Subpoenas obtained in Port lawsuit

(Source: MGN Online)
(Source: MGN Online)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Lawyers for the Lake Charles Stevedores obtained two subpoenas Friday for the bank records of banks in association with the payment of $1.3 million by the Port of Lake Charles to Cooper/T. Smith and Cavalair in 2011.

The subpoenas are a result of a pending lawsuit against the Port of Lake Charles where the Lake Charles Stevedores allege the port violated a breach of contract, misappropriated funds and committed unfair trade practices.

"The court has made one ruling on one claim in the case, we probably have another handful of other claims against the port and the other parties," said Thomas Filo, representing the Lake Charles Stevedores.

The claim of a misappropriation of funds is centered around the port's payment of $1.3 million to Cooper/T.Smith and Cavalair, a previous owner of the Lake Charles Stevedores. In July, Judge Wilford Carter ruled that payment assignment invalid, a ruling that was upheld. Attorneys for the port stand by their action.

"The operator which had been them, should have paid $2 million to maintain the equipment and Mr. Flanagan hadn't done any of that," said the Port's outside counsel, Ben Slater. "So, they discounted it substantially to compensate for what they knew their duties were in which Mr. Flanagan had scoffed at ... that's why the number was what it was."

The attorneys for the Stevedores believe that $1.3 million payment was a misappropriation of funds and they hope, through the subpoenas, to trace the port funds that were transferred as the case moves toward trial.

"We will move toward trial, we look forward to having this case tried and full to a jury here in Calcasieu Parish," said Filo.

Lawyers for the port have stated that they plan to appeal Carter's partial summary judgment ruling that granted the stevedores $5.56 million.

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