11 December 2005

new judge wastes no time joining the old boy network

back in june 9th judicial district court judge b dexter ryland passed away. five candidates ran for the spot and patricia koch won outright with 51% of the vote in fact, judge koch, received more votes than the other four challengers combined.

so anyway, cleco is suing some former employees because cleco alledges that they "broke confidentially agreements". we really need a scorecard to keep track of all these lawsuits because there are about 3 or 4 that we know of. see 3 former execs' lawsuit against city moved to federal court. in this article published on 18 october 2005 they talk about how alexandria mayor ned randolph has hired charlie weems of the so called "gold" firm to represent the city in federal court. then in this article filed by jim leggett we see how the gold firm is being sued for overbilling a former client and the rather brazenly scandalous attempt by 9th judicial judge harry randow to cover it all up.

town talk reporter billy gunn writes that us district judge dee drell offered to recuse himself from one of the lawsuits because he is a city of alexandria ratepayer. this is disingenuous of mr gunn at best because in reality we know that judge drell came from the gold law firm and that in fact charlie weems and the other us district judge f a "pappy" little jr are the incorporators of the gold firm. judge drell's son bradley is an attorney there. so in effect here in alexandria, we have one law firm, one clique of lawyers, controlling the federal bench.

so enter new judge patricia koch into all this mess who promptly rules that she cant see anything wrong with a fellow judge, 9th judicial judge george metoyer presiding over a case in which his wife works for one of the litigants. what a joke our legal system is.

Judge backs Metoyer for Cleco case
By Billy Gunn
(318) 487-6378

A district judge on Monday found no reason a fellow judge should bow out of Cleco Corp.'s case against two former employees because the judge's wife works for the city of Alexandria.

"I do not find there's any reason for (Judge George Metoyer Jr.) to recuse himself" because he "has continued to show that impartiality" and because Cleco's arguments did not meet the stringent standards developed for judge recusals, newly sworn-in 9th Judicial District Court Judge Patricia Koch said.

Cleco attorney Richard Stanley said no decision has been made yet on whether the utility would appeal Koch's ruling.
Metoyer on Oct. 30 refused to recuse himself from the lawsuit.

The case is scheduled for a jury trial next year.

Two former Cleco employees, Sam Sansing and David Pugh, have alleged that during years of wholesale electricity transactions, the utility took advantage of the city's ratepayers to the tune of millions of dollars.

Cleco sued the two for allegedly breaking confidentiality agreements, a lawsuit that has spawned two other cases now in federal court.

On Monday, Stanley cited court papers where former Cleco electricity trader Sam Sansing purportedly brought the city into the case.

He also said that earlier in the lawsuit's history, Metoyer mentioned he might have to recuse himself if the city became part of the case.

"It's not with joy we bring this motion in, but it's too important a case to my client (Cleco)," Stanley said.

Stanley also said U.S. District Judge Dee Drell offered to recuse himself from a separate case, where the city is suing Cleco, because the judge is an Alexandria ratepayer. Drell remains the judge in that case.

Sansing attorney Jacques Roy argued the city's peripheral involvement in Sansing and Pugh's case is nothing new, and that Cleco did not meet the high standard for recusing judges from cases.

"A judge is presumed to be impartial," Roy said. "There is, in fact, a duty" for a judge to preside over a case unless there is an overwhelming appearance of bias or evidence of it, he said.

Originally published November 29, 2005
town talk article added 12:03 pm cdt monday 03 april 2006
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