Governor Jindal outlined his key legislative priorities for 2014 in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press — and one of the big items was legal reform, especially regarding the power of trial lawyers in certain arrangements in the state. Read the full AP article online, or check out our except here:
On other legal issues, Jindal is backing a series of bills by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, that seek to undermine a lawsuit filed by a New Orleans-area levee board against more than 90 oil and gas companies whose drilling activities are blamed for coastal erosion in vulnerable wetlands.
Jindal has called the board’s lawsuit a windfall for trial lawyers because of the contingency fee arrangement, which would give the attorneys a slice of any judgment rather than a flat fee.
He’s backing an Adley bill that would prohibit Louisiana’s flood protection authorities from hiring outside lawyers without approval from the governor, require lawmakers to sign off on board contingency fee arrangements and apply the restrictions retroactively, attempting to void the lawsuit.
Another Adley bill would give the governor more authority in choosing levee board members, reversing a policy enacted after the levee failures and catastrophic flooding of Hurricane Katrina that left nearly all the selection process to engineers, academics and others outside of state government.