On March 10 Judge Tess Stromberg signed the judgment “fixing the amount” of attorney’s fees and cost owed by Corey Orgeron to Clint Cointment, ten days shy of seven months after first taxing fees and costs, later determined to be $9,896.10, in open court. Nothing in the Clerk of Court’s online records indicates that Orgeron paid the amount, and appears to be avoiding the debt actually owed to the taxpayers of Ascension Parish who paid Cointment’s attorney. He can run, but he can’t hide (assuming Cointment’s lawyer, Diana Tonagel, pursues).
The Judgment, drafted by Tonagel, reads:
This matter came for hearing on the Motion to Tax Costs and Attorney’s Fees by defendant, Clint Cointment, in his official capacity as Ascension Parish President, and alleged official capacity as “Director of East Ascension Drainage Commission,” in response to the Petition for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief filed by plaintiff, Corey J. Orgeron, in his official capacity as Councilman, in his individual capacity, and in a representative capacity as to all other similarly situated members of the Council, held before the Court on February 16, 2022, with the following appearances:
Diana L. Tonagel, counsel for Clint Cointment;
Corey J. Orgeron, pro se
Considering the previous Judgment granting defendant’s Motion for Costs and Attorney’s fees entered September 23, 2021, and the applicable law and argument of the parties;
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that there be judgment in favor of Defendant, CLINT COINTMENT, in his official capacity as Ascension Parish President, and against Corey J. Orgeron, fixing the amount of $9,896.10, inclusive of costs, together with judicial interest until paid.
On August 20, 2021 Judge Stromberg ruled from the bench…
casting Orgeron for attorney’s fees and costs, but the written judgment reflecting those proceedings would not be signed until September 23.
To determine the amount, a second hearing was initially scheduled for October 19 but multiple continuances delayed it until February 16. Judge Stromberg ignored Orgeron’s pleas to dismiss the attorney fee/cost claims based upon Tonagel’s failure to present invoices and/or other proof of the fees incurred by Cointment (and paid from Ascension Parish Government funds) until four months had gone by.
Tonagel, in keeping with one of the Court’s local rules, forwarded her proposed judgment to Orgeron who opposed inclusion of the clause; “payable within ___ days of the signing of this Order.”
Tonagel contacted Orgeron about the proposed judgment on February 21 via email:
Attached please find a draft Order on the Motion to Tax Costs and Attorney’s fees. As the Judge instructed, we are supposed to discuss a reasonable time for payment. I proposed entering 90 days. However, I left it blank and will await your response. If you wish to discuss the order, please feel free to call.
Orgeron disagreed by email reply two days later, also threatening Tonagel with sanctions on February 23:
I have reviewed the proposed Judgment and believe the following to be an inaccurate account of the Judge’s ruling:
Inclusive of costs, payable within ___ days of this signing of the Order.
Please review your notes and, after doing so, remove the above content from the judgment. Any attempt to alter the terms of the court’s ruling will result in my seeking sanctions.
Demonstrating an attentiveness sorely lacking in this proceeding, Tonagel replied nine minutes later:
First, please do not threaten me with sanctions, as this is unprofessional. Secondly, your reply does not indicate what it is you feel is inaccurate. If you are referring to the blank, I’m allowing you the opportunity to suggest what you would feel is a reasonable timeframe. I don’t know what else you intend to object to regarding the cited verbiage. Please let me know, and I will make further revisions and submit it to you. Otherwise, I will submit it to the court with your vague response attached as your objection.
The court instructed the parties to discuss a reasonable timeframe for when the payment would be due. I gave you the courtesy of suggesting that time frame. Since you refused to respond, I will simply put in what I feel is appropriate. I will advise the court of your position.
To which Orgeron responded in 18 minutes:
The court indicated that it would not place a deadline for a payment date. Feel free to have the transcript prepped for your review.
As for being unprofessional, I believe you need to look in a mirror. The number of times you were unprofessional in court, verbally attacking me with false accusations and innuendos, please… It is obvious the sole reason for your continuance was your failure to abide with the court’s order, and the court granting you a pass following your passionate story doesn’t make it right. Trust me, I don’t look to you as a guide for professionalism in the legal arena.
Send in the judgment with the corrections or with my objections, either way. It is your behavior that will be scrutinized in the end.
Corey Orgeron accusing another of unprofessionalism…Diana Tonagel was not ordered to pay his attorney’s fees and court costs. She did close the correspondence on February 23:
The court instructed the parties to discuss a reasonable timeframe for when the payment would be due. I gave you the courtesy of suggesting that timeframe. Since you refused to respond, I will simply put in what I feel is appropriate. I will advise the court of your position.
We have a suggestion.
Set the rule for Corey Orgeron’s Judgment Debtor Examination, then seize sufficient of his assets to satisfy the monetary debt he owes to Ascension Parish taxpayers. The debt he owes Ascension citizens for having so disgraced them and his office is incalculable.
That bill comes due on October 14, 2023 when District 4’s electorate rids Ascension Parish of this embarrassment.