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Fischer and Bryan Present at ABA and LSBA Event to Provide Legal Assistance to Katrina Victims
May 10, 2006

On May 6, the American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, and the Louisiana State Bar Association presented a free program to guide victims on insurance, housing and eminent domain at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.

More than 20 volunteer attorneys were on hand to assist victims. Speakers during the day-long event included New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Jones Walker attorneys Madeleine Fischer, whose presentation to the whole assembly included issues of penalties available against insurance companies who do not deal in good faith with their insureds, and on three class action lawsuits currently pending in federal court dealing with various provisions of insurance policies of particular interest to homeowners whose property has been damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and Boyd Bryan, who presented a breakout session on environmental law. The event complemented efforts that began in the wake of the hurricane when the ABA mobilized volunteer members to man legal services phone lines in a contract with FEMA and to perform pro bono legal services for individuals and small businesses affected by the hurricane, as well as to provide assistance to attorneys displaced from the area. Within days of Hurricane Katrina‚Äôs strike, the Louisiana State Bar Association established a disaster legal assistance hotline where attorneys have handled more than 11,000 calls with questions about insurance, landlord/tenant and a host of other issues. The LSBA published a disaster-training manual and sponsored training seminars to prepare attorneys for duty at the call center, at FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers and at various shelters.