Louisiana Record

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

'We will expose all of this corruption,' plaintiff in Louisiana DODT, Second Circuit case says

By Karen Kidd | Nov 13, 2019

Mangham contractor Jeff Mercer | Photo courtesy of Jeff Mercer

MONROE – A Mangham contractor who alleges his 2015 $20 million verdict in his long-running corruption lawsuit was overturned by state and judicial corruption is planning another filing today ahead of a hearing next week.

Jeff Mercer, in emails to the Louisiana Record, provided a draft copy of his opposition to a motions to quash and stay production by the Caddo Parish District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office. Mercer said his attorneys will file the opposition later today in Ouachita Parish District Court in his litigation against the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD).

The opposition will reveal how corruption lead to a Second Circuit Court of Appeal's three-judge panel, headed by then Chief Judge Henry Brown Jr., in June 2017 to throw out an earlier verdict in Mercer's favor, Mercer said.  

"It will show how the Caddo DA and the Caddo Sherriff's Office is working with the Second Circuit to hide these records," Mercer said. "The Current DA, James E. Stewart Sr., was a Second Circuit Judge from 1994-2014 when Henry Brown was the Chief Judge of the Second Circuit."

Stewart, a former district court judge as well as a former appeals court judge, also "is claiming to be reopening the case against the Second Circuit" that Stewart should recuse himself for such an investigation, Mercer said.

"This is a direct conflict of interest," Mercer said. "He, nor anyone from his office, cannot legally investigate the Second Circuit or anyone from the Second Circuit. These are judges and ex-judges trying to protect each other."

Hearing on motions is scheduled next week in Courtroom 5 at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse.  

"Like I’ve said, you must be at the Nov 21 hearing if at all possible," Mercer said. "We will expose all of this corruption."

The Louisiana Record reached out to Caddo Parish's communications manager late Tuesday but has not yet received a reply.

In September, Mercer's 17-page petition to annul the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeals 2017 judgment in Ouachita Parish District Court was filed on his behalf by attorneys David P. Doughty and John B. Hoychick in Cotton, Bolton, Hoychick & Doughty Rayville's office.

Mercer is seeking to restore the 2015 verdict in his corruption lawsuit against the DOTD, filed about eight years earlier, in which he claimed state DOTD officials made his jobs costly and difficult and that he ultimately lost his business after he refused to pay a bribe.

The Second Circuit, in its decision to toss the verdict, said Mercer had not proven the DOTD officials had acted with malice or had prevented him from submitting contracts to the state. The appeals court also rendered judgment in favor of the state, rather than remanding the case back to Ouachita Parish.

In October of the following year, Brown abruptly resigned from the bench following accusations that he had tried to intimidate fellow Second Circuit Judge Jeff Cox during an unrelated case before the court that involved a friend of Brown's, Hahn Williams.

Cox also had been part of the Second Circuit panel in Mercer's case.

While Mercer maintains that Stewart should recuse himself, he also admitted that it isn't clear who should reopen the investigation into corruption on the Second Circuit.

"It would next go up to the Attorney General's office, but the AG office is representing the DOTD in our case," he said. "Next, It would kick up to the FBI, but the FBI sent an ex-DOTD employee, who is now an FBI agent, to my house to investigate a false claim by DOTD which was a main factor in putting me out of business. This same FBI agent showed up at the meeting with myself and my attorneys while meeting about judge Brown. This FBI agent is exDOTD and best friends with one of the DOTD employees that was held “individually” liable guilty in the jury trial in Ouachita parish."

In addition to opposition over the motions to quash and stay, Mercer said he also plans to file "in opposition of the second circuit trying to keep us from the records."

"They don't even have a legal argument," Mercer continued. "They just know when these records are out, cases will hit them from every direction wanting theirs looked at again due to ill practices and corruption."

Though his litigation now is more than a decade old, Mercer said he's "holding up great."

"I have great attorneys and we will not quit until justice is done," he said. "You know how when you are a kid your parents tell you 'one lie leads to another lie'? That's what's happening to the state and all these agencies. It's getting deeper and deeper for them."

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Organizations in this Story

Louisiana Department of Transportation and DevelopmentCaddo Parish District Attorney's OfficeLouisiana Second Circuit Court of AppealLouisiana 4th Judicial District Court - Ouachita Parish Courthouse