One of the many unsolved mysteries of USA v Scruggs is the conflicting picture of Dick Scruggs – to some he is a man of unfailing generosity and to others he is one who consistently “short-changed” his partners. Perspective aside, no one denies that he fell to the bottom line – two guilty pleas and seven years of confinement – from fee disputes with former partners Jones and Wilson.
Yesterday’s post, Dick Scruggs and the Plea Tree, examined the history of plea agreements prior to the one revealed in federal court yesterday. Playing off the concept of descendants of a first generation illustrated by a family tree, Balducci went to the top of the Plea Tree.
The keen eye of CPA and blogging partner Sop discovered some found the graphic helpful and others did not; and, in that light, it seems important to examine the roots – thinking this time of a sweet potato and not a tree after linking to a most interesting post and set of links (h/t Alan @ Y’all) as well as the decisions of the Supremes that follow.
First, a little background on the sweet potato as a plant. Above the ground is an ornamental plant and below the roots with a tuberous root (that could be called the tap root, I suppose) the rich meat of a sweet potato.
…a crop plant whose large, starchy, sweet tasting tuberous roots are an important root vegetable… The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens
In other words, what is readily visible to the naked eye is actually a cover; but, if you dig beneath the surface you will find what’s fueling the growth above ground – and, in this case (USA v Scruggs AKA Scruggs v Merkel DBA Wilson v Scruggs), it appears one can literally put that thought in a pipe and smoke it as the ‘tater is tobacco – a slow growing ‘tater with an off-shoot of its root system extending to the first Wilson v Scruggs Supreme decision with former Supreme and current Chief Judge of the Federal District Court, North Mississippi District, Michael P. Mills, writing:
In 1984, Richard F. Scruggs and William Roberts Wilson, Jr. agreed to associate one another in a number of asbestos-related personal injury cases. Accordingly, they formed an intermediary corporation in 1985 known as Asbestos Group, P.A. In 1986, Asbestos Group hired Alwyn H. Luckey as a staff attorney.
In 1984, Merkel & Cocke (“Merkel”) was retained to pursue claims on behalf of the heirs of William H. Scott for injuries sustained by Scott as a result of his exposure to asbestos. Thereafter, Charles Merkel approached Wilson and discussed the possibility of associating him to assist with the technical aspects of the case. Wilson agreed to the association. Wilson then asked Luckey to work on the Scott case with him and Merkel. Continue reading “Plea Tree of Scruggs II has roots dating back to 1984 tangled in 1998 Coahoma County Chancery Court Decision”