Greetings to all of my colleagues in the attorney general community across the country. I appreciate the NAGTRI Center for Consumer Protection giving me the opportunity to share some information about Louisiana’s Consumer Protection Section and myself.
I joined the Consumer Protection Section of the Louisiana Department of Justice as an Assistant Attorney General in September 2008. During that month, Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike hit Louisiana, causing extensive damage across the state. In the aftermath of the hurricanes, thousands of consumers called our consumer protection hotline and filed complaints about issues related to the storms, including price gouging, unscrupulous contractors, and questionable charities. Reviewing and investigating those complaints was my initiation into the section and the beginning of my legal career in public service. I quickly realized the importance of the section’s role in protecting consumers in the marketplace. Our section represents the public at large by enforcing laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices. We conduct civil investigations on behalf of the public and bring enforcement actions in the name of the state. We also offer a voluntary mediation service to consumers and administer numerous statutory registrations and notices.
Before serving as Section Chief, I worked as a staff attorney in the Consumer Protection Section for seven and a half years, securing important injunctive and monetary relief for consumers and the state. I have fond memories of those days. In one of my first cases, we shut down a group of moving companies. As a part of their scheme, the movers demanded additional payments from their customers after loading the customers’ goods on their trucks. When the customers refused to pay, the movers drove away with the customers’ property. Because of our lawsuit, we located and recovered the customers’ goods from a warehouse in New Orleans. It was extremely satisfying to watch the customers get back their antique furniture, family heirlooms, and other personal belongings. In another memorable case, we closed down several collection agencies that repeatedly failed to remit funds they had collected on behalf of their business clients. In addition to these cases, I handled a variety of other matters, including state court litigation against pharmaceutical companies, federal multidistrict litigation against foreign building material manufacturers, and multistate cases in the areas of debt collection, debt relief, privacy, and telecommunications.
In March 2016, Attorney General Landry appointed me Section Chief of the Consumer Protection Section. Since then, I have been privileged to lead a team of outstanding attorneys and other professionals who are dedicated to helping consumers and stopping illegal business practices. I enjoy the seemingly endless new challenges that come with the position. As COVID-19 swept across our nation in 2020, Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta devastated parts of Louisiana. While our team adapted to unusual work environments and assumed additional duties due to the pandemic, they never stopped answering calls, responding to complaints, and pursuing enforcement actions in the interest of the public. I am proud of their efforts and the positive results they continue to produce for Louisiana. Their devotion to helping the people of our state makes my job incredibly worthwhile.
As a Louisiana native, I am honored to serve as a lawyer for the state. I grew up in the small town of Lake Providence in North Louisiana. Eventually, I migrated south to Baton Rouge to attend Louisiana State University. After earning my undergraduate degree in Business Administration, I followed the river to New Orleans. I received my law degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 2006. My wife Karen and I now live in Baton Rouge with our two boys, Hans (7) and Wally (4). I have tried on several occasions to describe my job to my kids. I think that I may have inspired them to follow my example and pursue careers in public service. During this year’s career day at school, Hans was an ice cream man, because, in his words, “I like giving.” Not one to be outdone by his brother, during career week at daycare, Wally decided he wanted to be a chocolate man who makes chocolate bunnies. Regardless of the career paths that they ultimately take, I hope they find their jobs as fulfilling as I find mine.
Other articles in this edition include:
- Supporting Charities in the Time of COVID-19
- Attorney General Consumer Protection News
- Federal Consumer Protection News