Repeatedly Sanctioned Lawyer Sanctioned for Frivolous Pleadings which Contradict Previous Filings by Same Party

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Bordelon Marine filed suit against Bibby Subsea in Louisiana State Court, seeking to collect on, among other things, unpaid Invoice No. 15-58. The factual statements in the complaint were verified by Wesley D. Bordelon, the President of Bordelon Marine. The defendant removed the case to Federal Court, and moved to stay the matter pending arbitration. The Federal Court subsequently compelled arbitration, noting that the parties had agreed to arbitrate “any dispute arising out of or in connection with” the charter of the vessel, and that Bordelon had not raised a “cogent argument” that the state court lawsuit involving, among other invoices, Invoice No. 15-58, did not “have a significant relationship” with the vessel’s charter.

Nevertheless, Bordelon filed a second collection action in Louisiana State Court attempting to collect on Invoice No. 15-58. The defendant then filed a motion in Federal Court to enjoin Bordelon’s second State Court proceedings, and for sanctions. (The arbitration regarding the charter-related invoices had been closed, because Bordelon failed to file any claims in the arbitration.)

In sanctioning Bordelon and its attorney, the Court noted as follows:

“First, having previously alleged, in a complaint verified by its president, no less, that invoice 15-58 relates to services provided ‘in relation to the M/V SHELIA BORDELON,’ Bordelon cannot now abandon those allegations and claim that somehow invoice 15-58 was not a part of the dispute that this Court previously compelled to arbitration….  Second, even if this Court were to consider Bordelon’s explanation, Bordelon’s newfound account of the parties’ contractual relationship cannot withstand any degree of scrutiny…. Third, the Court’s conclusion on this point is unchanged by the fact that the arbitration panel has since dismissed the arbitration because Bordelon did not submit a claim in the arbitration. Bordelon’s self-serving failure to raise invoice 15-58 in arbitration is not compelling evidence that the invoice was not part of the parties’ dispute regarding the SHELIA BORDELON charter. After all, the picayune value of the invoice—which does not appear to exceed the jurisdictional maximum for small claims court in Orleans Parish—is dwarfed by the significant strategic value of maintaining parallel state court litigation given the parties’ broader dispute….

“The conduct of both Bordelon Marine and its counsel in this matter has been unacceptable. To the extent that Bordelon wished to challenge this Court’s order compelling arbitration, it should have sought a stay of this Court’s order compelling arbitration pending its ongoing appeal to the Fifth Circuit. Instead, Bordelon has attempted to circumvent an order of the Court through the filing of a vexatious lawsuit (or at the very least a premature one). Further, in opposing Bibby’s attempts to enjoin Bordelon’s latest lawsuit, Bordelon’s counsel appears to have (1) filed meritless papers in this Court for the ‘improper purposes’ of harassment, causing unnecessary delay, and increasing the cost of litigation, Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(1), as well as (2) supported those meritless papers with ‘factual contentions’ that lack ‘evidentiary support’ and are self-contradictory, Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(4).

“That course of behavior not only wastes the resources of this Court, the Louisiana state courts, and the parties, but it also seriously damages the professional reputation of Bordelon in a district where it is a repeat litigant. Furthermore, the Court cannot help but note that, by this point, counsel for Bordelon has what amounts to his own personal sanctions jurisprudence in this district.”

Order and Reasons, Bordelon Marine LLC v. Bibby Subsea ROV LLC, No.16-1106 [Rec. Doc. 42] (E.D. La. Oct. 17, 2016).
See also, e.g., Tajonera v. Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, No. 13-366, 2015 WL 9311968, at *8 (E.D. La. 2015) (Brown, J), aff’g No. 13-366, Dkt. 714 (E.D. La. 2015) (North, M.J.); Howard v. Offshore Lifeboats, LLC, 2015 WL 3796458, at *3 (E.D. La. 2015) (Morgan, J.), aff’g 2015 WL 965976, at *11-12 (E.D. La. 2015) (North, M.J.); XL Specialty Ins. Co. v. Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., No. 12-2071, 2014 WL 2155242, at *3 (E.D. La. 2014) (Vance, C.J.), aff’g No. 12-2071, Dkt. 166 (E.D. La. 2014) (Wilkinson, M.J.); Bordelon Marine, Inc. v. F/V KENNY BOY, No. 09-3209, 2011 WL 164636, at *6 (E.D. La. 2011) (Knowles, M.J.); Landers v. Kevin Gros Offshore, L.L.C., 2009 WL 2046587, at *4 (E.D. La. 2009) (Shushan, M.J.); cf. Lytal Enters., Inc. v. Newfield Exploration Co., 2006 WL 3366128, at *4-5 (E.D. La. 2006) (Wilkinson, M.J.).

 

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