Justice System

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and the Sulphur engineering firm Meyer and Associates reached an undisclosed settlement Tuesday in a breach-of-contract suit the firm filed against the tribe more than 10 years ago.

The two parties discussed the specifics of the settlement with Judge Clayton Davis behind closed doors. The settlement avoided a scheduled jury trial.

In 2002, members of the Coushatta Tribal Council and Richard Meyer, vice president of Meyer and Associates, first discussed the possibility of building an electric-power generation plant to serve the casino in Kinder, the tribe and customers on the open market. Both parties entered into an agreement in which Meyer would provide consulting services to the tribe on the project.

The council in 2004 negotiated a termination penalty increase amid concerns about the project’s feasibility. It increased how much money the tribe would have to pay Meyer and Associates if the project was terminated.

During a June 2005 meeting, the Tribal Council decided to suspend the project at the request of Tribal Chairman Kevin Sickey to allow for further investigation.

Meyer and Associates filed a lawsuit in 2006 alleging the tribe breached a contract for “various professional services.” The engineering firm sought contractual damages, attorney fees and court costs.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal last February vacated a judgement awarding $16.6 million in damages, fees and court costs to Meyer and Associates from the Coushatta Tribe. The decision referred the case to the trial court, where the settlement was reached.

Michael Reese Davis, an attorney representing Meyer and Associates, said he was pleased with the settlement.

“A settlement is always good in that you have closure,” he said.

Richard Meyer, along with Steven Dupuis, an attorney representing the Coushatta, declined to comment.