Scofield, Scott J.
Address: 901 Lake Shore Dr. Ste. 900, Lake Charles, LA 70601
Lawyer Firm: Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry
|Areas of Practice||Business, Commercial, and Insurance Litigation, Bankruptcy Litigation, Oil and Gas Litigation, Sales and Use Tax Litigation|
Scott joined the firm in 1984. His practice focuses on the prosecution and defense of complex business and commercial litigation in a wide array of areas, including intra-company ownership and financial disputes, bankruptcy, private securities, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, oil and gas, and insurance coverage. Scott represents local taxing authorities in sales and use tax litigation in state and federal bankruptcy court. Scott has successfully argued numerous times before the Louisiana Supreme Court, United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, and Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal. Scott has tried hundreds of cases in federal, bankruptcy, and state courts located throughout Louisiana. He has also handled cases in various federal and bankruptcy courts in Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and New York. Scott works closely with his firm’s talented attorneys, paralegals, and staff.
In 2016, Scott, on behalf of his client, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, Sales and Use Tax Department, convinced the Louisiana Supreme Court to unanimously reverse decisions by the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal and the 14th Judicial District Court in Calcasieu Parish that the School Board’s large assessment of unpaid sales taxes and statutory interest and penalties upon two multi-million dollar cash bar businesses over a four year period was arbitrarily invalid. Yesterdays of Lake Charles v. Calcasieu Parish Sales & Use Tax Dept., 2015-C-1676 (La. 5/13/16), 2016 WL 2879996, 190 So.3d 710. The Supreme Court found that the lower courts "made numerous legal errors" in its interpretation of the applicable law, including the suitable records statute, La. Rev. Stat. 47:337.29, and its implementing regulation, La. Admin. Code Tit. 61, pt. 1, § 4359; the correct estimating methodology of unpaid sales taxes under La. Rev. Stat. 47:337.35, 47:337.28, and 47:337.28.1; the proper placement of the presumption of correctness and burden of proof under La. Rev. Stat. 47:337.28 (A); and, the "lack of suitable record" exception to the general prohibition against arbitrary assessments in La. Rev. Stat. 47:337.28.1 (A). Applying the proper interpretation of these laws, the Supreme Court reversed and rendered judgment in favor of the School Board on all correctable issues, and remanded the case back to the trial court to properly calculate the amount of taxes, interest, and penalties due the School Board in accordance with the Supreme Court’s mandate. Scott’s firm did not try the case, but was retained to handle the motion for new trial and appeal to the Third Circuit and Supreme Court. Scott argued the School Board’s case before three and five judge panels in the Third Circuit and before the Louisiana Supreme Court. Scott teamed with the firm’s Andrea Albright Crawford to author the appellate briefs against opposing counsel that has been rated a Band 2 attorney by Chambers and Partners (Chambers USA).In 2015, Scott’s clients, plaintiffs Bryan and Susan Vincent, closed the settlement of their derivative and direct claims for $9,489,333.33 against the majority owners of Lake Charles Rubber & Gasket, LLC. Scott’s clients based their claims upon allegations of multiple breaches of fiduciary duties, including minority oppression, and unfair trade practices. In exchange, the Vincents transferred their minority interests in Lake Charles Rubber & Gasket and three other companies to defendants, Vesta and Mark Johnston and Kathy and Mike Heinen. Because defendants failed to secure from the Vincents any conditions placed upon competing against Lake Charles Rubber & Gasket or the other entities, Bryan and Susan were able to legally open their own businesses and successfully provide high levels of service to their valued customers. Defendants were represented by five AV law firms, including one Band 1 firm as ranked by Chambers USA. In 2014, Scott’s client, Delta Screen, sued in Lafayette, Louisiana, Black Elk Offshore Operations, LLC and its Wall Street-based, private equity owners for unfair trade practices, fraudulent inducement, fraudulent conveyance, and various alter ego theories arising out of their complete control over Black Elk’s finances, management, and legal decisions. After Scott defeated the defendants’ multiple pretrial motions and stall tactics, Black Elk and its private equity owners paid Delta Screen’s large, but confidential claim in September, 2014. Less than a year later, Black Elk’s other creditors forced Black Elk into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Houston Texas. In its disclosure statement, Black Elk disclosed that its private equity owners received up to $360 million in "dividends" just before being placed into bankruptcy.In Kite vs. Kite Bros., LLC, 170 So.3d 1184 (La.App. 3 Cir. July 15, 2015) (writ denied, La., 10/23/15), plaintiff Alan Kite sued his former employer, Kite Bros., LLC, and his father, Robert