Dr. C. Ryan Haygood (center of table) makes a point to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Martiny during his testimony of alleged Louisiana Dental Board corruption on April 4, 2018.
When we presented our feature on Shreveport dentist C. Ryan Haygood on April 22, 2020, we did so with the full knowledge that many people would see the sheer length of the feature and say, “No way am I reading all that.”
We went to the trouble to present the entirety of the facts entailing Haygood’s civil litigation lawsuits (one in Federal Court and one in State District Court) so that anyone who may not believe the “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” summary we’re presenting today could go back and fact-check anything we say in this feature.
On May 1, 2019, Haygood appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee and lambasted the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD). Nobody could possibly sum up Haygood’s tesitmony better than Sen. President Page Cortez did the following week on May 8, 2019, so we’re about to present Sen. Cortez’s excellent summation and, at 30 seconds, the shortest video we’ve ever presented on Sound Off Louisiana:
Sen. Cortez, at the May 8, 2019 Senate Commerce Committee meeting, voices his displeasure with testimony by Shreveport dentist Dr. C. Ryan Haygood of the prior week of May 1, 2019.
What makes Haygood’s testimony all the more incredible? That would be the fact that OVER THREE YEARS PRIOR TO HIS TESTIMONY, the Federal Court for the Western District of Louisiana had already ruled that his civil lawsuit was groundless. What you just read is correct! Haygood made the testimony Cortez references in the video above without ever mentioning a word to the members of the Senate Commerce Committee that well, oh by the way, a Federal Court has deemed my civil case to have no merit.
Now, bear in mind that the burden of proof is much lower in civil court than in criminal court (preponderance of evidence that it is more likely than not vs. proof beyond a reasonable doubt), yet Haygood would throw around the terms Cortez references requiring a MUCH higher burden of proof to substantiate what Haygood was stating WHEN HE KNEW FULL WELL that a major ruling in Federal Court told both him and one of his original attorneys filing the suit (former Louisiana Senator Ryan Gatti) that his case is baseless.
Furthermore, Haygood knew at the time of his Louisiana Senate Commerce Committee testimony that his case was so groundless that a Federal Judge granted defendants’ motion for attorney fees! From that ruling:
The Haygood Plaintiffs’ Section 1983 were frivolous and their LUPTA claims were groundless and brought in bad faith or for purposes of harassment. Accordingly, Defendants’ Motion for Attorney Fees (Record Document 230) be and is hereby GRANTED. No later than twenty-one days from the date of this Memorandum Ruling, Defendants shall file a separate motion to submit detailed time reports, such that a lodestar analysis can be performed to determine the amount of reasonable attorneys fees.
Haygood was subsequently assessed with $114,987.26 in defendants’ attorney fees. He sought reconsideration by Federal Judge Maurice Hicks, and Hicks denied his Motion for Reconsideration. Haygood is presently appealing Hicks’ decision on the attorney fees to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
That’s all well and good entailing the State of Louisiana being able to largely pass on its defense costs to Haygood for the Federal litigation he filed, but what about the defense costs for his Louisiana state civil suit (which essentially mirrors the Federal litigation except for being devoid of several Federal issues)? It is practically unheard of for attorney fees in state civil litigation to be assessed against the losing party (there are some statutory exceptions such as a Special Motion to Strike based upon LA CCP 971). Accordingly, Louisiana taxpayers are likely on the hook for upwards of $1 million in civil defense costs pertaining to Haygood’s state civil suit, which has already been deemed to be baseless by a Federal Court!
Where do we derive the $1 million figure? Well, as recognized by long-time dedicated Sound Off Louisiana subscriber Billy Broussard (without whose assistance our main post linked above would not have been possible, and we give him special thanks for that fact) in one of his comments on our post, Haygood himself complained of the fact that, four years ago, that figure was $500,000 and Haygood was upset that many defendants’ defense costs were being paid by Louisiana taxpayers. From Billy’s comment, which was itself derived from this feature which Broussard linked and was contained in a 2016 letter Haygood drafted to Attorney General Jeff Landry shortly after he was sworn into office (parenthetical disclosure is ours as is boldface and underline emphasis):
Morrison (investigator for LSBD) is currently under investigation by the State Inspector General’s office and is expected to be criminally charged for fraud, perjury, and billing fraud to the state. Many dentists complained for years about his criminal acts, extortion, and harassment techniques.
It is my understanding that the Attorney General’s office cannot, by statute, defend someone who has broken the law. As you might imagine, Buddy Caldwell’s office did no due diligence into the matter before it was quickly passed off to his friends at The Faircloth Group. According to one former board member, Faircloth has billed more than $500,000 for their defense.
Additionally, your office recently undertook the defense of Sam Trinca, Dean Manning, and James Moreau who are members of the board of dentistry, as well as the board of dentistry itself which were all recently named as defendants. It is probable that at least two of these defendants have perjured themselves in relation to this matter. Furthermore, the board of dentistry recently bragged in their August 2015 board meeting that because they were officially named as defendants in this case, they would be saving money since the state would be undertaking their costs of defense.
We present this illustration to demonstrate the dire need for tort reform in Louisiana, and our timing is designed to coincide with Sen. Kirk Talbot’s bill scheduled to be heard tomorrow before the Senate’s Judiciary “A” Committee. We’ll be watching that meeting closely, and, in addition to providing video highlights of the meeting, we stand ready to present names and faces of legislators opposing his bill on the webpage just linked which even has one legislator serving as the guinea pig for the page. Our subscribers are invited to click on the preceding link to reveal the identity of said legislator, and if our guinea pig legislator opts to support an override of Gov. Edwards’ darn-near-certain veto of the bill should it pass both Chambers of the Legislature, we’ll be more than happy to remove the entry as well as issue a public apology for our misguided prediction! Obviously, should the bill fail to pass either Chamber, we will be highlighting the Legislators who opposed Talbot’s measure.
One final note of significance:
On Thursday, May 14, 2020, Sen. Bill Cassidy will be the special guest of conservative radio talk-show host Moon Griffon (whom The Advocate’s Mark Ballard recently referenced as the “icon” of the right in Louisiana). Griffon announced on his show today that he plans to ask Cassidy, “What the hell were you thinking?” when Cassidy proposed a $0.5 trillion bailout of state and local governments which was the focus of our most recent feature focusing on Americans for Prosperity’s (AFP) opposition to Cassidy’s measure. Following Cassidy’s feature on Griffon’s show, the Interim Director of AFP’s Louisiana operations, James Lee, will be featured to voice AFP’s position and explain exactly why the group is so adamantly opposed to Cassidy’s measure. We believe you’ll want to tune in to Moon’s show on Thursday (it’s easy to do so at the link at the start of this paragraph), and we’ll have a Sound Off Louisiana feature focusing on the appearances by Cassidy and Lee soon after the show finishes airing.
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