“The future ain’t what it use to be” for Richard “Dickie” Scruggs UPDATED with links to Motions in Limine

-but, then again, it ain’t over ’til it’s over ; and, according to a recent status report on the tangled web of legal cases, it’s not going to be over any time soon.

When famed Oxford litigator Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, his son Zach and their legal associate Sidney Backstrom are sentenced on July 2, only part of a complicated legal drama will be resolved…

it’s tough to make predictions, particularly about the future – but the prediction there’s more to come is as certain as the sun coming up in the morning. In fact, it appears State Farm filed a Response to the Scrugges recent Motion shortly after sunrise today.

Obviously, they’re having a little trouble grasping the concept of Scruggses as non-parties; but, that they are. Notheless, State Farm drags up rulings Judge Walker made when the Scrugges were parties in McIntosh v State Farm as the centerpiece of the kiss-up-to-the-judge strategy that shapes their response.

State Farm respectfully submits this response in opposition to the Scruggses’ objections (Doc. 1201) to Magistrate Judge Walker’s May 15, 2008 Order (Doc. 1194) compelling the production of certain documents. These objections follow in the wake of the Scruggses’ earlier objections to Judge Walker’s December 11, 2007 Order (Doc. 911) that denied a motion to quash their depositions, in response to which this Court issued its January 9, 2008 Order (Doc. 988), allowing their depositions to go forward following the resolution of the document issues by Judge Walker. On January 9, 2008, Judge Walker also issued an Order (Doc. 989) setting forth a process for the resolution of those issues, which were then robustly addressed by all interested persons and carefully decided by Judge Walker…

…Time and again, the Scrugges merely, but impermissibly, advance arguments that invite this Court to second guess Judge Walker’s carefully considered and carefully drawn ruling.

In addition to State Farm’s Response, today’s early bird special also includes a letter to the Court from Renfroe attorney Hunter Twiford – a to-do list for Judge Walker, so to speak, including prompts for Walker to give Judge Senter a reminder about two previous motions submitted in Limine!

Any valid points made by either State Farm or Renfroe aside, there’s just no other way to spin the Response and Letter filed today: they want the Court to make Scruggs give them what they’ve asked for – admissible or not – and the McIntosh family in court without the admissible evidence and witness needed to prove their case, not just without the Rigsby sisters.

However, you can bet your last nickel that some will try to put a what-is-Scruggs-hiding spin on it. Of course, a nickel’s not worth a dime any more – and the future ain’t what it use to be for Richard “Dickie” Scruggs even if it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

9 thoughts on ““The future ain’t what it use to be” for Richard “Dickie” Scruggs UPDATED with links to Motions in Limine”

  1. These motions in limine are hysterical! Ie., (I mean they practically have to admit to guilt to file these.)

    State Farm anticipates that at trial Plaintiffs may seek to introduce evidence of State Farm’s conduct in other states in an attempt to confuse and prejudice the jury and enlarge the amount of any potential punitive damages award. Such evidence should be excluded because, as the United States Supreme Court has held, a state may not, consistent with due process, impose punitive damages to punish or deter conduct by a defendant that occurred in other states.

  2. …and, then again, belle, if the purpose is to establish a pattern, it becomes an entirely different matter and the Supreme Court doesn’t object to that at all – and punitive damages pale by comparison.

  3. To understand why SF wants their prior bad behavior excluded is to understand the McIntosh case. For those without a local knowledge the answer is on Rossmiller’s blog and it’s not the post Scruggs revisionist history of the case being put forth now that the second report was somehow the right one.

    You have to go back to when Brian Martin from Gene Taylor’s office took Rossmiller at his word that he was actually impartial and tried to educate him with some facts such as the first report being based on eyewitness accounts of the events (that actually matched the damage pattern), the fact Lecky King threatened to fire forensic after that first report and how the second report was based on an interview of a yard man who was cleaning up the property several weeks after and was not there when Katrina hit. Of course there will be the testimony of Forensic themselves and it won’t be flattering to SF.

    Against that backdrop I figure the reason why SF refuses to address this case instead using it to perform backdoor discovery on the False Calims Act case is because they know they’ve lost it. However, to get their money’s worth from the large judgement that is coming in McIntosh they are using it trying to stop the big hit that may come their way in FCA.

    Will Walker and Senter continue to indulge SF’s Scruggs fantasy since it is not relevant to the facts in the case at hand? Given the rate at which their bad decisions have been reversed by the 5th Circuit one can only wonder but you’d think at some point they’d figure out the case is called McIntosh v State Farm, not State Farm v Scruggs.


  4. I still don’t see how Judge Senter can sit back and deny justice to this case by not letting the Rigsbys testify’, just amazing. I think Senter is so blinded by Scruggs that can not see this case. One more item for those who loathe Dickie Scruggs, looks like his tobacco money is going to help fund the Mississippi State budget AGAIN. Thanks for the site.

  5. Me either, duesouth, but I’ve just loaded a Motion for Reconsideration filed by the two Missouri firms that should take the blinders off Judge Senter given the content of the supporting memo and five exhibits. It leaves no doubt about their knowledge of the money paid the Rigsby sisters and spells out a compelling contrast between the effort they made – they including Scruggs btw – and the late and lesser effort of others. No assumption, just facts that give him a powerful reason to reconsider.

  6. Your most welcome Duesouth. Given the number of visits we get from Ocean Springs certainly the sisters know they have a friend here at slabbed.

    To steal a line from Nowdy we’re here to give a voice to the slabbed and those who help us seek justice. And we’ll be here for the slabbed every step of the way.


  7. Last night WLOX gave credit to Mike Moore for the Mississippi tobacco fund money, kinda burns my behind. I guess they can’t say anything good about Scruggs. I wonder what the chances of Chip Merlin holding out for a trial with State Farm rather than the usual undisclosed settlement.

  8. I don’t know about chances of settlement in McIntosh but the Rigsby sisters’ decision was heavily influenced by their high regard for the McIntosh family and given the price those young women are paying, I hope the McIntosh family will take their case to trial.

    As to WLOX ignoring the credit due Scruggs, maybe advertising revenue played a role. Otherwise, they need to remember the rule of never believing your own press!

  9. A good lawyer will always settle if the result is good for the client, especially in light of the risks of going to trial. That calculus would be dependent on the amount of money being offered and the relative strength of the case.

    On one hand insurers have not wanted to take on Chip in the courtroom here in Mississippi prefering to settle his cases. The rumor on the 103 cases he settled with State Farm is that policies were tendered in full plus fees were paid. An offer like that would be hard to turn down as a litigant or lawyer I suspect.

    On the other hand, in bad faith cases the value of the claim becomes far harder to estimate. SF sometimes shows a willingness to litigate those cases to the bitter end and then appeal them to death rather than pony up extra up front.

    The wildcard is the McIntoshs themselves. If it were me in their shoes and I had been treated badly by both the system and my insurer I’m pretty certain I’d take my chances with a jury. The fact neither they nor the RICO litigants have gone away to this point gives us a clue to their mindset.

    The only thing we can do is watch and wait.


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