Kite, for $25 million. Alan Kite based his claim upon unfair trade practices, defamation, retaliatory discharge, and control of Kite Bros., LLC. In response, Kite Bros., LLC and Robert Kite (Kite Bros.) filed a reconventional demand for embezzlement, fraud, bad faith litigation tactics, emotional harm, and attorney fees. During trial, which began on April 1, 2013, Alan Kite filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Through Scott’s bankruptcy experience, Kite Bros. obtained relief from the automatic stay to continue prosecuting its reconventional demand. Trial was set to continue on August 1, 2013. On the day before the rescheduled trial, Alan Kite sought in bad faith to remove the case to federal court well past all potential deadlines for removal. Scott was able to secure an emergency hearing at which the presiding federal judge ordered the parties to return to the prescheduled trial in accordance with the stay relief order. The trial then continued to judgment. With interest and fees, the trial court awarded Kite Bros. over $1.1 million. Alan Kite received nothing upon his multi-million dollar claim. Scott argued before the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal before three, five, and seven judge panels. The primary issue on appeal was whether the bad faith removal was effectively remanded by the federal court’s order. The seven judge panel affirmed virtually all of the trial court’s judgment. The Louisiana Supreme Court denied writs.In 2014 and 2015, Scott argued seven times before the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal, winning all of his clients’ cases except for one argument involving damages for filing a bad faith appeal. In 2014 and 2015, Scott recovered judgments totaling $1,055,817.75 for the Calcasieu Parish School Board, Sales and Use Tax Department.In 2013, Scott’s client, Dr. Lee Joyner, settled a Louisiana RICO case against Deutsche Bank, et al for $9,000,000.00. Scott’s client alleged as predicate acts: fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. The case has a long, tortured history that began in 1996 when Dr. Joyner’s business partner, Sam Liprie, defrauded Dr. Joyner out of $4.3 million over a three year period. Joyner v. Liprie, 33 So.2d 242, 252 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2010), writ denied, 45 So.2d 1043 (La. 2010). Dr. Joyner’s state court trial counsel included Joe Ward of Covington and Joe Greenwald of Shreveport. While Dr. Joyner’s case against Mr. Liprie was pending, Dr. Joyner alleged that Mr. Liprie laundered the $4.3 million in stolen funds through his newly formed limited liability company (SFL), the ownership of which was then donated to an irrevocable trust managed by Deutsche Bank. The trust’s beneficiaries were Liprie’s family members. After Mr. Liprie filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December of 2010, Dr. Joyner hired Scott to work closely with Mr. Ward and Mr. Greenwald to file an adversary proceeding against Deutsche Bank, SFL, and the trust beneficiaries for treble damages under the Louisiana RICO Act and multiple other related counts. Scott was also hired to contest the dischargeability of his client’s claim and to object to the exempt status of Mr. Liprie’s $2 million cash surrender value in a life insurance policy, which was allegedly purchased with Dr. Joyner’s money. Scott was greatly assisted by the firm’s Andreá Crawford. According to rankings by Chambers & Partners, Deutsche Bank was represented by the Houston and New York offices of a "Band 3" international law firm; SFL was represented by four law firms, including the two top rated bankruptcy attorneys in Louisiana, and a "Band 1" law firm; Mr. Liprie was represented by a "Band 1" bankruptcy attorney; and the trust beneficiaries were represented by a "Band 3" commercial litigation firm. Almost three months after Deutsche Bank agreed in writing to a mediated settlement, Dr. Joyner was forced to file a motion for contempt against Deutsche Bank for failing to pay its $7.7 million share of the settlement, which it finally did. Joyner v. S.F.L. & S.I.L., LLC, 485 B.R. 538 (W.D. La. 2013); Lee Roy Joyner, M.D. v. Samuel F. Liprie, a/k/a Sam Liprie, et al, No. 10-18482, 38th Judicial District Court, Cameron Parish, Louisiana.In 2013, Scott’s client, a Texas oil service company, was able to recover $400,000.00 from the owner of a California "shell" company for miscalculating sums due under a supply contract related to fracking.In 2013, Scott, on behalf of his client, Central Crude, Inc., settled a legacy lawsuit brought by the Cameron Parish School Board and an indemnity cross-claim brought by co-defendant, ExxonMobil Corporation. Cameron Parish’s environmental experts estimated clean-up damages to be $84,517,408.00. Scott’s client settled favorably for a confidential amount.In 2013, Scott, on behalf of his client, Central Crude, Inc., settled a legacy lawsuit brought by private landowners in Cameron Parish and an indemnity cross-claim brought by co-defendant, ExxonMobil Corporation. Plaintiffs’ environmental expert estimated clean-up damages to be $70,614,295.00. Scott’s client settled favorably for a confidential amount.In 2013, on behalf of his client, Medallion Oil Company, Scott settled a legacy lawsuit