Saturday, February 09, 2008

From One BILLION to SIX bucks...

$1,000,000,000 to $6
WOW! The latest lawsuit ends with a settlement of Six Bucks. PALCO will pay $6 in whistle-blower lawsuit...
Frank Bacik, PALCO vice president and general counsel, stated in a news release... “There was ample opportunity within that process to challenge testimony and exhibits, but these accusations were not raised until eight years later,” Bacik stated in a news release. “We’ve believed from the outset that the claims were without basis in law or fact, and this settlement supports that belief.” Wow. Deja Vu.

One by one, down in flames.
According to the terms of the settlement, which has the approval of acting assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Bucholtz, Wilson and Maranto would receive $1 each from PALCO, Scotia Pacific and Salmon Creek.

And look - Good Ol' Cotchett was in on this one - 'member him? The guy who wanted in on Paul's suit? The one the Board said NO to? Wonder what Cotchett's cut is? 30% A buck eighty?
Bertain, along with attorney Philip Gregory from the Bay Area-law firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy that also represents Maranto and Wilson in the whistle blower lawsuit, declined to comment on the matter.

Oh, but the neverending lawsuit may not be over...
ER Area attorney Bill Bertain, who represents the Elk River and Freshwater Creek residents, said previously those flood claim settlements were beneficial for his clients because they freed the matter from the Texas court and allowed them to move forward in Humboldt County against MAXXAM and Charles Hurwitz.
TS ”This should help the bankruptcy process,” said the residents' local counsel Bill Bertain. “And it will allow our clients' cases to proceed in Humboldt County Superior Court.”

***
RELATED:
Residents look to settle with Palco over flooding 01/18/2008
Update: New Blog in Town with a FUNNY, FUNNY take on this one: The Humboldt Mirror - Billion-dollar suit settled for two Happy Meals. Ouch! There's some other FUNNY stuff there!
h/t: Kym

6 comments:

  1. PALCO will pay $6 in lawsuit
    By NATHAN RUSHTON, The Eureka Reporter
    Feb 8 2008
    http://eurekareporter.com/article/080208-palco-will-pay-6-in-whistle-blower-lawsuit

    Pacific Lumber Co. announced this week that it will pay $6 as part of an agreement struck with its accusers to settle an estimated $1 billion “whistle-blower” lawsuit against the timber company alleging federal false claim violations.

    The stipulated agreement documents that would resolve PALCO’s single largest claim against the bankrupt company and its subsidiaries were filed in federal bankruptcy court Friday and the matter is expected to be heard by the judge overseeing the case Feb. 28.

    The qui tam, or whistle blower, suit was filed under seal in California Superior Court in 2006 by Richard Wilson, the former director of the California Department of Forestry, and CDF forester Chris Maranto, who allege federal False Claim Act violations in the sustained yield plan permit that set harvest levels prepared by PALCO and approved by CDF as part of the Headwaters Agreement.

    Nearly eight years after they were approved, Wilson and Maranto said they discovered the SYP permit relied on false computer modeling and the improper inclusion of hardwoods data provided by PALCO.

    The lawsuit also alleges the truthful disclosures of growth and yield during the 100-year duration of that SYP would have resulted in significanlty reduced harvest levels.

    According to the terms of the settlement, which has the approval of acting assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Bucholtz, Wilson and Maranto would receive $1 each from PALCO, Scotia Pacific and Salmon Creek.

    Similar to another settlement agreement approved by the court last week, the whistle blower lawsuit still leaves the door open to pursue claims against PALCO parent-company MAXXAM and its owner Charles Hurwitz.

    Frank Bacik, PALCO vice president and general counsel, stated in a news release announcing the deal that the SYP that set PALCO’s timber harvest levels was subject to an extraordinary administrative process and review that lasted nearly four years and involved some 80,000 pages of documentation detailing the very best information available at the time.

    “There was ample opportunity within that process to challenge testimony and exhibits, but these accusations were not raised until eight years later,” Bacik stated in a news release. “We’ve believed from the outset that the claims were without basis in law or fact, and this settlement supports that belief.”

    To resolve the issues raised in the claims, PALCO’s attorney’s argue that Texas judge Richard Schmidt would have to apply California’s complex forestry and environmental laws and review voluminous exhibits relating to the three year SYP approval process.

