Posts Tagged ‘Dickie Scruggs’

July 10 roundup

  • Jury rejects Jamie Leigh Jones rape claim against Halliburton/KBR. Next, a round of apologies from naive commentators and some who used the case to advance anti-arbitration talking points? [WSJ; Ted Frank/PoL and more; WSJ Law Blog (plaintiff’s lawyers sought shoot-the-moon damages)]
  • Time magazine vs. James Madison on constitutional law (spoiler: Madison wins) [Foster Friess via Ira Stoll]
  • Andrew Trask reviews new Curtis Wilkie book on the Dickie Scruggs scandal;
  • “Right to family life” evolution in human rights law deters UK authorities from deporting various bad actors [Telegraph]
  • Paging Benjamin Barton: How discovery rules enrich the legal profession at the expense of the social good [PoL]
  • USDA heeds politics, not science, on genetic crops [Henry Miller/Gregory Conko, PDF, Cato Institute Regulation]
  • “Legal Questions Raised by Success of Monkey Photographer” [Lowering the Bar]

June 24 roundup

  • “Law Prof Threatens Suit over University’s Plan to Reinstitute Single-Sex Dorms” [ABA Journal, WSJ Law Blog; John Banzhaf vs. Catholic U. in Washington, D.C.]
  • Mississippi: Dickie Scruggs files motion to vacate conviction in Scruggs II (DeLaughter case) [Freeland, YallPolitics] Before defending Paul Minor’s conduct in cash-for-judges scandal, review the evidence [Lange, YallPolitics and more]
  • Woman who filmed cop from own yard charged with obstructing his administration of government [BoingBoing]
  • East St. Louis, Ill. jury awards $95 million in sexual harassment, assault case against Aaron’s rental chain [ABA Journal]
  • Connecticut unions demand investigation of conservative Yankee Institute think tank [Public Sector Inc.]
  • “Court Upends $1.75M Award, Finding Plaintiff Lawyer’s Remarks Prejudicial” [NJLJ]
  • Hold it! San Francisco debates bathroom rights for schoolkids [C.W. Nevius, SF Chronicle]

David Rossmiller on the Dickie Scruggs scandal

David Rossmiller, whose blog provided some of the most penetrating analysis of the Dickie Scruggs judicial corruption scandal of 2007-08, has now penned a review of one of the books to emerge from the scandal, “Kings of Tort” by Alan Lange and Tom Dawson. Rossmiller, an Oregon lawyer, also has some kind words for my book The Rule of Lawyers, published a few years earlier, which lays out the background for the scandal by showing how once-obscure plaintiff’s lawyers in states like Mississippi, working with courts known for “home cooking” and in alliance with local political figures, had begun redistributing billions of dollars in big-ticket litigation from tobacco and asbestos on down. [Mississippi College Law Review PDF via Insurance Coverage Blog; related here and here]

August 19 roundup

  • Judge bans $1.35 billion sugar beet crop for lack of environmental impact statement [NY Times]
  • Brennan Center, Justice at Stake attracting attention with new report on money in state court judicial races [report in PDF, Kang/ConcurOp]
  • Obama signs “libel tourism” bill into law [Levy, CL&P]
  • “Zach Scruggs claims new evidence clears him” [Patsy Brumfield, NE Mississippi Daily Journal via YallPolitics]
  • Second Circuit panel blasts 1980s abuse-accusation panic in ruling on Friedman case [opinion via NYT and Bernstein/Volokh]
  • Famed Cincinnati lawyer Stanley Chesley may face disciplinary action before Kentucky bar over role in fen-phen scandal [Courier-Journal via Dan Fisher and PoL]
  • Sexual harassment verdict against California casino “amounts to 2/3 of the company’s net worth” [Fox, Jottings]
  • Every White House needs to hire some partisan brawlers. But with “ethics czar” duties? [Matt Welch, Reason]

Get that anti-Scruggs blogger! Get him!

During the long series of scandals that brought down former tort potentate Richard (“Dickie”) Scruggs, of tobacco-asbestos-Katrina-mass tort fame, no blogger achieved the status of “must” reading more consistently than David Rossmiller of Insurance Coverage Blog. Now Alan Lange of Mississippi site YallPolitics (and co-author of Kings of Tort, a book on the scandal) has posted a massive document dump of emails between the Scruggs camp and its public relations agency, as made public in later litigation (see also). It shows the principals:

* boasting of their success in manipulating major media outlets to inflict bad publicity on the targets of Scruggs’s suits;

* plotting ways of striking back against critics — in particular, Rossmiller — with tactics including going after him with legal process, as well as creating fake commenters and whole blogs to sow doubt about his reporting;

* wondering who they might pay to secure “Whistleblower of the Year” awards, or something similar, for their clients;

* apparently oblivious, just days before the fact, as to how the ceiling was going to cave in on them because of Judge Henry Lackey’s willingness to go to law enforcement to report a bribe attempt from the Scruggs camp.

The whole set of documents, along with Rossmiller’s summary and reaction, really must be seen to be believed. It will easily provide hours of eye-opening reading, both for those who followed the Scruggs affair in particular, and for everyone interested in how ambitious lawyers manipulate press coverage to their advantage — and how they can seek to use the law against their blogger critics. (& welcome readers from and Victoria Pynchon’s “On the Docket” column there).

June 24 roundup

  • “IP Lawyer Who Spotted Expired Patent on Solo Cup Lid Loses Quest for Trillions in Damages” [ABA Journal, earlier on “false markings” suits here, here, etc.]
  • Like we’re surprised: Linda Greenhouse favors sentimental (“Poor Joshua!”) side in 1989 DeShaney case and hopes Elena Kagan does too [NYT Opinionator, my take a few years back]
  • Why is Le Monde in financial trouble? For one thing, firing a printing plant employee costs €466,000 [Frédéric Filloux, Monday Note via MargRev]
  • “Will these salt peddlers stop at nothing?” Michael Kinsley on NYT sodium-as-next-tobacco coverage [Atlantic Wire]
  • “‘Victim’ Gets $4.17 Coupon, Lawyers Get $10 Million Cash”: Expedia class action settlement [John Frith, California Civil Justice Blog]
  • Scruggs investigation finally over as feds drop probe of political operative P.L. Blake; several figures in Mississippi scandal are up for release soon from prison [Jackson Clarion Ledger]
  • $20 billion Gulf spill fund: “Oil Gushes and Power Rushes” [Sullum, Althouse]
  • “NYC Naked Cowboy to Naked Cowgirl: Stop copying me” [AP]

November 16 roundup

  • German law firm demands that Wikipedia remove true information about now-paroled murderers [EFF] More: Eugene Volokh.
  • “Class Actions: Some Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Fed Up, Too?” [California Civil Justice]
  • Drop that Irish coffee and back away: “F.D.A. Says It May Ban Alcoholic Drinks With Caffeine” [NYT]
  • Profile of L.A. tort lawyers Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi, now in hot water following Nicaraguan banana-pesticide scandal [The Recorder; my earlier outing on “Erin Brockovich” case]
  • Federalist Society panel on federalism and preemption [BLT]
  • Confidence in the courts? PriceWaterhouseCoopers would rather face Satyam securities fraud lawsuits in India than in U.S. [Hartley]
  • Allegation: Scruggs continuing to wheel and deal behind bars [Freeland]
  • Not much that will be new to longtime readers here: “Ten ridiculous lawsuits against Big Business” [Biz Insider] P.S.: Legal Blog Watch had more lists back in June.