• Swamp Watch

"The Taxpayers Have to Pay the Bill"

Questions have swirled on who pays for Louisiana's coastal lawsuits. The answer: you

Last year, Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that he had signed onto a $100 million settlement in one of Louisiana's largest and longest running lawsuits against oil and gas companies, with Freeport-McMoRan. The settlement agreement first came to light in 2019, and is still pending legislative and local action before moving forward.

At the time the settlement was announced, questions and criticisms from local and legislative leaders immediately swirled about the secretive process to which it was agreed, as the lead attorney in the case, John Carmouche, refused to make many of the details public. Landry ultimately released it after signing-off on behalf of the state.

One of the many questions raised was who would ultimately be responsible for paying the attorneys in the case, specifically the Tablot Carmouche & Marcello firm that represents coastal parishes in over 200 lawsuits against oil & gas companies. The details of the settlement did not dictate any contingency fees, and exempts Freeport-McMoRan from paying attorney fees, leaving it up to a Judge to decide on attorney fees at a later date, based on the settlement amount. Given that Carmouche claims to have bankrolled the lawsuits, that still leaves the question: How does he get paid?

In a legislative hearing in May 2020, Carmouche made that clear: You, the taxpayer.

Coastal Lawsuit Attorney John Carmouche: "I’ve Said It 50 Times, I’ll Say It

Again. I’ll Go Under Oath...The Only Way This Happens Is The Taxpayers Have To

Pay The Bill.”

The coastal lawsuits, pushed by trial lawyers like John Carmouche, already cost Louisiana taxpayers $70 million a year, with lawsuit abuse costing the average taxpayer $451 a year. Can taxpayers really afford to be on the hook for more?

You can read all of our previous stories on Louisiana's job-killing trial-lawyers here.

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