Mississippi lawyer squabble

A reader characterizes:

I admit I get a perverse pleasure when I see the sharks feeding on each other. But this is just too good. Lawyer Luckey gets caught altering dates on asbestos claims, gets fired by Scruggs for altering the dates but then has the chutzpah to demand his cut of the contingency fee loot… and the judge gives it to him! I guess no one ever thought any disciplinary actions on anyone’s part was needed or indicated.

And it’s even sillier than that: the bulk of the damages appears to be for tobacco claims the partnership financed after Luckey was kicked out in 1993, triggering twelve years of litigation. Magistrate Judge Jerry Davis of the federal court in Oxford, Mississippi, awarded $13 million plus attorneys’ fees; the parties appear to have cut a deal so that there will be no appeal. (Leesha Faulkner (!), “Scruggs slapped with $13M settlement over partnership”, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Jul. 22). More on Richard “Dickie” Scruggs: Jun. 15, Apr. 30. This appears to be the culmination of the fight that resulted in subpoenas to the Mississippi Supreme Court over Scruggs’s alleged influence there; at the time, Scruggs pooh-poohed the allegations, arguing that the dispute was only worth a few thousand dollars, and therefore not something worth risking improper influence over. (Jerry Mitchell, “Attorney testifies in justice probe”, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, May 17, 2003; “Lawyer, Former Colleagues Dispute Fees”, AP/Biloxi Herald, Mar. 27, 1998). Alwyn Luckey represents approximately 1500 Mississippi silicosis plaintiffs, so his troubles may not be over. (Updated from Jul. 23 post.)

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