Posts Tagged ‘HMOs’

Scruggs scandal update: sweet potatoes by the acre

Some developments of the past ten days or so:

* In major blow to defense, Judge Biggers denies motions to suppress wiretap evidence and evidence of similar bad acts [Rossmiller]

* Balducci says he and Patterson got $500K from Scruggs to influence AG Hood to drop indictment of State Farm, motive being to advance civil settlement [Folo]

* WSJ gets into the act with some highlights of wiretap transcripts [edit page; earlier here]

* Sen. Trent Lott says he’s a witness, not a target, of federal investigation [Anita Lee, Biloxi Sun-Herald]

* Scruggs off the hook on Alabama criminal contempt charge [WSJ law blog, Rossmiller, Folo]

* “Mr. Blake has served for many years as a conduit and a layer of separation, if you will, between Mr. Scruggs and other people on sensitive issues.” (Balducci transcript highlights, Folo; more)

* In effort to get Zack Scruggs indictment dismissed, his lawyers dwell on switch from “y’all” to “you” as implying shift in persons addressed from plural to singular [Folo first, second; Rossmiller first, second; on a “sweet potatoes” point, NMC @ Folo and sequel; also]

* DeLaughter/Peters branch of scandal reaches deep into Jackson legal community [Adam Lynch, Jackson Free Press]

* Article in new American Lawyer notes that Scruggs’s ambitious suits have lately hit a big losing streak, notably those against HMOs, nonprofit hospitals and Lehman Brothers [Susan Beck]. And Lotus catches an interestingly lawyerly wording on John Keker’s part [Folo]

* I’m quoted and this site is discussed in an article on blog coverage of the case; my lack of clarity as an interviewee probably accounts for Scruggs being said to have addressed audiences at the Manhattan Institute “a few” times, when if memory serves the correct reference is “twice”. [Patsy Brumfield, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo) @ Folo]

* For more background see our Scandals page; also YallPolitics.

Heads I win, tails don’t count files: Ohio HMO suit

The US Supreme Court denied certiorari on United HealthCare’s attempt to enforce an arbitration agreement in its contracts with doctors who filed an Ohio class action over reimbursements. The underlying class action is essentially identical to one that a federal court threw out as meritless in July, though this isn’t mentioned in the television coverage, much less that from Bizarro-Overlawyered. The Class Action Fairness Act effectively ends this sort of Russian-roulette game where plaintiffs get multiple chances to win a gigantic class action by filing in multiple jurisdictions, but does not apply to class actions (like this one) filed before 2004.

The AMA has supported these lawsuits, which is disappointing, to be sure; as I noted on Point of Law in July, “Next time the AMA complains about the costs of excessive meritless litigation, they can perhaps look in the mirror.”

The plaintiffs’ attorney is Overlawyered favorite Stanley Chesley: see Jul. 4, Mar. 6, Aug. 24, 2005, et cetera.