Criminal Attorney Signs on to Represent Hurricane Claim Filing Law Firm

McClenny Moseley & Associates hired a criminal defense lawyer after being sanctioned last week by a federal judge in New Orleans for filing a lawsuit on behalf of a homeowner it did not represent.

On Tuesday, the law firm — which has filed hundreds or hurricane lawsuits in Louisiana courts — asked for an additional 14 days to respond to the court’s demand for documents that show its relationship to restoration contractors and a marketing company that sent mass emails to potential hurricane victims.

New Orleans attorney William P. Gibbens told the court that he was only retained this week and needed more time.

Magistrate Judge Michael North denied a two-week extension, but signed an order Tuesday giving MMA an additional three days “out of an abundance of caution.”

“The documents the Court has ordered MMA to produce consist solely of lists of their own claims and/or cases, which information is readily available to them,” North’s order says. “It is not altogether clear how or why additional counsel is necessary to compile non-privileged information already in MMA’s custody, possession, and control.”

North on Feb. 1 ordered MMA to pay attorney fees for attorneys who represented Allied Trust Insurance Co. for the cost of responding to a lawsuit that MMA filed on behalf of homeowner Tricia Franatovich. Another law firm already represented Franatovich and had filed a lawsuit for the same damages.

The judge also ordered MMA to reimburse Franatovich for the cost of attending the Feb. 1 hearing. On Tuesday, Franatovich asked for $322.06 — $266.89 for missed wages, $36.68 for 56 miles traveled and $18.49 for parking.

North ordered MMA to submit a list of claims related to Hurricane Ida where it had sent letters to insurers purporting to represent homeowners but actually represented Apex Roofing Co. Two days later, the judge amended the order to require MMA to disclose its relationship with any other roofing contractors.

Gibbens, a partner with the Schonekas, Evans, McGoey & McEachin law firm in New Orleans, on Monday filed a notice that he represents MMA. According to the law firm’s website, his practice focuses on criminal defense and government investigations, as well as civil litigation and health care fraud.