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Father of seven dies after Baton Rouge shooting

Kendrick Ross, a 37-year-old resident of Baton Rouge, was found in his vehicle with a gunshot wound to his head last Saturday, September 19. He died at the hospital next morning.

According to Baton Rouge police Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, Ross was shot at around 5:45 p.m. at the 9400 block of Avis Avenue. The case is still under investigation and the motive and suspect remain unknown.

Ross’ widow, Kristin, said that she has no idea as to why her husband was shot dead. Kristin remembered the last time she talked to Ross. He said to her, “I’ll be home before it gets dark.” The widow also said that everything they did together revolved around their children. “Me and him had finally said we were gonna do something by ourselves, so we were gonna go on a cruise in three weeks,” she later said.

The personal injury lawyers at Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm send their deepest condolences to Kendrick Ross’ family and friends.

More than ten times the originally reported number of deaths linked to recalled GM ignition

General Motors’ decision to hire attorney Kenneth Feinberg as a consultant regarding the company’s response to the families of victims of their faulty ignition switch has inadvertently led to the linking of 124 deaths to the defect, rather than the 13 deaths GM originally claimed to have known about. Feinberg, tasked with guiding the company through this delicate issue, reviewed over 4,000 claims of death or injury related to the recalled ignition and, after rejecting 91 percent of those claims, found that there were ten times as many deaths caused by the faulty ignition switch in GM vehicles than was previously thought.

Out of 399 claims found to be legitimate: 124 were from families of victims who died; 17 were from victims who suffered quadriplegia, paraplegia, double amputation, permanent brain damage, or extensive burns; and 258 were from victims who were hospitalized or given outpatient treatment within 48 hours of their accidents.

News of the additional claims comes at a bad time for GM, when the U.S. Justice Department is closing in on a decision regarding whether criminal charges will be levied against the company for its failure to act after first discovering the defective switch back in 2001.

It would appear that the company has attempted to make amends for the catastrophic level of damage caused by their defective vehicles; GM has earmarked $625 million for payment to the victims and their families, and this past June saw CEO Mary Barra fire 15 employees whom the company accused of failing to aggressively seek solutions to the disastrous problem. The company issued a major recall in 2014, but apparently knew of the defect in 2001, before their affected vehicles ever hit the market.

Cazayoux on Engster

Don Cazayoux, former U.S. Attorney, congressman and state representative, gives his insight on the end of the session and how this will affect Governor Jindal and his attempt for the presidency. Listen here

Hit-and-run crash involving school bus on Weller Avenue sends two students to hospital Monday morning

The Advocate
Ben Wallace

A hit-and-run crash Monday morning involving a school bus in north Baton Rouge sent two students aboard the bus to a hospital, authorities said.

The crash occurred SHORTLY before 6:30 a.m. in the 2700 block of Weller Avenue near its intersection with Alliquippa Street, said Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a Baton Rouge police spokesman.

A Geo Prizm rear-ended the school bus, Coppola said, and the Geo’s driver fled the scene following the crash. Police are looking for the CAR’S driver and the crash remains under investigation.

Two of the nine students aboard the school bus were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, said Mike Chustz, a spokesman for East Baton Rouge Parish’s Emergency Medical Services.

It wasn’t immediately clear which school the students were going to when the crash occurred.

If you or someone who you know was injured in an automobile accident that was not their fault, call Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm for help.  225-650-7400

Retirees Diagnosed with Cancer from Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos lung cancer is a rare cancer specifically induced by asbestos exposure. Due to patients inadvertently inhaling asbestos fibers, an estimated 4,800 victims die every year in the United States from this condition.

Sadly, this is not the only complication that arises from asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma and asbestosis are also major health complications. Due to the fact that asbestos is still used in the United States, victims are constantly diagnosed every day from asbestos exposure. This has led to asbestos litigation becoming the longest-running mass tort in the United States, with over 600,000 plaintiffs and 6,000 named defendants.

These asbestos lung cancer plaintiffs all similarly claim that their respective employers failed to protect them from harmful asbestos fibers while they were on the job, were not provided protective equipment, and were not warned of the potential health hazards of asbestos exposure.

