2015 has been a banner year for both the FOP Legal Defense Plan and the firm of Livaccari Villarrubia Lemmon. Hopefully, next year Livaccari Villarrubia Lemmon LLC will transition to Livaccari Law. The staff, office location, phone number, etc., will remain the same – only the name will change.
This firm began in the early 80’s as Brough and Livaccari, made up of William R. Brough and Anthony J. LIvaccari, Jr.. Brough and Livaccari was mainly an insurance defense firm. In the 90’s, there were a number of notable insurance company failures in Louisiana, such as Champion Insurance. The Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA) was responsible for picking up where these failed companies left off. Brough and Livaccari began representing LIGA. In addition, they began to handle more plaintiff work, specifically automobile accidents and other personal injury cases. Since then, Todd Villarrubia joined Tony Livaccari. Todd has subsequently left to run his own firm, the Wealth Planning Law Group, which is next door to my office. My sister, Jenifer Lemmon, graduated law school and subsequently began working in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. So, Livaccari Villarrubia Lemmon no longer contains a Villarrubia or a Lemmon. I joined the firm on part-time basis when I graduated from law school and was admitted to the bar, and on a full-time basis when I left the NOPD in 2008.
Today, the firm is composed of myself, Donovan Livaccari, and my father, Tony Livaccari. My work is primarily composed of representing law enforcement officers through the FOP Legal Defense Plan. My father, Tony Livaccari, concentrates on personal injury litigation cases — automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc. as well as other general practice cases.
During 2015, my father represented a number of police officers with automobile accidents and other filled in for me once or twice. Automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, scooter accidents, and other injuries are common for law enforcement officers. When you drive a car 8 hours a day, it is inevitable that accidents happen. Police officers who are involved in automobile accidents should consult with an attorney, particularly when the other party is at fault. When consulting with an attorney post-accident, it is extraordinarily helpful to have an attorney who is familiar with law enforcement. For example, when recovering lost wages, it is vital for an attorney to understand how police details work or the difference between a workers compensation injury and an injured on duty injury. Here, at Livaccari Law, we can provide that type of knowledge and familiarity to law enforcement officers in addition to the 30+ years of experience handling these types of cases in general. There is no harm in calling. Involved in an accident? Call Tony at 504-621-2636 or me at 504-905-8280. The office number is 504-488-3702.
With regard to the FOP Legal Defense Plan, I represented 427 individual police officer clients in one capacity or another. For those 427 police officer clients, the following services were provided:
DI-1 Statements – 253
Disciplinary Hearings – 123
Rule IX Hearings – 24
Accident Review Boards – 10
Civil Service Appeals filed – 26
Civil Service denial of promotion appeals – 5
Civil Service subpoenas – 34
Civil Service hearings – 20
Civil Service extension hearings – 77
Notary services – 63
Officer Involved Shootings – 8
Media interviews – 82
In addition to these regular, repetitive services, I attended numerous City Council meetings, City Council committee hearings, and regular Civil Service meetings. I represented several officers with regard to reclassifying workers compensation injuries as injured on duty injuries. In addition, I drafted a rule amendment which was adopted by the Civil Service Commission to include injuries sustained while engaged in traffic enforcement or the investigation of traffic incidents as injured on duty incidents (Rule VIII, Sec. 2.9(a)).
The FOP was also active in the 2015 Louisiana legislative session as usual. We made several trips to Baton Rouge in furtherance of the FOP’s legislative agenda. In addition, the FOP is the only rank and file law enforcement group to be included in the Louisiana Body Worn Camera Task Force. Myself, Jake Lundy, and Jim Gallagher attended the Body Worn Camera Task Force meeting in Baton Rouge in support of Darrell Basco, Louisiana FOP President, who has a seat on the task force.
It has been a busy year and I look forward to continuing to be there for FOP members when they need someone the most in 2016. Having been a law enforcement officer, I am grateful for the opportunity to represent FOP members.
For 2016, I plan on bringing the FOP’s Critical Incident Response Team online. When officers are involved in critical incidents, such as officer involved shootings, or in-custody deaths, it is crucial for the FOP to be able to provide prompt, quality legal services to its members. But it is much more than that.
Being involved in a critical incident can be one of the most traumatic experiences in the life of a law enforcement officer. Officers are subjected to the type of scrutiny we have never seen before. At the scene of an officer involved shooting, representatives of the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, federal monitors, FIT investigators, etc., etc., are present. The media is usually there and very interested in the incident and people involved. Questions are flying and recordings are being made.
In short, it is important for an officer to be able to have someone by his or her side who is unquestionably looking out for their best interest. The FOP Critical Incident Response Team will be able to provide that.
First, it is of the utmost importance that someone notify me as soon as possible. If I do not know about a critical incident until I read about it in the news the next day, it is impossible to respond to the scene. I need someone to call me, assuming the officer or officers involved wants someone notified. Once I receive the call, I will get as much preliminary information as I can get, such as the number and identities of officers involved.
So, for illustrative purposes, let’s assume that there is an incident involving two officers involved in an officer involved shooting which led to the death of a suspect. I need to know the foregoing. I also need to know if the officer has a preference with regard to a lawyer to be notified. I have a list of attorneys who have agreed to answer the phone in the middle of the night, get dressed, and respond to a critical incident scene if possible. Right now, that list includes: Bruce Whittaker, Ed Doskey, George Hesni, Kevin Boshea, Roger Jordan, Tanya Faia, Townsend Myers, and William Dunn. All of these attorneys are experienced criminal attorneys. So, once I learned there were two officers involved, I would go down the list until I have two attorneys in addition to myself who are able to respond to the scene.
I, along with the two criminal attorneys will respond to the critical incident. I will attend to any administrative matters and make sure that the criminal attorneys file the proper claim forms with the FOP Legal Defense Plan. Hopefully, that will clear up the criminal attorneys so that they can attend to the legal needs of the officer involved without having to be concerned about some of the potentially distracting administrative issues. These criminal attorneys will be available to represent the officer throughout any criminal investigation. After that, I will be available for administrative proceedings or the officer may be able to continue with the criminal attorney if they wish to do so.
I am also planning on securing a use of force expert to respond to the scenes of critical incidents to advise myself and the criminal attorneys with regard to any use of force issues identified on the scene. I am excited about the benefit this will provide to officers and I know, from my own experience, how beneficial it is to the officer to have someone by their side during these types of events.
Please feel free to call me or Tony with any legal needs you may have. We appreciate your business and promise to deliver the type of service that you deserve whether it be with a DI-1, a Civil Service appeal, a 4th Circuit appeal, an automobile accident, a will, a power of attorney, or a succession.