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Judge Orders Lawyers to Repay Portion of Client’s Fraudulent Claim

We’ve been keeping track of fraud in the Gulf litigation and highlighting the abuses in the system – and now a Louisiana-based judge is taking action to make the situation right.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that, “U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier in April ruled Casey C. Thonn and the lawyers who represented him in a shrimping claim repay the amount after an investigation revealed the payment was made based on phony tax returns.”

This ruling is a change of “business as usual,” where for the first time a judge is requiring someone with a fraudulent claim to pay back the money taken from the settlement fund.

This is also the first time a judge has called the lawyers at fault in the scenario. “According to Wednesday’s court order, the attorneys are ’jointly and severally liable’ for repayment of the claim,” states the article.

We’re encouraged by the attention being paid to fictitious claims like this one and glad that officials are taking note of the this type of abuse which is an embarrassment for Louisianans. We’ll be continuing to follow the settlement process to monitor for abuse and encourage fair treatment of all citizens, including addressing those who seek to game the system by filing questionable or unproven claims.

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