A New Orleans television station broadcast an audio recording of a founding partner of the McClenny Moseley & Associates law firm admitting that his law firm used a roofing company and a marketing firm to sign on clients.
4WWL’s Eyewitness News reported Wednesday that it obtained secretly recorded comments made by John Zachary Moseley during a March 6 staff meeting. In the recording, Moseley acknowledged that his Houston-headquartered law firm filed more hurricane-damage lawsuits that it was able to handle and also admitted making misrepresentations to insurers.
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, who fined MMA and its partners $2 million for what he called an “insurance fraud scheme,” told Eyewitness News that Moseley’s “brazenness” is “unimaginable.”
“That’s the most egregious example of misrepresentation I can imagine,” Donelon said during an on-camera interview.
Moseley did not respond to an email from the Claims Journal requesting comment.
In the recording, Moseley tells his staff that he is working on a plan to have San Antonio attorney Mikal Watts, with the Watts Guerra Law Firm, take over MMA’s cases, with MMA “working in the background.” Watts told the television station that he looked into it, but was not able to reach an agreement with Moseley.
US District Court Judge James D. Cain Jr. called MMA into his courtroom last October after discovering that the law firm had filed 1,641 lawsuits in the Western District of Louisiana over the course of several days, often naming the wrong insurer as a defendant or attributing damage to the wrong hurricane. Cain issued stays barring MMA from working on the lawsuits it filed. Judges in the Eastern and Middle Louisiana districts issued their own stays after finding similar errors.
The Louisiana State Bar has indefinitely suspended the law license of MMA’s former managing partner in New Orleans, R. William Huye III. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, has indefinitely suspended Moseley from practicing within its jurisdiction.
MMA lawyers acknowledged during court hearings that the firm paid a marketing company called Velawcity $13.9 million for “prescreened client leads.”
During the March staff meeting, Moseley acknowledged that Velawcity “generated leads” and “converted leads into signed contracts.” He also admitted using Apex Roofing Co. to sign up clients and offered his staff an explanation:
“If we tell the insurance company we represent the roofing company, they are going to tell us to f—k off and they are not going to negotiate with us,” Moseley says in the recording. “But since we have the rights of the homeowner, let’s tell the insurance company we are the homeowner and that’s going to be, you know, they will negotiate with us quicker.”
Moseley took a defiant tone during the staff meeting.
“I’m a Houston guy,” he said. “I came into New Orleans big and bad. I told everyone to f—k off. I didn’t want any help from any New Orleans attorneys. And then they all turned their backs on me, and they’re trying to get me in trouble. So, that’s what happened here.”
MMA admitted during court hearings 856 instances where the law firm told insurers that it represented homeowners but actually represented Apex Roofing or another restoration contractor.
New Orleans Insurance defense attorney Matthew Monson posted a link to the 4WWL story on his LinkedIn page Thursday and suggested that Moseley shut down his law firm while the state bars in Louisiana and Texas finish their investigations. Monson said he is proud that his law firm exposed MMA’s “improper schemes by filing complaints with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel and Department of Insurance.
Dallas insurance defense attorney Steve Badger, a partner with the Zelle law firm, offered this advice to the “young Mr. Moseley” in a LinkedIn post.
“Always assume everything you are saying in public — even amongst just your employees — is being recorded,” he wrote.
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