a short update on the state of the chapter, which remains the largest FBA chapter
in the nation.
In addition to chapter business, Mr. Garner presented the President’s Award, an
annual award that recognizes a lawyer for community leadership outside the practice
of law. This year’s recipient was Paul Pastorek, Louisiana’s State Superintendent
of Education. Mr. Pastorek received the President’s Award for his leadership and
hard work to improve education in New Orleans and in the State.
Next, the Honorable Sarah S. Vance, Chief Judge of the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presented the John R. “Jack” Martzell
Professionalism Award for outstanding professionalism in the practice of law to Chief Justice Catherine Kimball
recipients Marian Mayer Berkett and Russ Herman.
The final award, the Camille F. Gravel, Jr. Pro Bono Award, was
presented by Chief Judge Vance to several attorneys who have handled
federal and state post-conviction proceedings on a pro bono basis. The
award recipients were K. Eric Gisleson and Charles D. Marshall, III of
Chaffe, McCall, Phillips, Toler & Sarpy, L.L.P.; Lawrence J. Ernst of
Christovich & Kearney, L.L.P.; John Jerry Glas and Douglas R. Elliott
of Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles; Richard G. Duplantier, Jr. and Doris T.
Bobadilla of Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith; M. Richard
Schroeder, Andrew R. Lee and Avery B. Pardee of Jones Walker; Kim
M. Boyle of Phelps Dunbar LLP; David S. Bland of LeBlanc Bland,
P.L.L.C.; Lindsay A. Larson, III of King, Krebs & Jurgens, P.L.L.C.; L.
Eades Hogue of Lemle & Kelleher, L.L.P.; Joe B. Norman and Michael
D. Rubenstein of Liskow & Lewis; G. William “Bill” Jarman and
Charles S. Trey McCowan, III of Kean Miller; and William A. Porteous, The passing of the gavel fron
III, posthumously, of Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson, L.L.P. Jim Garner to Stevan Dittman
After the award ceremony, Chief Judge Sarah Vance briefly addressed the
Chapter. Thereafter, Judge Eldon E. Fallon held the election of our Chapter’s
officers and Board of Directors for 2009-2010. The Nominating Committee’s
slate of officers and directors was unanimously approved, and Judge Fallon
administered the oath of office to them.
Stevan C. Dittman received the gavel and assumed the role of our Chapter’s
new President. Other officers elected were Barry W. Ashe, President-Elect/
Treasurer, the Honorable Kurt D. Engelhardt, Vice President, Aimee M. Quirk,
Recording Secretary, and Eric R. Nowak, Membership Chair.
The annual meeting’s formal business activities were followed by an
informative and entertaining keynote speech by Chief Justice Kimball. She
discussed the state court system and ongoing improvements to the administration
of justice. The meeting was adjourned and another busy year begins for our
Chief Judge Sarah S. Vance
FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION 2009
ANNUAL MEETING AND AWARDS LUNCHEON
Stevan Dittman and
Joe B. Norman accepting the Nannette Jolivette Brown, Kelly Legier, Allen Miller, Nathalie Walker
Camille F. Gravel, Jr. Pro Bono Past President Mike McGlone, Tracey Knight
Award on behalf of the recipients and Wendy Hickok Robinson
Hon. Lance Africk, Russ Herman, Fred Longer, Hon. Jerry A. Brown and Past President John Butler
Arnold Levin, Hon. Kurt Engelhardt
Judy Barrasso, Chief Justice Kitty Kimball, Chris Zainey, Hon. Jay Zainey, Miles Clements, Hon. Lance Africk,
Chief Judge Sarah Vance Pam Turgeau, Louie Layrisson
FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION 2009
ANNUAL MEETING AND AWARDS LUNCHEON
Montgomery Barnett Table with
David Guerry, Patrick O'Keefe, Ashley Belleau,
Paul Pastorek, Andrew Lilly, Steve Williamson,
Irving Warshauer, Stevan Dittman, Robert David
Camille Zeller, Helen Gioe, Mary Ann Garner,
James Garner, Jo Aline Chocheles, Tracie Garner
John Jerry Glas,
James Garner and
Hailey Grisamore, Penny Herman Grisamore,
John R. "Jack" Martzell Professionalism Award
recipient Russ Herman, Stephen Herman
FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION 2009
ANNUAL MEETING AND AWARDS LUNCHEON
Helen Gioe, Tracie Garner, James Garner, Mary Ann Garner, Don Haycraft, Janet Daley Duval, Erin Arnold
FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION
2009-2010 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Standing: Hon. Charles “Fritz” Fulbruge, Barry Ashe, Eric Nowak, Janet Daley Duval,
Kevin Klibert, Doug Moore, Chuck Talley, Christopher Alfieri, Wendy Hickok Robinson,
Celeste Coco-Ewing, Steven Griffith, Allen Miller
Seated: Tracey Knight, Kelly McNeil Legier, James Garner, Stevan Dittman,
Hon. Sarah Vance, Nanette Jolivette Brown
FBA SPONSORS MEDIATION WORKSHOP AT FEDERAL COURT
By Nannette Jolivette Brown
The Federal Bar Association, New Orleans
Chapter sponsored a Mediation Workshop on
Thursday, September 10 at the U.S. District
Court House in the Courtroom of the Honorable
Lance M. Africk.