brought by private landowners in Jefferson Davis Parish. Plaintiffs’ environmental expert estimated clean-up damages to be approximately $18,000,000.00. Scott’s client secured a complete dismissal and recovered all attorney fees and litigation expenses from a third party.In 2012, Scott was listed in Super Lawyers, under the category of Business Litigation.In 2012, on behalf of his client, Jordan Oil Company, Inc., Scott settled a legacy lawsuit brought by private landowners in Cameron Parish. Plaintiffs’ environmental expert estimated clean-up damages to be $60,000,000.00. Scott’s client secured a complete dismissal. In 2012 and 2013, Scott obtained for his client, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, judgments, settlements, and bankruptcy pay-outs in the approximate amount of $2,250,000.00.In 2011, Scott was listed in Super Lawyers, under the category of Business Litigation. In 2011, two of Scott’s oil company clients each secured dismissals in two separate legacy lawsuits brought in Cameron Parish. Scott was also able to recover his clients’ respective attorney fees and expenses from several insurers.In 2011, Scott’s client, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, favorably obtained a ruling in a test case regarding the ranking and validity of a sales tax lien under state and federal bankruptcy law versus a UCC security interest. In Re Print Services, Inc., 2011 WL 597032 (Bkrtcy. W.D. La.).In 2011, Scott’s oil company client recovered over $550,000.00, plus attorney fees and contractual interest, in a contract and securities dispute over the sale and unauthorized re-sale of working interests.In 2010 and 2011, Scott’s client, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, obtained judgments, settlements, and bankruptcy pay-outs in the approximate amount of $3,000,000.00.In 2010, Scott’s client, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, recovered $727,000.00 in the Lyondell Chemical Company bankruptcy case brought in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York.In 2010, Scott was listed in Super Lawyers, under the category of Business Litigation. In 2010, Scott and his law partner, Phillip DeVilbiss, represented a law firm in an involuntary liquidation proceeding. After a disgruntled non-equity attorney was discharged for cause, that attorney was able to obtain an ex parte order from a 14th JDC Judge in chambers placing Scott’s highly profitable client into involuntary liquidation with an ex-felon, union boss appointed as liquidator. When the trial court refused to rescind its ex parte order, Scott and Mr. DeVilbiss were able to obtain full supervisory relief from the Third Circuit. The damage case brought by Scott’s client against the disgruntled attorney is still pending.In 2010, Scott’s client, a chemical company, obtained a summary defense judgment that plaintiff take nothing in a premises liability action brought by plaintiff-passenger who was impaled after being thrown from a four-wheeler onto a broken wooden piling at the bottom of a deep canal allegedly under the control of Scott’s client and others. Hayes v. Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Co., L.P., 2010 WL 3216441 (La. Dist. Ct. 2010). The Third Circuit published an opinion that addressed a co-defendant’s favorable summary judgment in Hayes v. Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company, 34 So.3d 1009 (La.App. 3 Cir. 2010) regarding the same issue. In 2010, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana granted a summary judgment dismissing claims against the client of Scott and Scott’s partner, Phillip DeVilbiss, for dumping allegedly hazardous material onto plaintiff’s property without his permission. Landry v. Laney Directional Drilling Co., 2010 WL 2926466 (M.D. La. 2010). The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment. Landry v. Laney Directional Drilling Co., 460 Fed.Appx. 413 (5 Cir. 2012).In 2010, Scott’s client, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, recovered $203,000.00 in the Chemtura Corporation bankruptcy case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York.In 2010, Scott spoke at a Louisiana Oil and Gas Association meeting on a panel which included U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Scott discussed issues concerning litigation against the state.In 2010, Scott completed his two year tenure as a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel, a statewide organization.In 2009, on behalf of his client, Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a first party, bad faith insurance claim, Scott settled on the morning of the first day of trial in federal court for all of his client’s covered claims, plus additional amounts for penalties, damages, attorney fees, and the costs to empanel the jury. The insurer, EMC, paid a total of $1,240,000.00, or 59 times EMC’s first offer reflected in its Commercial Closing Report and Draft Request of $21,000.00. Scott was greatly aided by his law partner, Phillip W. DeVilbiss, who was enlisted to counter the constant barrage of motions and aggressive discovery tactics by EMC. Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau v. