There may not be a more unsung profession in Louisiana than the crawfish farmer. Without them, none of those spring crawfish boils that are a staple of Louisiana life happen. Patrick C. Morrow, founder and senior partner of Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik in Opelousas, helped secure a major victory for local crawfish farmers in 2004.
While Morrow has worked many rewarding cases in a distinguished 46-year career as a lawyer, he fondly remembers his work in a class action lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana crawfish farmers. The farmers were adversely affected by the use of the pesticide Icon in South Louisiana rice fields. Those fields were close to the crawfish ponds and the pesticide killed many crawfish.
Morrow helped argue the case before a jury in St. Landry Parish. Before the case could reach the jury, the two sides agreed on a settlement for approximately $45 million. This helped the crawfish community recoup their losses.
Deciding whether or not to accept a settlement or proceed to a jury verdict is a tricky process. Morrow likened it to a “cat and mouse game.”
Each client has an individual target and each case has its individual variables.
Helping people is what has made the work rewarding for Morrow. Most of his career has been spent at the firm he founded.
“There are more and more regulations and red tape against the blue collar worker. Someone needs to stand up for their rights,” Morrow said.
“It’s still a good feeling after all these years.”
The 70-year-old Morrow, who earned his law degree from LSU, said the increasing red tape and paperwork is one way the profession has changed during his career. What could be done verbally 30 to 40 years ago now needs to be put in writing.
Morrow appreciates that his firm is a family business. Morrow’s son, P. Craig Morrow, is also a partner in the firm. The father-and-son duo of Richard T. Haik Sr. and Richard T. Haik,Jr. are also partners. Partner Jeffrey Bassett practices with his son, Taylor. Partner James P. Ryan practices with his daughter, Kathleen.