NEW ORLEANS – Another former employee of First NBC Bank Holding Co. has asked a judge to allow her to take out insurance policies in hopes of covering legal costs in the latest round of battles for the company and its previous workers, based on a motion for an order for relief filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
According to the July 26 motion, Mary Beth Verdigets was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the company when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May. She has been listed as a defendant in two cases and has requested monies from insurance policies with agencies in hopes of covering high legal fees and related costs.
The bank had policies with five major insurers: Zurich American Insurance Co., Illinois National Insurance Co., Continental Casualty Co., Great American Insurance Cos., and Federal Insurance Co. The policies totaled $60 million, including $15 million from Zurich, according to a report by The New Orleans Advocate.
As for the multiple cases against her, for one, Verdigets was named a co-defendant in Kinzler v. First NBC Bank holding Co. with allegations of securities fraud based on the banks’ financial statements. While the case was dismissed, the plaintiffs have filed an appeal.
Another case Verdiget is fighting is Smith v. Ryan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. This case will be determined by the final result of Kinzler v. First NBC Bank Holding Co., which is currently in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
While Verdigets has requested to cash in on the insurance policies, Zurich has refused to hand over any money without approval from the court.
Verdigets has cited former director and officer Ashton Ryan's recent motion to support her request and argued that she should have the same coverage as Ryan. She also said the Ryan motion implies “good cause” for the court to remove the automatic stay that was placed, the motion states. Ryan had filed his motion for an order of relief in July 14 with the bankruptcy court.
Verdigets’ petition comes after First NBC Bank’s (a subsidiary of First NBC Bank Holding Co.) former president Ryan asked a bankruptcy court judge for permission to take money out of his insurance policies in the latest round of his legal battles.
Judge Elizabeth Magner heard Ryan’s case.
Attorney Alysson Mills of Fishman Haygood LLP law firm in New Orleans wrote in court documents that Ryan had “already incurred attorneys’ fees and costs and will continue to incur significant attorneys’ fees and costs in defense of the claims.”
Mills told the Louisiana Record that she had no relation to Ryan’s case and referred the publication to Grant Schnell of Holland & Knight. Schnell did not respond to requests for a comment.
Still, Ryan has more legal woes on his hands. Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens filed a lawsuit against Ryan in 2015 with claims that Ryan was irresponsible and perilous with his loan decisions. He said Ryan had “negligence for their continued, systematic and reckless financing,” following First NBC’s loan agreement with a Georgia car insurance company, Southern Casualty Insurance Co. in 2007, according to the New Orleans Advocate. At the time the company was experiencing a financial downward spiral and went bankrupt six years later. Ryan has responded to Hudgens’ claims and said they are “baseless,” according to the New Orleans Advocate.
Ryan was removed from his role as the bank’s CEO in December. He maintained his title as president until he resigned in April.
Ryan’s original hearing was set for Aug. 22 but has been rescheduled for Sept. 12.