Pete joined the firm in 2006 and has maintained a balanced practice, representing clients in a variety of litigation, transactional, and regulatory matters. Pete has successfully litigated cases concerning contested estates and trusts, alleged violations of various federal statutes, such as the False Claims Act and Equal Pay Act, as well as complex business, trade practices, real estate, construction, and contract disputes. Pete has also negotiated and drafted a wide spectrum of complex contracts and agreements and handled mergers, acquisitions, and dissolutions affecting all forms of business entities. Pete routinely assists individuals with estate planning matters including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and charitable giving, and has worked with clients to develop business plans and regulatory compliance plans which are tax efficient and minimize risk.
Successful defense in Federal False Claims Act litigation: a former employee of the client, a local hospital, filed a False Claims Act (“FCA”) qui tam complaint against the client, alleging that the client had violated the FCA by charging reduced prices for phlebotomy to certain physicians to induce Medicaid or Medicare referrals by said physicians, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and FCA. The complaint alleged that the client had submitted over $4,000,000.00 in false claims over a ten year period. Pete, along with John B. “Spike” Scofield and members of the international firm Fulbright & Jaworski, advised the client during a three-year U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation, and thereafter successfully moved to dismiss the complaint with prejudice. See U.S. ex rel Nunnally v. West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, 2012 WL 1866586, No. 2:08-CV-00371-PM-KK, United States Dist. Ct., W.D. La. (2012). In 2013, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.
Successful defense in Federal False Claims Act litigation: An individual landowner filed a False Claims Act ("FCA") qui tam complaint claiming that the client, a large consulting firm, had engaged in fraud by issuing engineering reports which shifted responsibility for hurricane damages from private insurers to the federal flood insurance program. The individual plaintiff valued his claims at more than one million dollars. Pete, working with Robert E. Landry and Texas counsel David Ward, drafted and filed a detailed motion and memorandum seeking dismissal of the complaint and sanctions for frivolous litigation in January 2012. Shortly after Pete’s motions were filed, plaintiff’s counsel withdrew the complaint with prejudice, and also withdrew all claims in separate but closely related litigation pending in the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. See Marcantel v. Rimkus Consulting Group of Louisiana, No. 2:10-CV-01829-JTT-KK, United States Dist. Ct., W.D. La.; Black Lake Land & Oil Co., L.L.C. v. Craig D. Rogers; Rimkus Consulting Group, Incorporated, of Louisiana; Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, No. 11-30963, U.S. 5th Cir. App. Ct.
In 2011 and continuing into 2012, Pete worked on numerous complex issues relating to a half-billion dollar casino development in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Pete, along with John Pohorelsky, advised the developer on federal and state highway construction regulations, wetland mitigation regulations, rights-of-way/servitude law, federal and state billboard and signage regulations, collateralization pursuant to the Louisiana UCC, and Louisiana boundary law. Pete has handled several multimillion-dollar loans for local and regional banks and lenders.
In 2010 and 2011, Pete worked on multimillion-dollar timberland transactions for First American Title Insurance Company and various timber companies involving thousands of acres. Pete has handled multiple commercial real estate transactions throughout his practice.
Pete has assisted numerous clients in business organization/startups and transactions, including mergers and acquisitions of closely-held entities. Pete has organized charitable organizations, supporting organizations, and drafted detailed by-laws and operating agreements for several businesses.
Pete has advised medical provider clients on numerous federal regulatory compliance issues, including the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute, and has drafted dozens of agreements for clients with the goal of compliance with the aforementioned complex regulatory schemes and statutory safe harbors, including physician recruitment and retention contracts, physician assistance agreements, leases of medical office space, leases of imaging and other equipment, contracts with off-site laboratory facilities, joint ventures, and contracts with off-site physicians, nurse practitioners, and hospitalists.
Pete has advised clients in complicated estate planning matters, including maximization via testament of federal death tax and federal gift tax credits, as well as advising clients on long term care, Medicaid planning, estate recovery, and special needs trusts. Pete has created Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax trusts, Charitable Remainder Unitrusts and Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts for estate planning clients. Pete has also represented clients in federal death tax disputes against the Internal Revenue Service.
Pete has handled dozens of successions (probate of estates) and successfully represented clients in estate asset disputes, continuation of business issues, real estate, and will contests in estates of all sizes. Pete has also represented clients in complex litigation involving trusts.
In 2009, Pete represented the majority shareholders of a closely-held multimillion-dollar concrete company in an action to have unauthorized amendments by a minority shareholder to the company’s articles of incorporation and by-laws declared invalid. Pete, working with John B. "Spike" Scofield, successfully moved for summary judgment declaring that the minority shareholder had acted unlawfully and her unilateral amendments to the company's organizing documents were invalid. See Leblanc, et al v. Pearson and Concrete Eaters, Inc., No. 2009-002173-E, 14th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Calcasieu, State of Louisiana.
In 2008, Pete assisted Scott J. Scofield in obtaining summary judgment in favor of 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 United States Dist. Ct., W.D. La. (2008). In June 2009 the United States Fifth Circuit affirmed the trial court's judgment in an unpublished opinion.
Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation and Transactions
- Estate Planning, Administration, and Litigation
- Healthcare Regulatory Compliance and Litigation
- Corporate Governance, Transactions, and Litigation
- Trust Administration and Litigation
- Fiduciary Litigation
- Employment Litigation Defense
- Oil and Gas
- Commercial Real Estate Development and Timber Transactions
- Banking and Security Devices
- U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
- U.S. Tax Court
- Louisiana State University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- J.D. - 2006
- Honors: Chancellor's List
- Honors: CALI Award, Contract Law
- Louisiana State University
- B.A. - 2002
- Honors: cum laude
- Major: English
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Louisiana State (LSBA) & Southwest Louisiana Bar Association (SWLBA)
- SWLBA Young Lawyer's Section, President
- SWLBA, At-Large Executive Council Member
- Louisiana State Law Institute (www.lsli.org), Council Member
- SWLBA Holiday Helping Hands, Chairman
- Chamber SWLA Leadership By-Laws Committee, Chairman
- Southwest Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
- Business Law, McNeese State University, Adjunct Professor