Hurricane cases filed by Houston firm may move forward

Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 5:04 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Louisiana Supreme Court says hurricane cases filed by the Houston law office of McClenny, Moseley and Associates may move forward.

In May, the Supreme Court issued a stay on all cases filed by the firm, which filed more than 1,400 last-minute cases related to Hurricane Laura.

Federal Judge James David Cain said that was a sign the firm may have been preying on victims.

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelan fined the firm $2 million for receiving and negotiating insurance settlement checks without the policyholder’s authority.

The Supreme Court’s stay will be lifted on Aug. 21, 2023, although trial courts may issue further stays, in addition to 120-day stays in cases in which newly retained attorneys need time to investigate claims.

The high court appointed Edward J. Walters Jr. as special trustee to oversee the cases and provide resources to help clients retain new attorneys, but his role has been completed.

“The Louisiana Supreme Court’s extraordinary actions were in response to serious and unprecedented circumstances,” said Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John L. Weimer. “The Supreme Court expresses its gratitude to Mr. Walters for his service as special trustee, the skill and professionalism that he brought to bear, and the expeditious manner in which he and his team fulfilled their duties. I must also thank Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Chuck Plattsmier, and his staff for their concerted efforts in assisting Mr. Walters. Now that Mr. Walters has diligently completed his work, we expect that these cases will be able to proceed in an efficient and orderly manner in the trial courts, while ensuring and recognizing that our state’s hard-working trial court judges have the authority and flexibility to accomplish this important task.”