• Swamp Watch

Coastal Suit Trial Lawyers Dump Millions Into Judicial Races

Updated: May 20

Yesterday, the trial lawyer mouthpieces at “Real Reform Louisiana”, an outlet run by former campaign aides of Governor John Bel Edwards, hypocritically accused Louisiana industry of “trying to rig the courts.”

As we’ve been reporting, this is a consistent pattern among Louisiana’s trial lawyer cartel and the politicians they fund- decrying money spent by industry groups in Louisiana’s elections, despite the lawyers spending significantly more up and down the ballot to influence the outcome of the coastal lawsuits.

Since 2012, the trial lawyers involved in the coastal lawsuits have spent over $3,000,000 in judicial elections alone, in the jurisdictions where the coastal suits were originally filed. In total, 47 of the 82 Judges, nearly 60%, Judges From The Louisiana Supreme Court; The Third, Fourth, And Fifth Court Of Appeals; And The St. Bernard, St. John, Acadia/Lafayette/Vermillion, Plaquemines, Jefferson, And St. Charles District Courts have Benefited From Coastal Litigation Cartel Funds.

The top recipients of those funds include Supreme Court Justices James Genovese and Jeff Hughes of the Louisiana Supreme Court, and Judge Hans Liljeberg of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, who lost a bid for the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2019. All three are Republicans. Those contributions include John Carmouche and his associates, and three PACs with ties to Carmouche- Restore Our Coast PAC, Citizens Fighting Crime PAC, and Citizens for Clean Water and Land PAC. All three, while having innocent enough names, are fronts for Carmouche and his trial lawyer cabal to influence the judiciary in Louisiana- after all, Carmouche himself admits that those same judges will decide the compensation his firm receives in any potential settlement. All three PACs have received over $400,000 from Carmouche’s law firm, share the same addresses and reporting agents, and John Carmouche himself was listed as the Chairman of two of them.

Between direct contributions from the lawyers involved in the coastal suits and the three Carmouche backed PACs, Genovese, Hughes, and Liljeberg received nearly $2.5 million.

*Carmouche Contributions” includes contributions from John Carmouche and spouse, Donald Carmouche and spouse, Victor Marcello, and Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello.

**“Carmouche’s PACs’ Spending In Support” includes spending by Restore Our Coast PAC, Citizens For Clean Water And Land PAC, and Citizens Fighting Crime PAC.

***includes contributions from the six firms allied with Carmouche in the coastal parish litigation: Connick and Connick LLC, Cossich Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor, L.L.C., Burglass and Tankersley L.L.C., Mudd & Burchhaus, Broussard & David LLC and Morrow, Morrow Ryan & Bassett.

Justice Hughes in particular has demonstrated his loyalty to Carmouche and the other trial lawyers, when he intervened in the 2019 race in which they were supporting Judge Hans Liljeberg. Justice Hughes admitted to judicial misconduct over his visit to the home of a former Hammond City Councilman and allegedly offering him $5,000 to switch his support from then-Judge Will Crain to Liljeberg. While Hughes denied the bribery allegation, he did admit to misconduct and was censured by his colleagues, paying a $2,000 fine.

This is yet the latest example of hypocrisy from the coastal suit trial lawyer cartel, and we at Louisiana Swamp Watch will continue to report on their hypocrisy, influence on judges and politicians, and their real motives.

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