Biz lobby expecting contingency fee bill

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics


In this week’s episode of The LaPolitics Report podcast, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack hinted at a possible legislative legal battle for the regular session that convenes in April.

Waguespack said his organization believes a bill could be introduced to ease some of the limitations on contingency fee legal contracts.

The debates over contingency fee agreements inked by the state have caught fire in recent years, pulling in governors, attorneys general, lawmakers, private attorneys and lobbyists.

The arrangement, in broad strokes, usually involves a private law firm representing the state or a political body in exchange for part of a settlement presumably to be awarded later.

State law prohibits any such payout unless it is authorized by the Legislature.

“We hear that there is a strong likelihood that there will be legislation filed, either overtly or covertly, to make it much easier to hire contingency fee attorneys without going through any kind of public bid or transparency, so that they can come on and sue industry in the state,” Waguespack said during the interview.

“We heard those bills are coming,” he added. “So we’re going to be looking out for them and will engage on them. Obviously we think that’s problematic policy.”