Veron omits facts

The Louisiana Record Jan. 17, 2012, 2:00am

To the Editor:

Personal injury lawyer J. Michael Veron's December 19th tirade on lawsuits and the environment not only is misguided but also thinly veils the self-serving agenda through which he and a handful of other plaintiff lawyers have pocketed millions off of "legacy" lawsuits to the detriment of the environment as well as Louisiana workers and taxpayers.

Incredibly Mr. Veron, for all of his self-righteous talk, was the lead counsel in the notorious "Corbello" legacy lawsuit that serves as the poster child of what's wrong with our laws. In this case, the plaintiff was awarded cleanup costs totaling more than $33 million for a relatively small piece of property that was valued at less than $110,000. That money was pocketed by Mr. Venon and others, and today, more than a decade later, the land had never actually been cleaned up!

In fact, the Corbello case was so egregious that it sparked a bipartisan effort to try and fix legacy lawsuit abuse through Act 312 of the Louisiana legislature in 2006. Unfortunately, despite the reform, the legacy lawsuit lawyers still play the system and demand billions of dollars for exaggerated and unrealistic remediation plans that they have no intention of ever implementing.

Mr. Veron's rant in this paper failed to identify his own profit motive to keep the legacy lawsuit system in its current broken state. Also, he incorrectly characterizes my watchdog organization, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, which is supported by many types of individuals and organizations.

As many national groups have pointed out, Louisiana's courts are in some respects among the worst in the nation, and, as one report recently noted, abusive legacy lawsuits are one of the major reasons Louisiana's court system needs to be fixed.

Melissa Landry
Executive Director
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch

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