    The stipulation agreement resolves the need to do so at almost no cost to the PALCO’s or its affiliate companies’ estates, the court filings state.

    The settlement deal follows on the heels of another settlement agreement approved by the federal bankruptcy court Feb. 1 that allowed PALCO to settle for $1 each 60 long-standing flood damage claims from Elk River and Freshwater Creek area residents totaling nearly $100 million.

    Area attorney Bill Bertain, who represents the Elk River and Freshwater Creek residents, said previously those flood claim settlements were beneficial for his clients because they freed the matter from the Texas court and allowed them to move forward in Humboldt County against MAXXAM and Charles Hurwitz.

    Bertain, along with attorney Philip Gregory from the Bay Area-law firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy that also represents Maranto and Wilson in the whistle blower lawsuit, declined to comment on the matter

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  2. That's the story, it doesn't look like the Times Standard has picked it up yet - and it hasn't hit the wires. Where're all the Shellenberger dupes from the Sac Bee, the Chron, the LA Times - the ones who printed glowing stories about the advent of the lawsuits, about Gallegos the champion of the people, he lost his suit, and now this (not his).... but in the same vein.

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  3. Over at heraldo the droids were suggesting that if only cotchett had been brought in on Gallegos failed PL suit, it wouldn't have been thrown out. Well, I guess you can say that cotchett did better with his failed case. I mean our illustrious da got his case outright dismissed. cotchett got 3 bucks a piece for each of his clients and ate all of his attorney fees. God this is pretty funny.

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  4. Is Cotchett in business of taking failing cases like this? cases without any basis in law?

    I didn't get that feeling when I googled him, he has quite a reputation, but it sure isn't showing with regards to his involvement with the Humboldt Watershed/Ken Miller/Lovelace et al crowd.

    I asked on "heraldo"s propaganda blog - what about Bob Martel's (an ex-president of "Humboldt Watershed Council") lawsuit? Has he paid the judgement against him?

    That one shows you why getting Paul to file their case for them was so important. A. Martel lacked standing, and B. he could end up owing money if he lost.

    Now they've lost Martel's suit, lost Paul's suit, lost (well ok settled for $6) this suit, and still the drum beats on, they will try yet again, the never-ending attempt.

    "Humboldt Watershed Council" loves the law when they try to use it as a weapon, but when it goes against them then they say everyone is corrupt, the judges are on the take, they golf with Hurwitz, they're part of the "historical power structure" and what's a poor "progressive" to do?

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  5. Heraldo et al. are saying that "Rose doesn't get it," that this settlement somehow pierces the corporate veil and allows litigation against Maxxam and Hurwitz. Can someone tell me what they are talking about, because I don't get it - why was action against Maxxam/Hurwitz barred prior to this settlement? Something to do with the bankruptcy proceedings? Nothing I've seen makes this clear to me.

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  6. It's called keeping the spin alive.

    Remember, Stoen said all he needed was a couple of pieces of paper and 2 expert witnesses and he would win his case in a couple a days - a slam dunk. They are convinced that the judges all along the line have gotten the law all wrong, or were corrupt, they believe their own rhetoric, like the right to lie (something they engage in every single day), and now they've managed to pull in a couple of "whistleblowers" just like they got Gallegos to play along...

    What was interesting on THAT thread of "heraldo"s is where, when pressed, he/she/it/they slip up a bit and say menacingly that the process to get rid of Maxxam is well under way... exactly waht I have been saying, it has been underway since about 1997...

    It started with Bob Martel's suit, which you have to ask, who PAID for that one. He claims he had $250,000 invested in the suit, then when he had the judgement against him, he said he couldn't pay it because he only made $6,000 a year... so how;d he pay for that suit? Did the Rose Foundation pay for the lawyers in that case?

    "heraldo" thinks that is irrelevant because he doesn't want anyone looking at the trail of lawsuits and figuring out what a concerted effort this has been. What a long standing effort this has been. What an expensive effort this has been - all designed to TAKR PROPERTY away from a man.

    Someone also mentioned a RICOH suit (as if Miller could make that fly) The reverse might be true however - these guys are engaged in an effort that meets the criteria for a groundbreaking RICOH lawsuit... IF I was playing Ken Miller and thinking I knew the law. IF I was, I'd say Miller is racketeering. Think I can sell that one to the DAs "white collar crimes unit?"

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