SLABBED Daily – April 18

We may have to call this the weekend edition – but not for lack of news.

My “to do” list for SLABBED is full and as I can find time, I’ll be posting on and off all weekend.  One big item is adding the lastest filings in USA v Delaughter and a post explaining what these documents suggest about the direction of the case.  Another is an update on Road Home litigation and the implications that has for the insurance industry and Katrina litigation.

We do have an update from the Clarion Ledger on Attorney General Hood’s entry in the case the State Auditor filed against former attorney Joey Langston over the MCI legal fees.

State Attorney General Jim Hood will file a motion for summary judgment within 10 days asking Circuit Judge Winston Kidd to rule against state Auditor Stacey Pickering in the case. Pickering will then have 10 days to respond.

As suspected and mentioned in the SLABBED Daily, Hood’s entry is related to the Constitutional issue of the Attorney General’s sole power to file lawsuits on behalf of the State.

Because this is a State court case,  access to court documents is difficult to impossible – a limitation that also applies to Wilson v Scruggs.  The Clarion Ledger has the latest on that story as well.

Dickie Scruggs, once Mississippi’s best-known litigator, owes millions in sanctions and punitive damages to former law partner Bob Wilson, Wilson’s attorneys argued Thursday.

Scruggs’ attorneys responded that the case can’t be disturbed because it is closed and because Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter ruled correctly in the matter.

After hearing arguments, Circuit Judge Al Johnson of Natchez said he will enter a written opinion in the case at a later time. Johnson was specially appointed to hear the case because the other Hinds County circuit judges recused themselves…

On Thursday, Wilson’s attorneys argued Scruggs should pay sanctions equal to the $15 million in legal fees from asbestos litigation they say Wilson was defrauded.

Scruggs’ civil attorney, Gerald Jacks of Cleveland, could not be reached for comment. He previously has noted that Scruggs’ lawsuit was settled.

Wilson settled with Scruggs for $3.9 million for attorney fees owed related to tobacco litigation.

You’ll find background on the case here and more about related events here and here.

Since its Saturday, I’ll add one story that holds a lot of personal interest.

Nearly 100 students, alumni and spectators today at the University of Mississippi listened to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Hank Klibanoff urge more community involvement in catching the person responsible for killing French journalist Paul Guihard in 1962…

A bench on the school campus was dedicated in Guihard’s honor. The memorial bench is located on the west side of Farley Hall, and has been nearly 5 years in the works. The dedication was in correlation with the Society of Professional Journalists chapter’s 100 year anniversary.

Though members of Guihard’s family weren’t able to attend the dedication, his brother, Alain, wrote an e-mailed statement saying his thoughts were in Oxford today for this “highly emotional moment.”

“It is amazing and gratifying, to see how mentalities have changed over the last 50 years,” Alain Guihard wrote from France. “In 1962, James Meredith had to be protected by the police to enter (Ole Miss), simply because he was black. In 2008, the American people have elected a black president. Isn’t that a good reason to be optimistic about the future?”

I lost touch with Hank Klibanoff after we both moved away “way back when” and was delighted, but not surprised, by the reference to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.  He’s also a great guy who left Jackson as a reporter and returned as the former editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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