La. attorney sued by client over alleged mishandling of BP claim

By Kyle Barnett | Feb 13, 2014

GRETNA – A New Orleans-area attorney and law office are being sued by a client who had a claim against BP for damages stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Richard J. Mock filed suit against Joseph Douglas Sunseri, The Law Office of Nicaud & Sunseri LLC and their insurer in the 24th Judicial District Court on Jan. 20.

Mock claims that on Oct. 16, 2012, he inquired with attorney Douglas Sunseri of Nicaud & Sunseri in Metarie about representing him in a claim against BP related to damages caused by the spill to his two commercial fishing vessels and to his business as a commercial fisherman.

On Nov. 15, 2012 the plaintiff asserts he was contacted by email by a paralegal working for the defendant notifying him that he would need to fill out forms to determine his eligibility for damages under the Seafood Compensation Claims fund set up by BP to settle damages with local fishermen. Mock states he took that to mean that Sunseri was acting as his counsel.

Mock alleges that he forwarded proof of income from 2007 to 2011 to the law firm, and also completed a client contact sheet. According to the suit, on Dec. 14, 2012, Mock was contacted by Sunseri’s office who notified him he was automatically eligible for a settlement claim.

The plaintiff claims that on Jan. 3, 2013, he was made aware via email from the defendant’s office that he had passed a causation test for his BP claim. Mock then attempted to contact the office via phone to no avail.

On Jan. 23, 2013 the day after the deadline to file a claim under the Seafood Fund had passed, Mock was again unable to contact Sunseri and the following day he filed a pro se claim on his own. He was later informed on Sept. 27, 2013, that both the pro se claim and the claim handled by Sunseri were denied because they were filed after the deadline, the suit claims.

The defendant is accused of legal malpractice for failing to inform the plaintiff of the impending deadline to file a claim of communicating any other issues about his cases and suffering the loss of two valuable claims.

Damages are sought for the plaintiff for lost opportunity to pursue settlement claims.

Mock is represented by Covington-based attorney Jacques F. Bezou Jr.

The case has been assigned to Division E Judge John J. Molaison Jr.

Case no. 734-793

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