On February 18, 2020, the U. S. District Court hosted an African American History Month program entitled After the Middle Passage: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865. The program focused on the U.S. domestic slave trade and spoke to New Orleans’ role as the largest slave market in antebellum America. It was presented by historian Erin Greenwald, Vice-President of Content at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Curator of the Historic New Orleans Collection’s Purchased Lives. To complement the presentation, the Historic New Orleans Collection provided its Purchased Lives traveling exhibit. The impeccably designed exhibit consisted of 5 banners with front and back representations of artwork, documents, artifacts, and other materials unique to the American slave trade. The program was well-attended by attorneys, state and federal judges, and other members of the legal community. The court thanks the following agencies and organizations that helped plan the event: GNO Louis A. Martinet Society, Association for Women Attorneys, Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Bar Association, EDLA Federal Public Defender’s Office, EDLA United States Attorney’s Office, and EDLA United States Probation Office.
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News & Announcements
Check this page, or the News and Announcements box on the homepage, for the latest official news and announcements released by the court. You can also access archived news and announcements from this page.
March 2, 2020
February 5, 2020
REGISTRATION CLOSED! - U.S. District Court-EDLA presents an African American History Month event entitled, “After the Middle Passage: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865,” Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 12:00 pm, Courtroom 501, No Charge, 1-Hour CLE Credit, Lunch provided.
January 21, 2020
William Blevins, Clerk of U.S. District Court Returned Home to Richmond, Virginia, after over 6 years of service in Eastern District of Louisiana*
Hard-working, highly organized, extremely knowledgeable, disciplined, and experienced, all are attributes of William (“Bill”) Blevins who served as the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for Eastern District of Louisiana (“EDLA”) from May, 2013, when he was selected to be the Clerk following the retirement of Loretta Whyte, until January, 2020. During his over six and one-half year tenure in the Eastern District of Louisiana, Bill’s leadership and skilled management moved the Clerk’s Office forward in such diverse areas as Information Technology/Systems, Financial Administration and Budget, Shared Administrative Services, and Operations. He worked with three Chief Judges in the Eastern District of Louisiana, including current Chief Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, who became Chief Judge in 2018, District Judge Sarah S. Vance who served as Chief Judge from 2008 to 2015, and who was serving as Chief Judge when Bill was appointed Clerk of Court in 2013, and Circuit Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, formerly EDLA District Judge and EDLA Chief Judge from 2015 to 2018. During Bill’s long and distinguished career with the Judiciary, he has served as the Chief Deputy Clerk for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, and for the twelve years preceding his term in the Eastern District of Louisiana, Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida. A native of Norfolk, Virginia, and former resident of Richmond, Virginia, Bill earned both a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of Richmond. Bill and his wife, Malinda, have four adult children. On January 6, 2020, Bill returned home to Richmond, Virginia, where many members of his and his wife’s family reside, to serve as the Chief Deputy Clerk of Operations for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Bill shepherded to successful completion an astonishing number of updates, upgrades, new projects, initiatives, transitions and changes, touching virtually every unit in the operations, technological, and administrative areas of the office. He was responsive to the requests and needs of the judges but also implemented programs to meet staff needs. He provided superb mentoring and advice to his staff and deeply cared about the court and doing the very best job that he could. He and his family became true New Orleanians, participating fully in the unique culture of our city. We wish him the very best as he and Malinda move back home to Virginia. He will be sorely missed. (*A full length version of this article is featured in the current (Winter 2020, Vol. 29, No. 2) issue of the New Chapter of the Federal Bar Association’s Advocate.)