Overview of Long-Term Occupational Asbestos Exposure

Military veterans and long-term retirees are among the highest at-risk groups for asbestos lung cancer because the U.S. military and other manufacturing companies commonly used asbestos as a building material.

Since the late 1800s, America has been mining asbestos for building materials because it was cheap to use and had fire and chemical resistant qualities. Unfortunately, it was not until much later that experts started alerting people to the health hazards that asbestos exposure could cause. Veterans who had served between the 1930s and 1980s were very likely to have been exposed to asbestos. Even after completing their service, veterans often sought work as laborers or other hands-on occupations that also would have put them at greater risk for asbestos exposure.

Most notoriously, shipyards have some of the highest rates of reported asbestos exposure, as well some of the worst safety records, with a high number of former employees from the mid 1970s reporting they have asbestos lung cancer. Some of these former employees have filed asbestos lung cancer lawsuits, claiming that they were not provided the necessary protective gear, which would have prevented them from developing asbestos lung cancer.

It is important to note that shipyards are not the only industry that potentially has dormant asbestos fibers, and that any employer that uses asbestos and does not provide protective gear could potentially endanger their employees.

Asbestos Lung Cancer Health Threat

Several medical institutions state that the level of asbestos exposure could influence the overall severity and likelihood of asbestos lung cancer. The Helsinki Criteria states that the risk of asbestos lung cancer development is increased by 4 percent with each year of asbestos exposure. Furthermore, it has been observed that long-term asbestos exposure often leads to lung scarring and inflammation, which ultimately contributes to lung cancer.

Medical experts warn that asbestos exposure does not lead to immediate consequences, as asbestos lung cancer often takes between 15 to 50 years to show any signs of the disease. As a result, many victims are often diagnosed at a latent stage of their development. While the prognosis and survival rate differ between patients, medical experts estimate the average patient’s remaining life span to be between 16 to 22 months even with the assistance of chemotherapy and other treatment drugs.

If you worked in an environment where you were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with lung cancer, contact Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm to discuss your potential case.

Ewing Interviews U.S. Attorney Walt Green for Around the Bar

Interview with U.S. Attorney Walt Green
Around the Bar, December 2014
Lane Ewing

Vital Statistics
Age:  49
Born & Raised:  Born Ferriday.  Raised in Ferriday, Winnfield, Jena, Louisiana and Natchez, Mississippi.
Education:  South Natchez High School; Louisiana State University, B.A. Economics 1989; Tulane Law School, J.D. 1993
Married to: Katherine Krupa Green
Staff:  Corey Amundson (First Assistant / Criminal Chief), Jennifer Kleinpeter and Alan Stevens (Deputy Criminal Chiefs), Catherine Maraist (Civil Chief)

Senator Mary Landrieu recommended and President Barack Obama nominated Walt Green for the position of United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana on March 13, 2014.  The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Mr. Green’s nomination on May 1, 2014, and he was sworn in on June 2, 2014.  Prior to being appointed U.S. Attorney, Mr. Green served as First Assistant to U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux.  Mr. Green has been in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana since 2000 and had previously served for three years in the District of Nevada.  His former duties as an Assistant United States Attorney include Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator, Anti-Terrorism Task Force Coordinator, Anti-Terrorism Advisory Committee Coordinator, and Deputy Criminal Chief.  Additionally, he served as the Acting U.S. Attorney from July 1, 2013 to June 2, 2014.

Mr. Green joined the United States Marine Corps in 1989.  He served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1993 to 1997.  Additionally, he served on active duty in Iraq in 2004, as well as 2007.  He currently serves in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as the Officer-in-Charge of the Environmental Services Division, Marine Forces Reserve, and he holds the rank of Colonel.

In addition to his duties as U.S. Attorney, Mr. Green is the Executive Director of the National Center for Disaster Fraud (“NCDF”), formerly the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Command Center, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The NCDF is the central point for the receipt and processing of disaster fraud-related complaints nationwide.

I have always wanted to ask you about the giant steering wheel you have in your office.  What’s the story behind it? 