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, 2009 WL54295 (W.D. La.)In 2009, Scott and his law partner, Patrick D. Gallaugher, Jr., recovered in a clean-up lawsuit for their oil company client $450,000.00 from its insurance company for breach of the insurer’s duties to defend and indemnify.In a 2009 maritime lien ranking contest in a bankruptcy court sitting in Houston, Scott obtained $1,029,822.39 for his client who supplied necessaries to a charterer of the debtor’s vessel.In 2009, Scott and his law partner, Patrick D. Gallaugher, Jr., recovered in a clean-up lawsuit for their oil company client $1,285,000.00 from its insurance company for breach of the insurer’s duties to defend and indemnify.Since 2008, Scott has obtained 58 judgments totaling approximately $960,000.00 against various businesses on behalf of his client, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, Sales and Use Tax Department.In 2009, Scott obtained for his clients in an arbitration proceeding a judgment nullifying an alleged final settlement valued by his clients’ opponent at $28,000,000.00.In 2009, Scott was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel, a statewide organization. Website: http://ladc.org/In 2009, Scott accepted an invitation to join Super Lawyers, under the category of Business Litigation.In April, 2008, Scott has obtained a summary judgment in favor of his client, Pioneer Exploration, Ltd., against two landowners declaring that a surface lease was valid and enforceable. To cloud title, the landowners and their lawyers alleged mutual mistake, error, and fraud in confecting the surface lease, thereby preventing Pioneer from building a processing facility until the matter was resolved. See, Pioneer Exploration, Ltd. v. Rutherford, 2008 WL 1711411 (W.D. La.). On June 30, 2009, after oral arguments, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s judgment in an unpublished opinion.In 2008, after oral arguments, the Third Circuit affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Scott’s client in Groff v. Southwest Beverage Co., Inc., 997 So.2d 782 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/5/08).In 2008, Scott and his law partner, Patrick D. Gallaugher, Jr., recovered by settlement $1, 000, 000 for their client against its former business associate under an indemnity contract.In 2007, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment in Minix v. JELD-WEN, inc., 237 Fed.Appx. 578 (11th Cir. 2007). The plaintiffs filed a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied in Minix v. JELD-WEN, inc., 552 U.S. 1182 (2008).Also in 2007, Scott’s client, an insured in a first party, bad faith insurance claim, recovered in a mediated settlement almost 23 times the insurer’s "final" calculation of property damages caused by Hurricane Rita to a large apartment complex. The insurer agreed to settle only if its name and the amount of payment were kept confidential.Also in 2007, Scott’s client, Southwest Beverage Sales, Inc., a large distributor for Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., was dismissed with prejudice by summary judgment from a wrongful discharge case brought by a former employee. The employee’s suit was based upon allegations of assault by a company supervisor, intentional infliction of emotional harm, and various civil rights violations. The employee’s testifying psychiatrist "diagnosed" him to be totally disabled. The former employee has filed an appeal.Also in 2007, Scott and his co-counsel, Bill Martucci of Shook, Hardy & Bacon of Kansas City, Missouri, won a judgment as a matter of law in a racial discrimination jury trial which began April 30, 2007 in federal court. See, McNeal v. Kansas City Southern Railway Company, 2007 WL 3010201 (W.D. La.). Over Kansas City Southern’s objections, the Court allowed the plaintiff, a non-union, at-will probationary employee, to compare his conduct and discipline with that of another employee who committed different violations, some of which occurred while the alleged comparator was protected by a collective bargaining agreement and extensive grievance procedures. The jury awarded back pay, but no emotional harm or punitive damages. In its post-trial JMOL ruling, the Court found insufficient evidence to support plaintiff’s allegations that the alleged comparator received different treatment under nearly identical circumstances. The Court also assessed plaintiff with all costs. The plaintiff did not appeal the Court’s JMOL ruling.Also in 2007, Scott’s client favorably settled a contract dispute for $450,000.00. The dispute arose over which party was entitled to insurance proceeds covering damages to a small apartment complex.In 2006, Scott helped his client settle a commercial dispute between Scott’s shopping center client and the defendant tenant, a publicly traded company. After threatening Scott’s client with sanctions upon filing suit, Scott’s client accepted defendant’s offer to settle the day before trial for all unpaid rent and expenses, which included costs associated with a new roof, plus significant holdover penalties of three times the sums due from date of breach. The defendant also agreed to pay the majority of Scott’s attorney fees and litigation expenses. Also, in 2006, Scott, along with local counsel Mike Thompson of Lehr, Middlebrooks & Vreeland, of Birmingham, Alabama, successfully