January 9, 2020
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is pleased to announce the selection of Donna Phillips Currault as Magistrate Judge for the District, subject to completion of a standard background check. Ms. Currault graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University School of Law in 1989 and was inducted to the Order of the Coif. While in law school, she was a member of the Tulane Law Review and served as a managing editor from 1988-89. She also served as a Senior Fellow for Tulane Law School’s Legal Research and Writing program. After graduating law school, she served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Morey L. Sear. Ms. Currault comes to the Court from Gordon, Arata, Montgomery Barnett, LLC, where she has worked for almost 30 years as an associate and then partner/member. Her practice includes complex commercial litigation matters, including class and collective actions, as well as labor and employment matters. She is an active member of the Federal Bar Association and its New Orleans Chapter, having served as Chair of the FBA’s Labor & Employment Section in 2015-16 and on the New Orleans Chapter’s Board of Directors since 2002 where she currently serves at the Recording Secretary. In September 2019, she was elected to serve as a Director of the Foundation of the FBA, where she is Life Fellow. She is also a Fellow of the American and Louisiana Bar Foundations and Litigation Counsel of America. She currently serves as the Examiner for Code I for the Louisiana Committee on Bar Examinations.
January 9, 2020
Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 83.2.2(D), every attorney admitted to practice before the Eastern District of Louisiana must pay an annual fee which is collected every third year. Commencing January 1, 2020, the Court will collect triennial dues of $45.00 ($15.00 per year for 2020, 2021 and 2022) from all attorneys admitted to this Court's bar. No later than March 1, 2020, all attorneys admitted to the bar of this Court will be required to pay their triennial attorney's dues electronically. Instructions on electronic payment of dues can be found here. On November 12, 2019, the Eastern District of Louisiana implemented CM/ECF NextGen and since that date, to file in CM/ECF attorneys must have linked their CM/ECF account to their individual PACER account. Instructions on linking can be found here.
January 8, 2020
On January 6, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana appointed Carol L. Michel as Clerk of Court, succeeding William W. Blevins. Mr. Blevins, who is from Richmond, Virginia, served as Clerk of Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana from May 2013 until January, 2020. He accepted a position as the Chief Deputy of Operations for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. Ms. Michel, a native of New Orleans, received a B.A. from Southeastern Louisiana University and a J.D. from Tulane University School of Law, and is a member of the Louisiana Bar Association. She served for several years as a career judicial law clerk for U.S. District Judge Marcel Livaudais, Jr., and for U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk. Ms. Michel worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana for nine years. Ms. Michel was the Chief Deputy Clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from September, 2013, until her appointment as Clerk of Court.
January 7, 2020
On December 19, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana held a naturalization ceremony in which 53 candidates were naturalized as United States citizens. The Honorable Dana M. Douglas, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, presided over the ceremony. Candidates originated from 31 different countries, exemplifying the truly diverse character of the American people. Attorney Brandon Davis served as the keynote speaker. In his speech, Attorney Davis called on candidates to “move on to the hard work of active citizenship” and described America as “a place where we can be a part of something bigger, a place where we can contribute our talents and fulfill our ambitions and secure new opportunity for ourselves and for others, a place where we can retain pride in our heritage but where we can recognize that we have a common creed, a loyalty to these documents, a loyalty to our democracy, where we can criticize our government but understand that we love it, where we agree to live together even when we don’t agree with each other, where we work through the democratic process and not through violence or sectarianism to resolve disputes, where we live side by side as neighbors, and where our children know themselves to be a part of this nation, no longer strangers, but the bedrock of this nation, the essence of this nation.” Following Attorney Davis’s moving and heartfelt speech, the candidates announced their names and countries of origin and swore allegiance to the United States, thereby becoming United States citizens. After the ceremony, the New Orleans Chapter of the League of Women Voters provided new citizens with voter registration applications, encouraging them to take advantage of their newly minted right to vote. Ceremony photographs may be accessed by selecting this link.(Part A, Part B)
December 12, 2019
Federal employees stationed in the U.S. District Courthouse-Hale Boggs Federal Building celebrated the season of giving by donating toys to children living in homeless shelters in and around the New Orleans area. Over 196 toys were collected from federal employees, including board games, dolls, sports gear, and art supplies. These toys will be presented at the Annual Forgotten Angels Christmas Party hosted by Ozanam Inn on Monday, December 23rd. This is the 11th year that federal employees stationed in the U.S. District Courthouse-Hale Boggs Federal Building have donated toys to New Orleans homeless youth. The effort is organized by Judge Jay Zainey and toys and other donations are collected by Steve Munster.
