The Sun Herald is reporting on Judge Bridges’s opinion in Lisanby v. USAA
Bridges’ decision came as a blow last week to attorneys for Adm. James Lisanby and his wife, Gladys, who won a judgment in court Friday against their insurer USAA for denying all but $46,000 of the Lisanbys’ claim that wind destroyed at least a third of their home. USAA said it was the storm’s surge, which is not covered under their homeowner policies.
Among the nearly $910,000 the jury awarded the Lisanbys was $86,000 each for mental distress and anxiety, which some thought should have opened the door for punitive damages.
In the opinion, Bridges found that USAA had an arguable basis for denying the claim, which is one of the tests, he listed. Continue reading “Judge Bridges: the negligence was not "gross"”
Sun Herald reporting
OXFORD –Zach Scruggs gets 14 months in prison for failing to report an attempt to influence a state court judge.
His father, Dickie Scruggs, was sentenced to the maximum 5 years in prison Friday for conspiring to bribe the judge. U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. presided over the case.
The son of powerful trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs will like his father will be headed off to prison next month, a federal judge ruled today.
Although federal prosecutors recommended probation, U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers sentenced Zach Scruggs, 33, to 14 months in prison and fined him $250,000 for having after-the-knowledge of a scheme to bribe a Lafayette County judge to get a favorable ruling in a legal fees dispute.
Continue reading “Breaking: Zach Scruggs gets 14 months in prison for failing to report an attempt to influence a state court judge (UPDATED)”
H/t to a reader for the story. Now we know State Farm gets to pummel the sisters for several more years before their claim that State Farm defrauded the taxpayers ever sees the light of day. Is it any wonder everyday people feel the concept of justice only applies to the wealthy and big business. I also get the feeling that 8 years of Bush and Cheney have virtually destroyed the effectiveness of the US Department of Justice. Carrie Johnson has the report:
More than 900 cases alleging that government contractors and drugmakers have defrauded taxpayers out of billions of dollars are languishing in a backlog that has built up over the past decade because the Justice Department cannot keep pace with the surge in charges brought by whistle-blowers, according to lawyers involved in the disputes.
The issue is drawing renewed interest among lawmakers and nonprofit groups because many of the cases involve the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rising health-care payouts, and privatization of government functions — all of which offer rich new opportunities to swindle taxpayers.
Since 2001, 300 to 400 civil cases have been filed each year by employees charging that their companies defrauded the government. But under the cumbersome process that governs these cases, Justice Department lawyers must review them under seal, and whistle-blowers routinely wait 14 months or longer just to learn whether the department will get involved. Continue reading “Good Job Brownie: The Washington Post Reports on Qui Tam Backlog in DC”
I was always a fan of the TV series Connections which would begin a historical odyssey of an event in the past and trace it’s impacts to a modern invention. Though not quite so rigorous we’ve taken a journey on slabbed exploring features of the insurance industry and it’s impacts across society, especially here in the post Katrina GO Zone. While I’ve always maintained our story is bigger one man in Dickie Scruggs I am reminded of the connections between the players here today such as Lisanby attorneys Don Barrett and Tom Thrash and State Farm to a debate over the judiciary and it’s impartiality when it comes to dispensing justice.
This story is frankly bigger than one post and includes stops across a variety of media from Slate Magaine to the New York Times. Slabbed’s first stop on this connection continuum began with Slate and it’s story of State Farm money at work in the Illinois Supreme Court.
Today I still find a certain irony this issue surfaced on the Op-Ed page of the Clarion Ledger Sunday in the aftermath of Dickie Scruggs being sentenced to 5 years in the pokey for bribing Judge Lackey. Of the many things Mr Scruggs said over the course of his career, “Magic Jurisdiction” was likely the phrase most often repeated. I never held his speech against him though as he was simply stating a fact, one that was also a problem in administering fair justice to all.
Yet four and a half years later unmistakable signs are appearing that Mississippi’s System of Justice, especially at the Supreme Court is still a bought and paid for proposition. The paymasters have indeed changed from trial lawyers to insurers, doctors and big business but the effect is the same in the denial of equal justice for all. We start with some excerpts of the column that started this earthquake and critical examination of what we have done by corporate defense lawyer Alex Alston: Continue reading “Tort Reform Earthquake at the Clarion Ledger: Mississippi Supreme Court, The Best Money Can Buy”
WLOX…on Wednesday, Zach Scruggs will stand before the same federal judge who recently sentenced his father to five years in prison for his role in a judicial bribery conspiracy…Prosecutors have recommended probation for the 34-year-old Zach Scruggs…It’s not clear if U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. will accept the recommended sentence…The judge has expressed disappointment in what he considered Zach Scruggs’ lack of remorse. (emphasis added)
Perhaps, it’s time to update Emily Post’s Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home with a chapter on etiquette for the indicted – one that includes the full text of the title quote. Continue reading “"Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean"”