Conflicts of interest could disqualify yet another set of attorneys attempting to represent six Jackson water customers in their bid to block the city from shutting off water services for nonpayment.
Recently, attorneys Carlos Moore and James Bryant notified the Hinds County Chancery Court that they would be representing the customers in the case. The attorneys are with the Cochran Firm, which has offices in Jackson.
After that notice was filed, the city filed a motion to disqualify the counsel, arguing that Winston Thompson, an attorney with the same firm is representing Jackson in its related case against Siemens Industry.
“In short, one set of the Cochran Firm attorneys are suing a client of the Cochran firm represented by another lawyer in a substantially similar matter," city attorneys write.
The similar matter is Jackson's suit against Siemens. Jackson is suing Siemens Industry and its subcontactors for complications related to a $90 million energy performance contract. The city is seeking $225 million in damages.
That case was filed in Hinds County Circuit Court this summer.
Citing details in that matter, six customers filed suit in the chancery court asking the judge to block the city from turning off water for nonpayment.
Complainants include Alex Allen Jr., LaTrenda Funches, Joseph Johnson Jr., Kenneth Mabry, Barbara Evans and Village Cleaners.
According to the chancery court filings, the plaintiffs all have “outstanding water bills varying in amounts from $900 to $34,461.”
Those parties were initially represented by Pieter Teeuwissen, Anthony Simon and Jeffrey Graves.
However, Grove disqualified the attorneys in early September, citing several conflicts.
Teewissen, who was city attorney from 2009 and 2013, during the time Siemens was hired. Simon served as bond counsel for Jackson, helping it obtain funding to pay for the Siemens contract.