ATTENTION:

We are always looking for Louisiana-connected, multi-parish events and items of interest to add to the information available to the Louisianawim.  Events that are multi-parish are most important.  To Add or Correct an Event, email macleanland@bellsouth.net 

THE BLANCHARD I LITIGATION

(St. Mary Parish Docket No. 77,796)

Park Plantation (Looking southerly along Penn Road)

This is the underlying litigation of all subsequent Blanchard litigations as well as the Paul Maclean vs. G. Tim Alexander, III, et al Litigation.  When filed in 1986 it was first alloted to State District Judge Richard T. Haik

In 1989 he ruled against the plaintiffs in a Summary Judgment decision in favor of the defendants.  That decision was later reversed and remanded in 1991 back to St. Mary Parish for trial but Judge Haik had by then been appointed to Federal Court in Lafayette.  Never got to see him in State District Court again.  

Note:  Did see him again about 15 years later on the same contamination and set of facts that was before him in State Court.  For a time, he presided over The Blanchard IV Litigation in Federal Court, although that was probably not a thing he should have done.  After the author was joined to that litigation by Betty Blanchard, Judge Haik removed himself from the litigation.  If he would not have, this author (acting pro se) was going to move for his recusal.  Due to his earlier wrong decision on behalf of the defendants in State Court, it was the author's opinion, he should not have been presiding over the federal litigation at anytime.  Judge Haik was removed himself to Magistrate Judge Hill.  Then it was sent to mediation and then eventually it eventually went to Magistrate Judge Methvin.  She ruled in favor of Betty Blanchard and Paul Maclean.  All this procedural chaos stretched the ltigation out to the time of Betty Blanchard's passing in 2007; therefore, she never saw the ultimate end of the Blanchard IV in her favor later in that year.

Now, back to the Blanchard I Litigation in State District Court in St. Mary Parish.  Judge Marcus Broussard temporarily presided over this litigation as district judge, and then after elections to replace Judge Haik, it was finally presided over by Judge Charles L. Porter.  Although Judge Porter did not sign the last filing.  

There is much to write about this litigation.  Now is not the time.  There will be a later time for that.  For now, if one wants to know more of the details, one can go to the Clerk of Court's office where one will find this litigation has its own quiet place on the shelves gathering dust for over 20 years.  Volumes of many filings representing massive amounts of billable hours.  (The author has heard rumors that this ten year litigation has put children through college.)

There are other pages on this website that are ongoing and that need to be first fully written about and evidenced (specifically, The Blanchard V Litigation).  For the time-being, just a few documents for The Blanchard I Litigation will be posted and those will supply the gist of the wrongdoings that encircle this underlying litigation (and the rest that follow it).

Let's begin:

Letter from Newman Trowbridge, Jr. to ARCO dated February 7, 1986.  This letter was unsuccessful in its goal.  ARCO did not want to sell just one property in a private sale to Newman Trowbridge's oil and gas business associates and/or clients.  The mineral lease had already been packaged with other fields for sale to the public.  Importantly, Trowbridge was also Betty Blanchard's attorney at the same time of this letter.  Significantly, Betty Blanchard had wanted ARCO off her property for years. Trowbridge knew that from being her legal representative for years.  She was not advised of this letter to ARCO on behalf of his other clients who were also his oil and gas business associates' with an interest in Betty Blanchard's minerals and/or property.  You will read Trowbridge's attempted explanation of those conflicts in the letter below to William Wessel dated December 2, 1986 after Wessel challenged his conflicts. (Both letters shown below.)

Letter from John E. Hine to Betty Blanchard dated February 27, 1986.  This letter was unsuccessful in its goal.  Betty Blanchard did not want to sell her land or minerals.  She refused his offer.  John Hine was one Newman Trowbridge's Houston-based oil and gas business associates.  Should they had been successful in buying her minerals, they would have delivered a demand letter upon ARCO as operator.  (This is exactly what was done by Betty Blanchard and Paul Maclean prior to filing this lawsuit.)  As you will next read, this is not speculation.  It was admitted in the author's presence in a deposition in Houston, Texas in 1994.  In 1986 Betty Blanchard was not aware that John Hine was Trowbridge's Houston-based oil and gas business associate or that Trowbridge knew that the Blanchard Lease was cancellable or that either person was interested in personally obtaining her mineral interest.

