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La. Supreme Court appoints trustee to deal with Texas firm's insurance mess

The state Supreme Court also punished MMA’s managing partner in Louisiana, suspending William Huye from practicing law in Louisiana.

NEW ORLEANS — With thousands of hurricane insurance claims thrown into disarray by a Texas-based law firm and its now-suspended attorneys, the Louisiana Supreme Court acted Thursday to try to make sense of the mess.

The state’s high court appointed Baton Rouge personal-injury attorney Edward Walters Jr. as special trustee, to wrangle what the court called a “multitude” of lawsuits filed by Houston-based McClenny Moseley and Associates in various Louisiana state courts.

McClenny Moseley, or MMA, is already facing major sanctions in federal courts, where U.S. District Judge James Cain and U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay in Lake Charles and U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael North in New Orleans blasted the law firm’s methods for signing up claims for Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Ida. MMA is accused of signing up thousands of clients in bulk since 2021 by using automated texts and robocalls and trying to negotiate settlements and collect high contingency fees.

The federal judges determined MMA often did that without an attorney speaking to the clients, causing the firm to sometimes file claims against the wrong insurer or without the claimants even knowing they’d hired a lawyer. MMA’s actions and the disruption it’s caused for thousands of storm victims was detailed in the WWL-TV investigative series “Insured to Lose” earlier this month.

The state Supreme Court also punished MMA’s managing partner in Louisiana, suspending William Huye from practicing law in Louisiana. The firm’s other Louisiana-licensed attorneys all resigned, leaving MMA without anyone who could handle the cases going forward.

On May 10, the state Supreme Court stopped all MMA cases and directed the chief judge of every state court to send details of those cases to the Office of Disciplinary Council by the end of May. The order Thursday directs Walters to contact clients MMA represented to help them find new lawyers, using a court-approved list.

That appears to be a critical step to deal with problems that arose in federal court after MMA’s cases were stopped there. MMA and its remaining principal partner, Zach Moseley, kept trying to collect legal fees on cases now being handled by other law firms. The Morris Bart law firm, which has taken on more than 1,000 former MMA clients, filed to block MMA from collecting any fees and complained MMA was still sending messages to its clients.

Plaintiffs also received letters purporting to come from the LaBorde Earles law firm, stating it had an agreement to take over MMA’s cases. In court testimony in April, LaBorde Earles’ principal partner Digger Earles disavowed having any agreement in place with MMA and also denied sending the letters, which were on LaBorde Ealres letterhead.

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