Panelists were Lance M. Africk, U.S.
District Judge for the Eastern District of
Louisiana, Sally Shushan, U.S. Magistrate Judge
for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Professor
Bobby Marzine Harges of MAPS and Loyola
University School of Law, and Bernard H.
McLaughlin, Jr., Esq. of McLaughlin Mediation
in Lake Charles and Lafayette. The program Peter Wanek, Bernard H. McLaughlin, Jr., Professor Bobby Marzine Harges,
was moderated by Peter Wanek of McCranie, Hon. Sally Shushan, Hon. Lance M. Africk, and Nannette Jolivette Brown
Sistrunk, Anzelmo, Hardy and McDaniel and
this writer, Nannette Jolivette Brown, Attorney/
Mediator with Chaffe McCall, L.L.P.
This was an interactive workshop with the
moderators posing questions to the panelists for
their view and interpretation and then drawing
participation from the audience. The program
began with an explanation of the mediation
process making distinctions and drawing
similarities between private and court-ordered
The group went on to discuss what should
go into the lawyer and client’s preparation
for the mediation, including an assessment of
the client’s role and participation, and frank
discussions about realistic expectations. There Bernard H. McLaughlin, Jr., Professor Bobby Marzine Harges,
was an exchange about the expectations of Hon. Lance M. Africk, and Hon. Sally Shushan
mediators from lawyers and their clients and
about what lawyers and their clients expect
The panel members also discussed the
psychology and methodology they each employ
during the mediation process and shared their
own individual closing techniques and methods
for breaking impasse.
The participants were awarded two hours
Continuing Legal Education credit. The group
extended a special thank you to Camille Zeller
of the FBA staff, for her help in organizing this
event. An attentive audience
NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION
On September 10-12, 2009, the National Convention of
the Federal Bar Association was held at the Skirvin Hilton in
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The New Orleans Chapter was
well represented at the convention. Chapter President, Stevan
Dittman and Director and National President-Elect, Ashley
Belleau were joined by Directors and Chapter Past-Presidents
Virginia Schlueter, Matthew Moreland, and Patrick O’Keefe.
The members of the chapter were able to attend multiple tracks
of continuing legal education including federal criminal law,
federal civil practice, and expert discovery in federal lawsuits.
During the Awards Ceremony of the National Convention,
Ashley Belleau addresses Ashley Belleau promotes the New Orleans Chapter was repeatedly honored. The
the convention the 2010 Convention Chapter received the Chapter Activity Award for our overall
in New Orleans Chapter activities, The Outstanding Newsletter Award for The
Advocate, and three Presidential Citation Awards for the 17th
Annual Rubin Symposium, the “Bankruptcy and Consumer
Law for Nonspecialists” seminar, and the “Copyright and
The convention also marked the opportunity to promote
the 2010 National Convention which will be held in New
Orleans at The Ritz Carlton in the French Quarter. The 2010
Convention will culminate with the Presidential Installation
Ceremony during which New Orleans Chapter Director Ashley
Belleau will be sworn in as National President.
Patrick O’Keefe, Ashley Belleau, Virginia Schlueter,
Stevan Dittman and Matthew Moreland
Save The Date
2010 NatioNal CoNveNtioN
iN New orleaNs, louisiaNa
September 23 – 25, 2010
An exciting lineup of CLe Seminars and networking events
are in the works, so mark your calendars now.
Advance sponsorships are also available.
For more information, contact Camille Zeller at 504-589-7990
Trials & TribulaTions
In re FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde MDL, 07 -1873, Section tactics on a disputed plumbing debt. The plaintiff claimed the
N (Jury trial held September 14-24, 2009.) agency, in its efforts to collect the disputed debt, had threatened
to have him arrested and to have a lien place on his property. He
Products liability and Negligence also claimed the agency was not registered as a debt collector
in violation of state law, and that it had used a business alias in
This was the first of several bellwether trials in the Multi- violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
District Litigation concerning formaldehyde exposure in trailers As a result of these tactics, the plaintiff alleged that he suffered
provided by FEMA to disaster victims. In this case, Alana anxiety and depression. The agency disputed the allegations as
Alexander claimed she and her minor son were harmed by well as the causal connection between the alleged acts and the
exposure to formaldehyde fumes while living in a travel trailer injuries claimed.
provided by FEMA as emergency housing in the aftermath
of Hurricane Katrina. Before trial, the Court dismissed the After one hour of deliberations, the jury rendered a verdict for
son’s claims against the government as time-barred under the plaintiff, finding the agency had violated the FDCPA. But
the 2 year statutes of limitations in the Federal Torts Claims the jury awarded no damages.