Portion of deposition of John Hine dated June 20 and 21, 1994.  Line 9 of Page No. 71 admits under oath what they were trying to do.  John Hine admists that if he and his business associates could have bought Betty Blanchard's mineral interest they were going to file their own demand letter upon ARCO.  The main problem with all this was that it was going on behind Betty Blanchard's back, without her knowledge.

Letter from William Wessel to Newman Trowbridge (deceased) dated November 14, 1986.

Letter from Newman Trowbridge to William Wessel dated December 2, 1986.

Affidavit of Betty Blanchard dated October 5, 2000.

Newman Trowbridge obituary.

The author began to first discover some of the above actions and facts just after an April 11, 1986 meeting with Betty Blanchard and Mary Coon Biggs (another attorney in Trowbridge's law firm).  

After that meeting and certain facts began to come to light, Betty Blanchard orally gave the author her Power of Attorney and Agency to file a letter of demand upon ARCO, as operator.  That was done.  Then, a very short time later, in written form, to act on her behalf in an effort to not allow her attorney and others to not take her land and minerals from her.  That led to the filing of this litigation.  That effort has yet to end.  Even after her death in 2007, and now for 33 years, the author has attempted to do what he told her he would do in 1986,  always hoping to be able to do that in a fair and just State court system. 

Throughout this journey, it was believed that there would be a court where the truth would prevail in the Louisiana court system.  As one can see from reading the recent Blanchard V Litigation page, so far, that has not happened.  It would be obvious to any reasonable and uninvolved person, that the right to timely enter a State court system has been repeatedly denied to Betty Blanchard and the Paul Maclean since 1986.  Therefore, another venue is now being used.  You are reading it.   

In this first Blanchard litigation and all the other Blanchard and/or Blanchard-connected actions, it has always been the defendants' main objective to not let this most basic set of facts (evidenced above) come out in open court in a trial on the merits.  If that would have fully happened, it would have been a loss for the defendants.  That is why there was an attempt made in 1994 to separate Betty Blanchard and Paul Maclean.  Almost immediately after John Hine's damaging deposition. 

Since many of the actions were made by (and assisted by) very intelligent individuals (most with training in the law), it took years of persistence for the author to put the pieces together and fully understand the depth of the relationships between the involved parties.  Although, not all known even today, after 33+ years much more is certainly known.

Consider this as to public hazards:

In 1985 and 1986 the defendants acted against Betty Blanchard with clear knowledge of the wrongdoings that were being carried out against her, to in part avoid the full environmental restoration of her land

Then, in 1995 the defendants moved to act to in part continue to avoid the full environmental restoration of the same land

Then, in 1996 the defendants conceived and moved to create and finalize a settlement agreement that in part continued to avoid the full environmental restoration of the same land.

Who would do that?  The same defendants that:

Beginning in 1985 and 1986 attempted to carry out the greedy scheme shown above against an elderly widow who totally depended on an extremely conflicted attorney and his law firm for her only legal advise in regard to her land and minerals. 

That is who would do that! 

Those same defendants, apparently had no conscience at all when it came to obtaining what they wanted.  Parties such as they could certainly have later prepared and executed an unlawful agreement in 1996 to acquire the same mineral interests and to avoid the same full environmental remediation that was in their business plan ten (10) years earlier.  (Do leopards change their spots?) These apparently do not.  Especially, when the court itself appears to be providing protection for the wrongdoings that are going on! 

For now, there will simply be three key documents posted below that evidence the agreement.  That agreement consisted of one base document and two exhibits.  They were all inextricably and materially-connected documents.  No one document was meant to stand on its own.  The three documents are to be considered as one agreement.   That agreement should be set aside because it is absolutely null and void...void ab initio because it was conceived and finalized adverse to public law and policy! 

This unlawful agreement, that the author contends is void from the beginning, is absolutely null and void because it was in part constructed to conceal public hazards.  This position strongly aligns with State Judge Stephen J. Windhorst when he stated in his Judgment filed on May 8, 2006.  (Specifically view Paragraph 8a.) through Paragraph 10b.).)  Also importantly, when the agreement is set aside as absolutely void, there goes all indemnifications purported to be claimed through that same agreement.  

