Contentious deposition renders LOGA chief too ill to testify. Here's why.
A contentious Feb. 20 deposition aggravated Don Briggs' heart condition and prevented him from testifying in court this week. The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association president didn't show up Monday or Tuesday in Baton Rouge District Court, where his trade group is challenging Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's decision that a New Orleans area levee board's lawsuit against 97 oil companies for wetlands damage conforms to state law.
LOGA wants the court to rule that the AG improperly approved the contract with the law firm of Jones Swanson Huddell & Garrison and is also seeking an injunction rescinding the approval.
19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark, after expressing serious doubts about Briggs' Monday claims that he was unable to testify, apparently had a change of heart today and reset the case for March 10.
Last week, Clark gave the AG's attorneys carte blanche to ask questions of Briggs, saying she would later rule on relevancy. As a result, Briggs was forced to admit that he knows of no oil companies that have left or will be leaving Louisiana because of its legal climate. He also has no proof companies even consider the legal climate and was unable to cite any data to back up his long-held claims.
In fact, Briggs has no facts, figures, research, data or records to back up any of his claims, including specific allegations he made against the AG himself.
The supposed resulting loss of tax revenue and jobs has been one of Briggs' strongest arguments against so-called legacy lawsuits (in which landowners claim that
oil and gas companies caused their property to become polluted and contaminated), and he's been using it more recently in his opposition to the levee board suit.
ABiz has obtained the deposition, which was filed into the public record. And it ain't pretty. Read it here.