Act; Alexander then voluntarily dismissed her claims against
FEMA. The defendants at trial were Gulf Stream Coach, Huey v. Super-Fresh/Sav-A-Center, Inc., 07-1169, Section I,
Inc., the manufacturer of the trailer, and Fluor Enterprises, the 1 (Jury trial held July 13, 2009.)
contractor that installed the trailer on plaintiffs’ property. The
plaintiffs maintained Gulf Stream was liable because the trailer Breach of Lease/Misrepresentation/Insurance
was “unreasonably dangerous” under the Louisiana Product
Liability Act. They claimed Fluor was liable based on its Hurricane Katrina damaged a supermarket building leased to
hauling and installation of the trailer. In addition to denying Sav-A-Center. The lessors of the building sued Sav-A-Center
liability, defendants maintained that neither of the plaintiffs had and its guarantor for bad faith breach of the lease and wrongful
suffered compensable injuries while living in the trailer. deprivation of insurance proceeds related to the building
damage, seeking to recover past due rent, insurance premiums,
The jury rendered a verdict for the defendants. The jury real estate taxes, and forbearance fees that plaintiffs paid its
found that the trailers were not “unreasonably dangerous” in mortgage holder. The lessors also sued Sav-A-Center’s insurer
construction and that Fluor had not acted negligently. for damages and penalties under Louisiana Revised Statutes
Title 22 Sections 658 and 1220.
Potter v. TECO Marine Serices, LLC, 08-294, Section L The jury returned a verdict for the lessors on their claims of
(Jury trial held August 10-13, 2009.) negligent misrepresentation and abuse of rights. The award
was $1.165 million. The Court then sequestered the award in
Maritime/Personal Injury a related matter filed by the lessors’ mortgage holder. As to the
insurer, the jury found it had not been provided with satisfactory
A member of the crew of a barge claimed he was injured when proof of loss and thus was not liable under either Sections 658
he fell off a ladder while sanding and painting the vessel. He or 1220 of Title 22.
sued the barge owner for the injuries on claims of negligence
and unseaworthiness to recover medical expenses, lost wages, Motharam, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., 07-4499,
and pain and suffering. The barge owner maintained that the Section R (Jury trial held June 22-24.)
crew member had failed to use the ladder properly, and further
that the plaintiff’s injuries were limited to aggravation of an Insurance/Bad Faith
existing injury, and that the plaintiff was capable of returning to
work and therefore had failed to mitigate his damages. The owner of a building on the corner of Royal and Canal
Streets sued its insurer claiming the insurer’s tender for wind-
Following a three day trial, the jury found each party at fault related damage due to Hurricane Katrina was insufficient.
in equal measure. The jury awarded $15,000 in future medical The building owner maintained, among other things, a Jack
expense, $40,000 in lost wages, and $125,000 in future wages. Daniels billboard mounted on the building had acted as a sail
during Hurricane Katrina and pulled the front façade loose.
Neyland v. Balsano & Gersh & Associates, Inc., 08-4431, The insurer, which had already made a tender on the claim,
Section A (Jury trial held August 10, 2009.) maintained that the uncompensated portion of the damage was
either pre-existing or unrelated to the wind claim.
Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
The jury rendered a verdict for the insurer, finding that the
A debt collection agency was sued for alleged illegal collection insurer owned no additional funds under the policy.
Trials & TribulaTions (conT’d)
Angela King, M.D. v. University Healthcare L.C., 08-1060, United States of America v. Akasi Lee, et al., 08-0148,
Section S (Jury trial held July 27-31, 2009.) Section S (Jury trial held August 31, 2009.)
Title VII/Equal Pay Medicaid Fraud
A former anesthesiologist at Tulane University Hospital sued A New Beginning of New Orleans entered a provider agreement
the hospital claiming she worked considerably more hours to provide personal care services to eligible recipients meeting
than male anesthesiologists when she returned to work soon the medical necessity requirements for Medicaid’s Early and
after Hurricane Katrina and for several months thereafter. Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program. The
She alleged that the hospital had discriminated against her purpose of the program was to prevent institutionalization of the
on the basis of her sex, retaliated against her by refusing to recipients by providing personal care services in their homes.