The subject's intent (from the beginning) in part was to conceal public hazards and avoid the full remediation of Park Plantation.  This document (along with the help of the courts and the environmental regulatory agencies) has greatly cooperated to this intentHistory and evidence clearly show lack of care by agencies as well as public hazards.  These public hazards have now been concealed by time itself brought about by virtue of this purported settlement agreement as well as literally by being physically concealed by the vegetative growth that has now been allowed to grow upon the property for 33+ years.  All this goes to coverup the contamination. 

Now, this physical concealment of the public hazards will now be perpetuated even further by the 2015 servitude on the property that was actually bought by the U.S.A. from the same landowner that has been claiming for years that the property has not been remediated.  Something is severely wrong with this picture!  The public good is certainly left out of the decision mix.

Another set of facts that moves to void this total agreement shown below (the 3 documents), and how important that it was that it get done the way the defendants needed, can be seen (or not seen) at the bottom of the right hand corner of each page of the base agreement and the materially-connected exhibits.  On each page of the total agreement was to be placed the initials of G. Tim Alexander, III or "GTA".  On the exhibits there is no "GTA".  He was the attorney for Betty Blanchard and Paul Maclean in The Blanchard I Litigation.  Based on the absence of the initials "GTA" on the bottom of the exhibits and due to the signing and notarization dates of the exhibits, the evidence clearly points to the problem that these exhibits were not actually the ones attached to the base agreement at its signing by Betty Blanchard and/or Paul Maclean in March of 1996.  Since 1996, and even as recent as in The Blanchard IV Litigation and The Blanchard V Litigation, no exhibits have ever been produced that have "GTA" on the pages. 

Note:  After The Blanchard IV Litigation ended in favor of Betty Blanchard and the author, and certain facts were disclosed in that litigation that would have been presented in The Blanchard III Litigation in Jefferson Parish, the author was subsequently denied the right to intervene in The Blanchard III Litigation to so that those same facts and arguments could be used in that litigation.  In fact, some very extreme actions were directly taken by the court against the author to deny him the right to intervene in The Blanchard III Litigation.  You can read all about that on The Blanchard III Litigation page.

And then to raise an even more interesting question, all being fully aware of the existence of public hazards on the property), have the defendants' attorneys, that intentionally crafted this unlawful agreement, knowingly contributed to the public hazards that remained on Park Plantation for the 20+ years since then become "de facto participants" in the wrongdoings, along with their defendants-clients?  If so, they have no attorney-client privilege available to them and all conversations with their clients are open for discovery.  These are the issues and questions that needed to be fully addressed in The Blanchard V Litigation.  (You can read about the status of that litigation on its webpage.) 

The 1996 purported agreement of interest:

Receipt, Release and Settlement Agreement  (Initialed)

Exhibit "A"  (Uninitialed)

Exhibit "B"  (Uninitialed)

Affidavit of Betty Blanchard dated August 31, 2000.

Short paper mentioned in Betty Blanchard affidavit dated August 31, 2000.

This short paper was presented to Betty Blanchard by Dale Hayes (her personal attorney) in the author's presence but the author did not read it and it was not given to Betty Blanchard in the author's presence.  It later was produced by the defendants in one of the Blanchard litigations.  Please note item No. 8 that reads, "NO ENVIRONMENTAL OR REMOVAL OF PIPELINES OR SURFACE RESTORATION".  Betty Blanchard was not read or explained this verbiage was in this short paper.  Regardless, she did not have the legal right to agree to such verbiage.   

As one reads these website pages, one will see how the legal system can favor certain wealthy and powerful people and what they want for themselves and their business associates while others remain silent about what they have seen (and for attorneys and judges, possibly in violation of Louisiana Legal Ethics Rules).  One will see that for some it truly is a "JUST-US" system.  The rest of the public is not in the equation.

Over time, the author will list legal professionals that have touched upon this litigation and other Blanchard litigations and shall demonstrate how even touching these litigations can have the result of tending to steer many of them onward to very promising futures within the legal profession.  There is nothing wrong with a professional rising rapildy through the ranks of one's peers and most of these individuals certainly had/have the talents and skills to do that without the Blanchard litigation(s).  Still, it will be interesting to spotlight those careers and then YOU can make YOUR own decisions.  It is an interesting dynamic to see.