Thursday, October 29, 2015

BP & Vietnamese fishermen filed fraud lawsuits against Watts

BP alleged Texas superlawyer Mikal Watts committed fraud in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans in 2013.  The oil company charged that Mr. Watts attempted to defraud the BP claims process as he stated that he represented over 44,000 clients and made other false statements.  Some of the choice allegations are:

2. Specifically, this Complaint relates to the Seafood Compensation Program of the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement...

3. This Complaint is necessitated by the brazen fraud of attorney Mikal Watts and
his law firm, Watts Guerra LLP – fraud that, if not remedied, stands to cost BP substantial sums and to hold the entire Seafood Compensation Program up to public ridicule. It is not alleged in this Complaint that the Class engaged in any wrongful conduct, only that it unjustly benefited from the wrongdoing of Watts

4. In misrepresentations to BP and this Court, Watts and his firm claimed to represent more than 40,000 deckhands who allegedly suffered economic injuries as a result of the Oil Spill – more than 76 percent of the individuals ultimately projected to be potential claimants under the Seafood Compensation Program (“the Program”). Watts’ representations caused BP to offer $2.3 billion to establish the Seafood Compensation Program to compensate, inter alia, these 40,000-plus deckhands. But we now know that over half of Watts’ alleged clients were phantoms: individuals never represented by Watts, in a number of cases not even commercial fishermen, and in some instances individuals who are deceased....

20. Only 5,998 other SFJs had been filed by other representatives on behalf of individual seafood crew claimants. See id. Thus, Watts filed 88 percent of the individual seafood crew claim SFJs.

41. Watts ultimately filed only 648 individual crew claims under the Seafood Compensation Program – less than 2 percent of the number of crew claimants he purported to represent. Of those 648 claimants, only 8 have been found eligible for payment, with 17 claims still pending and available for possible compensation. In short, more than 98 percent of the Watts claimants never even filed a claim with the Seafood Compensation Program, while 96 percent of the claims that he did file have been denied....

45. While attempting to verify the identities of these claimants, the BPCP discovered that one of its own employees – who was not a commercial fisherman, had never retained Watts as counsel, and had never filed a claim – had been included among Watts’ client list not once, but twice. His first “claim” included his name, current address, a defunct phone number, and a wholly incorrect SSN. His second “claim” included his name, his parents’ address, his parents’ phone number, and a different, incorrect SSN.

46. It is bad enough that Watts filed fraudulent SFJs and BPCP claims for at least 58 percent of the claimants. But, even among the 42 percent of claims with matched names and SSNs, more than 95 percent never filed a claim with the Program. The inference of fraud is overwhelming.....

However, the lawsuits did not stop with BP.  Several Vietnamese fishermen filed suit as well against Mr. Watts. They claimed that he filed suit against BP without their consent.  The plaintiffs stated in that lawsuit:

This case involves a well-known and powerful law firm profiting at the expense of the hard-working Gulf Coast fishermen, the majority of whom are Vietnamese-American, as well as business owners whose lives and ability to earn a living were devastated by the Deepwater Horizon disaster...

2. Mr. Watts and WG were involved in the misappropriation of identities of many of thousands of Gulf Coast Vietnamese-Americans in order to increase his chances of obtaining a position on the Deepwater Horizon Plaintiffs Steering Committee (the “PSC”) for their own financial gain...

3. Mikal Watts and WG held out to the Court that they were attorneys who represented tens of thousands of Vietnamese-American "clients."...

4. Upon information and belief, Mr. Watts and WG committed these blatant wrongs against Plaintiffs, and the members of the putative class, under the arrogant presumption that this minority group of Vietnamese fishermen7 would be scared of Defendants power and influence and thus would bow their heads. Little did they know that the Vietnamese are fighters to their very bones. Since their immigration to the United States after the fall of South Vietnam, the Vietnamese fishermen have successfully sued and fought fearlessly against Ku Klux Klan members,8 various mafias, corrupt government officials, global corporations and communist governments, and many other villains. As Congressman Al Green of Texas said in one of his noted speeches: "Do not ever mess with the Vietnamese Fishermen." (KF note: Or ask the Chinese what happened when they invaded Vietnam)....

 9. Mr. Watts and WG committed various torts against the Vietnamese fishermen and others, such as misappropriation (or negligent misappropriation) of identity, negligent misrepresentation...

The two cases were consolidated and continued in U.S. District Court.  These two cases are probably the basis for the indictment that will be announced later today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jackson received a large settlement. Tell me, how did they suffer any loss! There has to be fraud involved. If anything, Jackson gained, by having tourists come to our city, instead of the coast. Something is very pun intended.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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