Hymel says frivolous lawsuits getting out of hand

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / October 7, 2000

CONVENT – St. James Parish President Dale Hymel said lawsuits filed againstthe parish in the last few years have gotten out of hand and cost the parish a lot of time and money.

A resolution was passed at the Wednesday night’s Parish Council meeting authorizing the president’s office to file counter suits against all “frivolous lawsuits” filed against St. James Parish.The resolution was passed in hope that the counter suits could reclaim some of the cost of dealing with the suits, including trial and lawyer fees. Thereare seven or eight different suits that are out there, said Bruce Mohon, parish attorney. Depending on the insurance company that handled the suit,at a minimum the parish paid between $10,000 and $25,000 in deductibles per case, added Mohon.

The resolution also allows the parish insurance companies to attempt to regain their court costs as well.

Another lawsuit discussed by the council is one filed by Charles French, a former ferry boat captain in the early 1980s. The suit claims French wasexposed to asbestos while working for the parish. The suit was filed in Julybut took time before being presented to the council to confirm this kind of coverage.

French disappeared from St. James Parish after the Veteran’s MemorialBridge opened, said Mohon. The suit was filed with the Eastern District Courtof Ohio.

The council passed a resolution authorizing the president’s office to hire Debra Cottrell to defend the parish.

In another matter, action amending the St. James Parish rules, regulationsand fees ordinance 00-14, was again tabled until questions forwarded to the Louisiana Attorney General’s office are answered. Councilman James Mitchellis requesting that District 5 be exempt from the fees considering the district already pays a set millage for park upkeep.

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