negotiate a new employment agreement and by terminating her Akasia Lee was the owner of A New Beginning and assigned
employment, violated the Equal Pay Act by not compensating staff to provide personal care services to children who were
her on the same basis as male anesthesiologists for the same unable to care for themselves. The grand jury charged Akasia
work, breached an alleged oral contract that she would be paid Lee, Queban Lee, Una Favorite Brown, Melinda Langley,
at an hourly rate for the excess hours that she worked after and Ernestine Girod with conspiracy to execute a scheme to
Hurricane Katrina, and violated the Louisiana Unpaid Wages defraud Medicaid by creating false documentation establishing
Statute by not paying her an “excess hours bonus” that she had that the personal-care services were being performed to
earned by working the excess hours. The hospital denied that qualified Medicaid recipients, and, as to Ernestine Girod
it had engaged in any discrimination, retaliation, or unequal and Una Favorite Brown, making false statements to agents
pay, and further denied that an oral contract existed or could of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States
exist when the written employment agreement contained an Department of Health and Human Services. The total amount
“integration clause,” and denied that it had promised bonus allegedly involved was $3.9 million. Akasia Lee and Queban
was “wages” for purposes of the Louisiana statute. Lee pleaded guilty and testified at trial. Una Favorite Brown,
Melinda Langley, and Ernestine Girod proceeded to trial before
The jury rendered a verdict for the plaintiff and awarded a jury.
plaintiff $32,700 on her Equal Pay Act claim. The court
awarded an additional $32,700 as liquidated damages under The jury found all three defendants guilty of a conspiracy. Una
the Equal Pay Act. The jury also found the hospital liable for Favorite Brown was found guilty of health care fraud and of
unpaid wages under the Louisiana statute. The jury returned making false statements. Melinda Langley was found guilty
a verdict for defendant on plaintiff’s Title VII and breach of of two counts of health care fraud and not guilty of the three
contract claims. remaining counts. Ernestine Girod was found guilty of health
care fraud and of making false statements.
Catcor Services, Inc. v. Plaskett et al., 07-3672, Section J
(Bench trial held August 10, 2009.) United States v. Mose Jefferson, 08-085, Section S (Jury trial
held August 10-21, 2009.)
Breach of Contract
Bribery Conspiracy, Bribery, Money Laundering Conspiracy,
The plaintiff wired money at the instruction of its consultant Obstruction of Justice
to a shipyard as a deposit for the construction of a barge. The
plaintiff later discovered the defendants had no intention of In an indictment, the grand jury charged Mose Jefferson with
constructing the barge, and that the plaintiff’s money had been one count of conspiring to commit
applied to another account. The defendants refused to return bribery in connection with a school board program receiving
the money. The plaintiff brought suit against its consultant, the federal funds, three counts of bribery of a school board member,
shipyard, and a third party whose account was credited with one count of money laundering conspiracy, and two counts of
some of the plaintiff’s funds, on ground of breach of contract, obstruction of justice.
fraud, conversion, unfair trade practices, tortuous interference
with a contract, and unjust enrichment. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on two counts of bribery
of an agent receiving federal funds, and on the two counts of
Following a bench trial, the Court held that all defendants obstruction of justice, but acquitted on the conspiracy charge
were liable to plaintiff for repayment of deposit ($385,000.00), and one count of bribery and the money laundering count.
consulting fee ($75,153.98), Naval architect fee ($48,000.00),
and attorney’s fees (to be determined). The Court also awarded
prejudgment interest at Louisiana’s legal rate.
Federal Bar Association FIRST CLASS MAIL
New Orleans Chapter PAI D
c/o Stevan C. Dittman PERMIT NO. 665
Chapter President NEW ORLEANS, LA
500 Poydras St., Room 364
New Orleans, LA 70130
Interested in becoming a member of
the Federal Bar Association?
Federal Bar Association
1220 North Fillmore St., Suite 444
Arlington, VA 22201
Fax (571) 481-9090
Eric R. Nowak
c/o Attorney Conference Center
500 Poydras Street, Room 364
Hale Boggs Federal Building
New Orleans, LA 70130
Membership fee includes both national and
chapter membership in the FBA. You can apply
online at www.fedbar.org.
Editorial Board: WEndy Hickok roBinson, douglas MoorE and cElEstE coco-EWing
and monitor our website, www.nofba.org, for exact dates.
Be sure to check future issues of the Advocate
September 23-25, 2010 .......... 2010 Annual Meeting in New Orleans
December 9, 2009 .......... Last Chance CLE
December 7, 2009 .......... Federal State CLE
December 2, 2009 .......... YLD Holiday Party
November 20, 2009 .......... Malcolm Monroe Federal Practice Seminar
November 12, 2009 .......... Annual Federal Judges’ Reception
October 27, 2009 .......... CLE Seminar - E-Filing
will present the following events:
The New Orleans Chapter and its Younger Lawyers’ Division
SAVE THE DATES FOR UPCOMING EVENTS: