While Buddy Caldwell says he is committed to the Meredith v. Ieyoub ruling that prohibits the courts of Louisiana from issuing contingency fees, LLAW’s recent report shows otherwise. AG Caldwell has been providing contracts for a large portion of the state’s legal business to a small group of lawyers with political connections. The Hayride’s coverage shows just how bad the problem is:
The Hayride: AG’s Record Questionable – At Best – On Contingency Fees In some instances, rather than paying the private attorneys a reasonable fee based on their hours of work on the case, he appears to have promised them a percentage of the state’s award through contingency-fee-type arrangements. One example includes outside lawyers representing the state in complex litigation against more than100 drug manufacturers where a clear pattern has emerged. It seems every time a case is settled, the lawyers reap 20 percent of the state’s award.
The Hayride: Caldwell Causes Flareup of ‘Buddy System’ Accusations With Latest Mess Therefore the very meeting, and Caldwell’s choice to discuss the matter publicly, raises the question of a conflict of interest for Mr. Caldwell in discussing a potential pending case in which he may be involved. Also, his involvement in making a decision to approve a continguency contract in the case – required under the law – not only further raises that conflict of interest but outsources public policy decisions to the court inviting expensive lawsuits into public policy decisions.