December 2, 2019
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Holds 2nd Biennial Bench and Bar Conference
On October 25, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana held its 2nd Biennial Bench and Bar Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown New Orleans. Approximately 500 members of the Eastern District’s bench and bar were in attendance. Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown opened the conference. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon followed the opening with a dedication to retired U.S. District Judge Helen “Ginger” Berrigan. U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey honored U.S. District Judge Peter Beer, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby followed by honoring retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles and retiring U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson. Afterwards, Chief Judge Brown acknowledged the contributions which various bar presidents made in planning the conference. These bar presidents included Cory Vidal, former president of the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, Jason Waguespack, president of the New Orleans Bar Association, and W. Raley Alford, III, former president of the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. In addition, both U.S. 5th Circuit Judge Carl Stewart and U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance were honored - Judge Stewart for his service as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge Vance for her service as Chair of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. After the conference opening, attendees received instruction on a variety of civil and criminal law topics, including A Primer on Attorney Discipline in the Eastern District (Eva Dossier and Darren Patin), A View from the New Kids on the Bench (U.S. District Judges Barry Ashe, Greg Guidry, and Wendy Vitter and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Grabill), an Introduction and Conversation with Priscilla Owen, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown and Chief U.S. 5th Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen), Criminal Advocacy and Sentencing (U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, Federal Public Defender Claude Kelly, U.S.S.C. Deputy Director Alan Dorhoffer, and U.S.A.O. Chief of Trials Bill McSherry), U.S. Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Updates (W. Raley Alford, III, Jason Waguespack, Southern Law School Vice Chancellor Shawn Vance, Tulane Law School Professor Stephen Griffin, and LSU Law School Professor Maggie Thomas), Settlement Conferences (U.S. Magistrate Judges Janis van Meerveld, Michael North, and Karen Wells Roby), The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Grabill, Mark Mintz, Leo Congeni, Cherie Nobles, and Timothy Kirkpatrick), Procedural Aspects of Disability & Medicare Appeals (Jason Waguespack, DHH Associate Chief Administrative Law Judge Tamia Gordon, SSA Administrative Law Judge Jeffery Morgan, and Wiebke Breuer), and ABC’s of Multidistrict Litigation (U.S. District Judges Carl Barbier, Eldon Fallon, and Jane Triche Milazzo, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael North, Kim Moore, and Gerald Meunier). In addition, attendees were treated to a riveting and thought-provoking lunchtime presentation on Evidence-Based Sentencing given by retired U.S. District Judge and Harvard Law Professor Nancy Gertner.
November 27, 2019
Judicial Delegation from the Republic of Georgia Visits the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
From September 8 – 12, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana hosted a delegation of criminal court judges from the Republic of Georgia. The purpose of the delegation’s visit was to observe criminal proceedings and engage in discussions to gain insight into the innerworkings of the United States’ criminal justice system. Visiting judges included Lela Nozadze, Ketevan Jatchvadze, Nino Tarashvili, and Levan Darbaidze. The delegation was accompanied by United States Embassy staff members, Judicial Resident Legal Advisor Kevin Burke, Staff Attorney Ekaterine Popkhadze, and Interpreter Maia Zaridze. Highlights of the delegation’s visit included meeting with Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, Federal 5th Circuit Appellate Judge Stephen Higginson, Federal Public Defender Claude Kelly, First Assistant United States Attorney Michael Simpson, United States Probation Officer Veronica Ramirez, United States Marshal Scott Illing, Judicial Security Inspector Andrew Conklin, and District Judge Case Manager Supervisor James Crull. In addition, the delegation observed criminal proceedings presided over by Chief U.S. District Judge Brown as well as U.S. District Judge Greg Guidry, U.S. Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld, and Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich.