W&R file $18M Civil Rights Lawsuit

Gre­gory Rome filed an $18 Mil­lion civil rights law­suit in fed­eral court on Thurs­day in con­nec­tion with the death of 19-year-old Nimali Henry in St. Bernard Parish Jail last spring. The law­suit alleges that the Jail’s employ­ees neglected or refused to pro­vide nec­es­sary med­ical care to Nimali Henry, result­ing in her death. It is brought on behalf of Nimali’s infant child, who was four months old at the time of her mother’s death.

Cov­er­age at The New Orleans Advo­cate.

Rome elected to LSBA House of Delegates

Gre­gory W. Rome has been elected to serve in the Louisiana State Bar Asso­ci­a­tion House of Del­e­gates, the LSBA’s policy-making body. His term will begin at the LSBA’s 2015 annual meet­ing next June and will run for two years. Rome, along with four other attor­neys from St. Bernard’s 34th Judi­cial Dis­trict, ran for the District’s five seats in the House and were cer­ti­fied elected with­out contest.

St. Bernard Parish Defeats Taffaro’s Civil Rights Lawsuit

Chal­mette, Louisiana — The firm obtained a com­plete dis­missal of for­mer Parish Pres­i­dent Craig Taffaro’s civil rights law­suit against St. Bernard Parish and its employ­ees Friday.

Mr. Taf­faro sued St. Bernard Parish Gov­ern­ment, Parish Pres­i­dent David Per­alta, other high level Parish employ­ees, and a St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Deputy in fed­eral court last Novem­ber fol­low­ing the recov­ery of thou­sands of pages of miss­ing Parish doc­u­ments from Mr. Taffaro’s per­sonal stor­age unit. Mr. Taf­faro removed the doc­u­ments from the Parish’s offices after los­ing his bid for reelec­tion in 2011.

Mr. Taf­faro alleged that the defen­dants vio­lated his civil rights by search­ing his stor­age unit and that they defamed him,  caused him emo­tional dis­tress, and unjustly inter­fered with his present employ­ment as Direc­tor of Haz­ard Mit­i­ga­tion for the Louisiana Depart­ment of Admin­is­tra­tion under Gov­er­nor Jin­dal. He demanded at least $2.75 mil­lion in damages.

Judge Mar­tin Feld­man of the East­ern Dis­trict of Louisiana granted the firm’s motion to dis­miss Mr. Taffaro’s law­suit Fri­day. The Court noted that Mr. Taf­faro failed to allege any facts that, if proven at trial, would show that St. Bernard Parish and its employ­ees vio­lated his rights. In par­tic­u­lar, the Court dis­missed Mr. Taffaro’s civil rights claims because the defen­dants located the miss­ing Parish records while exe­cut­ing a valid search war­rant issued as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion into the records’ disappearance.

The full text of the Court’s opin­ion is avail­able here: Taf­faro v. Per­alta Dis­missal Order.

Firm’s advocacy for Parish employees makes the news

This week, local news site nola.com again reported on the fed­eral law­suit filed by for­mer Parish Pres­i­dent Taf­faro against St. Bernard Parish and sev­eral of its high-ranking offi­cials. The firm rep­re­sents sev­eral St. Bernard Parish employ­ees in that lawsuit.

In the arti­cle, the reporter quoted exten­sively from Gre­gory Rome’s mem­o­ran­dum sup­port­ing his clients’ motion to dis­miss the lawsuit:

Gre­gory Rome, the attor­ney rep­re­sent­ing most of the other parish gov­ern­ment per­son­nel named in the suit, argued that “Mr. Taffaro’s com­plaint tries to paint a pic­ture of a Parish Gov­ern­ment rid­dled with sin­is­ter actors work­ing in the dark to destroy him.”

Instead, it reveals Mr. Taf­faro grasp­ing at straws, carp­ing about seem­ingly every real or imag­ined slight he has ever received, and des­per­ately try­ing to jus­tify his own bad behav­ior through the use of the fed­eral courts,” Rome wrote.

Rome later argues that Taffaro’s com­plaint “piles para­graph upon para­graph of scan­dalous, irrel­e­vant, and deroga­tory accu­sa­tions in hopes that some­thing will stick and that, per­haps if he blows enough smoke, the Court will infer the pos­si­bil­ity of fire.”

Rome adds, “defama­tion requires more than an alle­ga­tion that some­one did some­thing Mr. Taf­faro did not like.”

 Mr. Taf­faro has not yet responded to the motion.
UPDATE: The law­suit against St. Bernard Parish and its employ­ees has been dis­missed.

Civil Law Dictionary Reviewed

Last year, Gre­gory W. Rome co-authored the Civil Law Dic­tio­nary with scholar and attor­ney Stephan Kin­sella. The book has been get­ting some renewed atten­tion lately.

Last month, Philip Gragg reviewed the Dic­tio­nary in the lat­est issue of LSU’s Jour­nal of Civil Law Stud­ies. From the article:

This work is a great access point to Louisiana law, par­tic­u­larly for those unfa­mil­iar with the state. It is also a quick ref­er­ence that could be used by practitioners.

And today, Jeff Richard­son reviewed the elec­tronic ver­sion of the Dic­tio­nary on his blog, iPhone J.D. His bot­tom line:

If you prac­tice law in Louisiana, or if you just want to impress your friends with legal terms that almost sound naughty such “naked owner” and “usufruct,” then con­sider get­ting this ebook for your iPad and iPhone.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Mr. Rome on his accom­plish­ment and its warm reception.

Rome elected to state Republican Convention

Recently, Louisiana’s Repub­li­can vot­ers elected Gre­gory W. Rome to rep­re­sent Con­gres­sional Dis­trict 1 at this year’s state con­ven­tion. There, Mr. Rome and his col­leagues will shape the state party’s plat­form and, most impor­tantly, will select the state’s del­e­ga­tion to the 2012 Repub­li­can National Con­ven­tion in Tampa. That del­e­ga­tion will voice Louisiana’s choice in the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion process. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Mr. Rome and all this year’s state delegates.

Bogus Annual Report Forms

Louisiana Sec­re­tary of State Tom Schedler recently warned busi­ness own­ers about cor­re­spon­dence they may receive from pri­vate com­pa­nies regard­ing their annual report fil­ings. At least two pri­vate companies—Louisiana Cor­po­rate Com­pli­ance Busi­ness Ser­vices Divi­sion and Cor­po­rate Com­pli­ance Company—have sent official-looking forms to Louisiana busi­ness own­ers regard­ing their com­pa­nies’ infor­ma­tion, annual reports, and other annual meet­ings and offer­ing to file the reports for a fee.

These com­pa­nies are not affil­i­ated in any way with the Sec­re­tary of State’s office. Send­ing them infor­ma­tion or pay­ing them will not ful­fill a company’s annual report­ing oblig­a­tions to the State. The Sec­re­tary of State has pro­vided images of off­i­cal state cor­re­spon­dence and some exam­ples of the pri­vate com­pa­nies’ cor­re­spon­dence on his web­site. For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact us or con­tact the Depart­ment of State’s Com­mer­cial ser­vices divi­sion via tele­phone at (225) 925‑4704 or via email atcommercial@sos.la.gov.