obtained a summary judgment on behalf of their client, JELD-WEN, inc., in a Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation case brought by three female plaintiffs in the United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama, Eastern Division. The plaintiffs alleged that their direct supervisor secretly harassed them and two other female workers over periods ranging from three months to several years. JELD-WEN, inc. prevailed by affirmatively proving the two-prong Faragher/Ellerth defense. See, Minix v. JELD-WEN, inc., 2006 WL 2971654 (M.D. Ala. 2006). The plaintiffs’ writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was denied. Minix v. JELD-WEN, inc., 552 U.S. 1182 (2008).In 2005, after oral argument, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the federal district court’s judgment in Fontenot v. Buus, 370 F. Supp.2d 512 (W.D. La. 2004). See, 131 Fed. Appx. 985, 2005 WL 1231717 (5th Cir. 2005). Also in 2005, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the Robins v. Jarreau judgment rendered by Judge Brady of the Middle District Court of Louisiana. See, In Re: Clarence T. Nalls, Jr., 2005 WL 79125 (5 Cir. 2005).In 2004, Scott successfully defended JELD-WEN, Inc. in a Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation case. Fontenot v. Buus, 370 F.Supp.2d 512 (W.D. La. 2004). The alleged harassment occurred after the female plaintiff ended her consensual affair with the defendant’s Office Manager. The alleged harassment consisted of stalking and secretive conduct that occurred away from the workplace. A key issue was whether the alleged harasser was considered plaintiff’s "Title VII Supervisor" under recent Supreme Court decisions. In 2004, Scott and Phillip DeVilbiss successfully defended an insured in a federal civil rights case. This case is notable because the federal district court judge, after dismissing the plaintiffs’ case as frivolous, ordered the plaintiffs to pay a portion of the fees and expensed incurred by the firm’s clients. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit substantially increased the amount of the fee award. See, Robins v. Jarreau, 90 F. Appx. 749 (5 Cir. 2004). In a separate ruling, the federal district judge suspended plaintiffs’ counsel from practicing in federal court for 18 months. In 2003, Scott successfully settled an oilfield contamination case on behalf of his client, a charitable trust that uses mineral revenues to fund scholastic scholarships and build schools. After four days of hearings, the trial court divested the Office of Conservation of jurisdiction previously mandated in H.C. Drew Estate v. Reunion Energy, 689 So.2d 457 (La. App. 3 Cir. 1996). The trial court’s ruling was based upon the defendants’ repeated failure to comply with Office of Conservation clean-up orders. The defendants paid Scott’s client $3,950,000.00, purchased the contaminated property, assumed all clean-up obligations, and allowed the charitable trust to continue receiving the mineral royalties. Upon receiving the settlement proceeds, Scott’s client donated $750,000.00 to McNeese State University. In 2002, Scott obtained the affirmation on appeal of a judgment for damages for breach of a contract to sell stock, as well as an unprecedented declaratory judgment prohibiting the American Arbitration Association from participating in an arbitration as a violation of public policy.In 2002, Scott successfully defended an internet service provider and its key member-owners in a "freeze-out" action brought by a minority member. After successfully obtaining a court order requiring arbitration of the matter, Maas Technologies, Inc. v. Henning, 744 So.2d 238 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1999), the arbitrator, after a three-day trial, rejected claims of fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of contract and awarded the plaintiff nothing. Also in 2002, Scott was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to a three-person panel that presides over trials by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel against lawyers accused of violating ethical rules. The panel, composed of two lawyers and a layman, renders decisions after a full trial and issues penalties ranging from complete acquittal to permanent disbarment.In 2001, Scott and Pat Gallaugher successfully represented the agent for Louisiana’s Tobacco Attorneys in an attempted class action suit to nullify their $575 million fee award under the $206 billion 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between 46 states and the major tobacco companies.In 2001, Scott recovered over $960,000.00 in fees, interest, and costs for his client in a bankruptcy case after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an unreported decision, affirmed the case of In Re A. Angelle, Inc., 230 B.R. 287 (Bankr. W.D. La. 1998). In 2001, Scott obtained complete defense verdicts in a $2,500,000.00 fraud and breach of sales contract adversarial proceeding in bankruptcy court and a $1,600,000.00 property damage case in state court.
Personal: Scott and his wife, Eileen, are parents of two sons, Vaughn and Brad.
80% of Practice Devoted to Litigation20% of Practice Devoted to Strategic Business Counseling
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