Over the past several months, information has been developed regarding a possible accident staging ring in the New Orleans area involving alleged sideswipe accidents on Interstate 10 and Interstate 610 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This scenario typically involves multiple plaintiffs in one vehicle who flag down the commercial driver and allege that the rear part of his trailer struck them while the tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle was changing lanes. Typically, the commercial driver denies any knowledge that he was involved in an accident and typically indicates that the lane was completely clear when he changed lanes.
A local group of defense counsel has developed a database regarding many of these accidents and have identified certain common factors across the cases. One of those factors is the plaintiffs often retaining attorneys working out of a certain office in Kenner, Louisiana.
In a case filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the defendants filed a counter-claim against the plaintiffs for fraud. In discovery, they sent a subpoena to attorney Vanessa Motta, seeking her to have her produce letters of representation regarding any claimant involved in a motor vehicle accident with a commercial vehicle on certain sections of Interstate 10 in New Orleans, Louisiana for a two year period. The defendants also sought to have Motta admit or deny that she had represented the plaintiffs in a list of 77 specific cases identified. Although Ms. Motta objected and attempted to quash the subpoena, Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld ordered that Ms. Motta produce the requested documents by February 22, 2019.
A review of the court record indicates that a similar subpoena and request has been issued to attorney Lionel Sutton, III, another attorney who operated out of the same Kenner, Louisiana law office.
If you have any suspicious cases involving a lane change involving a tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle on the local interstates of New Orleans, we recommend that you consult counsel to determine whether your case might fit into the profile of the cases that have been identified.