While in high school, I worked as a horse wrangler for the movie North and the South.  It was filmed in Natchez, and the riverboat wheel had been used in the movie.  On the last day of shooting the prop master was supposed to take it back to New Orleans, but he decided that he wanted to go the most direct route to Hollywood so New Orleans was not in his plans.  As a result, he told me if I wanted it that it was mine.  I expended little time in loading it in the back of my truck, and I have had it with me ever since.

What made you decide you wanted to work in the U.S. Attorney’s office?

When I decided to leave the Marine Corps in 1997, I knew I wanted to continue in public service.  My mother was Chief Judge Jackson’s assistant when he was the First Assistant, so I was more aware then the average person of the work done by the office over the years.  Early on, being an Assistant United States Attorney was clearly a goal of mine.

For a person with such strong ties to Louisiana, how did you end up in Las Vegas?

I was living in Naples, Italy, my last duty station, and my Commanding Officer knew the then- First Assistant for the District of Nevada’s United States Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas.  He also knew I was interested in becoming an Assistant United States Attorney.  I had interviewed with Jim Letten in the Eastern District of Louisiana, and I was waiting to hear the outcome.

My Commanding Officer mentioned this to his friend, who asked that I send my resume.  Shortly after, The First Assistant called to see if I was available for a telephonic interview in five days.  I asked him if he had ever hired anyone over the telephone, and he told me that he had not.  So I called the airline and made it to the interview in person.  It did take me two days, five flights and a bus to get there, but that is how much I wanted to be an Assistant United States Attorney.  The United States Attorney hired me that day.

Your wife, Katherine, and you share a passion for combating human trafficking.  What led to this?

My wife has been interested in the issue of human trafficking, and she began educating me.  Katherine was the first chairperson of the Human Trafficking Task Force in the Middle District.  She also co-founded Eden House, a home in New Orleans for human trafficking victims.  You only have to meet and speak to one victim to realize that human trafficking is truly a modern form of slavery.

What are your other priorities as U.S. Attorney?

Of course, anti-terrorism is the number one priority of the Department of Justice; however, we also focus on public corruption, financial fraud, and large drug trafficking organizations.  The U.S. Attorney’s office and federal law enforcement also team with District Attorney Hillar Moore, Sheriff Gautreaux, and Chief Dabadie on BRAVE initiatives targeting violent crime in Baton Rouge.

How does your military experience influence you as U.S. Attorney?

The military is a great place to learn about leadership, and from the very first day you are given the chance to put those lessons to work.  The basics remain the same:  never ask anyone to do anything you would not do yourself, and remember your people are your most valuable asset. I have also learned that when things are chaotic, to remember that the first reports are almost never completely correct.  It is always better to wait for additional information before making an important decision.

You’ve served under a few U.S. Attorneys, how have they shaped your leadership style?

I have learned something about leadership from everyone I have worked for over the years.  Whether you agree or not with a person’s leadership style, you can still learn what is effective and what is not effective and determine whether it compliments your specific style or not.  However, I will say that Don Cazayoux is a tough act to follow.

What advantages and challenges come with being a career prosecutor?

The greatest advantage is the opportunity to try cases over an extended period of time.

The greatest disadvantage is that you will try cases over an extended period of time.

What is the most memorable case you’ve ever had?

As a prosecutor, the ones I have lost.  I remember those far more clearly than the wins.  As a defense counsel in the Marine Corps, the acquittals are just as memorable.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My father, another Marine.  I can sum it up as I did recently at a gathering by saying that he taught me that hard work is simply a rite of passage.  Similarly, when I departed for Officer Candidate School he gave me a note that said, “When things get tough, you just get a little tougher.”  I still have that note.  We lost him 15 years ago, but I still think of him every single day.

What advice would you give to a young lawyer who wants to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office?

There is no one path to a United States Attorney’s Office as every U.S. Attorney can hire attorneys pretty much as they choose.  Each one of the 93 United States Attorneys may weigh attributes differently; I believe prior litigation of any type, criminal or civil, is important.  In our office, Assistants have varied backgrounds and experiences.  If you want to be a career prosecutor, I would suggest getting trial experience in any format is a plus.

The entire interview can be seen here



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