“Lawyer

We end the third year since Katrina with more lawyers shoveling smoke in Mississippi than in any other state – certainly on a per capita basis, if not by actual count. The question yet to be answered is “Where’s the fire?”

Katrina left over 60,000 Mississippi families homeless. One of those happened to be the family of a man the Wall Street Journal has called the King of Torts. To those on the Coast slabbed first by Katrina and then by their insurance provider, he was known as Dickie, King of Hope

Now, he has lawyers; his son has lawyers, his associate has lawyers and there is no longer a group of lawyers known as the Scruggs Katrina Group – and all are shoving smoke blown their way by a lawyer named Balducci – reportedly working for either Scruggs or SKG – who made what can only be called a significant error in judgment by either attempting to bribe a judge or confessing to such. There’s still too much smoke to tell exactly which it was; but, under all that smoke is a case filed against Scruggs by a group of lawyers that were associated with the Katrina Group. Now they have lawyers, too.

We’ve got such a booming lawyer business going here that our Insurance Commission picked up the tab for lawyers to represent State Farm when SKG deposed a member of the Department’s staff on matters related to claims filed by State Farm policy holders. The Commissioner had to get approval to pay State Farm’s lawyers from the Attorney General who has lawyers of his own because State Farm is suing him – remember Mississippi is the Hospitality State. Come to find out, that what we got for our money was a State Farm lawyer telling the man, “Don’t answer that”.

In light of that shovel full of smoke, it’s hard to believe that State Farm has now filed a suit to make Scruggs “answer that” – at least, they’re paying their own lawyers this time. If you’re confused, don’t be ashamed. The judge got so confused he couldn’t tell whose interest Scruggs was representing. It seems like he could have asked; but, at Ground Zero, points of law and common sense can be two entirely different matters.

We don’t shovel smoke here at the Mississippi Insurance Forum. Our purpose is to blow all the smoke away and see if there’s any fire under the hot tin roof that’s smoldering down here – and that would be Tennessee Williams and not John Gresham, by the way. Stay tuned for more and Happy New Year.

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