Breaking: Zach Scruggs Pleads Guilty

Reportedly Zach Scruggs has plead to the charge of Misprision of felony. More details as they develop.

Update:

Here is the breaking news C-L Story:

OXFORD — Oxford lawyer Zach Scruggs — the son of Dickie Scruggs, Mississippi’s wealthiest trial lawyer — pleaded guilty today to failing to report a felony in connection with a judicial bribery scheme involving his father. Continue reading “Breaking: Zach Scruggs Pleads Guilty”

Buying the Judicial Process: Was Dickie Scruggs Simply Following the State Farm Model?

I was catching up with my reading on Sam Friedman’s blog and found his piece on Dickie Scruggs one of the more even handed blog treatments of this subject I have run across online. All the more interesting is that Friedman is an insurance guy and frankly is the last place one would expect to find the balance on this subject sought by Steve Eugster at Wikiscruggs. The reason Mr. Eugster has not found balance is because he has not looked in the right places.

Bellesouth for example was run off the anti-Scruggs/Jim Hood blogs because she dared to disagree with the party lines but neither fairness or balance were the goals at the sites where Belle previously posted. The reason I’ve always enjoyed reading Friedman is his even handed treatment of the subject matter; you can learn about the insurance business and not be subject to the hidden agendas of aspiring authors or non stop legal practice marketing and the industry pandering it entails.

So after Mr Friedman had his say on Dickie Scruggs the first comment to his entry from Insured Consumer was eye catching. Continue reading “Buying the Judicial Process: Was Dickie Scruggs Simply Following the State Farm Model?”

Miscellaneous other before I disappear back to “Taxland”

This has been one of those weeks insurance companies would love to forget. Since November 2007, Washington State voters overwhelmingly passed R-67, the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, Florida is trying to bar Allstate from doing business there, two executives at insurance giant Marsh and McLennan have been found guilty of price fixing, five executives at AIG and General Re were found guilty of fraud, Allstate was fined the $250,000 maximum in Louisiana for bait and switch policy cancellations and the GAO has exposed massive flaws and conflicts of interest in NFIP.

This week the pace has picked up with California finding Allstate has been overcharging for auto insurance there, Michigan’s legislature is moving to stop the use of credit scores in auto insurance underwriting, Senators Cochran and Wicker join Senators Landrieu and Vitter in placing holds on industry backed S. 2284, and Florida is moving to suspend American General Life Insurance’s license for violating Florida’s “Freedom to Travel Act”.  All in all this is not shaping up to be a good week for big insurance.

In other news AM called me and asked for help in publicizing Gene Taylor’s campaign website, especially the insurance reform page.  Gene was fighting for us on insurance issues long before it became fashionable in certain GOP circles but he still needs our help to have multi peril insurance enacted for us.  Please visit Gene’s website and click on the “Click here Become a Partner in Insurance Reform” hyperlink on the right side. Lobbying the Senate is the key; Gene and coastal people in this country need your help to make that promise a reality.

Clarion Ledger Editorial Reveals Behind the Scenes Politicing

I read today’s Clarion Ledger Op-Ed in support of HR 3121 and found some very interesting tidbits buried in the piece most notably that Senator’s Cochran and Wicker have joined Louisiana Senators Landrieu and Vitter in placing a senatorial hold on S. 2284, the re-authorization bill for the National Flood Insurance Program. As we previously noted, S. 2284 does not bring structural change to NFIP and does not contain the multi peril wind provisions found in HR 3121. While the old saying “better late than never” certainly applies to Senator Cochran and his newly found zeal to represent the interest of his coastal constituents we do appreciate both he and Senator Wicker joining the fight to solve our coastal insurance crisis. Continue reading “Clarion Ledger Editorial Reveals Behind the Scenes Politicing”

Mississippi Windpool Rates Going Down. Commissioner Chaney Makes Good on his promise to Coastal Residents

Today is a very busy news day with unrelated but very newsworthy items. The windpool premium reductions are one of a three news stories we are tracking related to Katrina issues, the other two being State Farm further restricting coverage in Alabama and the Hancock County press conference today involving Haley Barbour, Gene Taylor and Roger Wicker.

Yesterday afternoon we were greeted with breaking news that the Mississippi windpool was reducing rates for coastal residents.  I read today’s Sun Herald story and was reminded of Commissioner Chaney’s Insurance Forum on March 4. Though I have not recapped either that forum or Gene Taylor’s Issues+Answers lecture on February 29th as both were lost in the corporate tax shuffle I was reminded of a post I penned on the Yahoo! Allstate Message Board about Commissioner Chaney’s Forum when I read Anita Lee’s story today.

Mr Shumaker with the wind pool was also enlightening but also exhibited what is wrong with the current system. The wind pool was not created to be palatable for it’s members but neither was it created to hold wind insurance for people living in Pearl River County. I got the impression Mr Shumaker didn’t understand how much structural change has occurred in his market since 8-29-05. Continue reading “Mississippi Windpool Rates Going Down. Commissioner Chaney Makes Good on his promise to Coastal Residents”

Welcome to the party Senator Shelby…….

We at slabbed have been scratching our heads over Alabama Senator Dick Shelby’s opposition to the Senate companion of HR 3121, S. 2284 as residents in coastal Alabama face the same problems with wind insurance as their neighbors in Florida and Mississippi. Following the money reveals Senator Shelby is a big recipient of campaign ca$h from lawyers and insurance companies, the two main constituencies that actually benefit from the current dysfunctional system of wind-water peril coverage.

Scanning the news today reveals Senator Shelby’s home state of Alabama was just invited to the coastal residents need not apply party by the people over at State Farm.  Unbelievably it appears concepts like Hurricane Deductibles have been foreign ones for our neighbors to the east but no longer. This process of limiting coastal property coverage can take several years; in Mississippi it began after Hurricane Georges in 1998. Continue reading “Welcome to the party Senator Shelby…….”

Shows RICO Suit Lawsuit Against State Farm: Amendment Allowed

I noted this story in today’s Sun Herald along with some new case filings in the RICO case against State Farm. One of the recent rulings rejects State farm’s arguments against amending the complaint, especially their unsubstantiated charges of ethical breaches on part of the Katrina Litigation Group. For the sake of the defendants I hope they come up with better defenses for the trial to rebut some of the more damning evidence in possession of the Plaintiff’s such as Forensic Engineering’s computer hard drive than Kerri Rigsby’s sex life.

It is worth noting that buried in the Dickie Scruggs case publicity was a little noticed news story about Forensic flipping and cutting a deal with the Katrina Litigation Group in exchange for their cooperation. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say about their part in this alleged criminal racketeering enterprise.

I have updated the Katrina Insurance Case Documents page to include the Shows case and added files to McIntosh. Please bear with us while we build our data base. Without further commentary on my part here is today’s Anita Lee’s Sun Herald story on Shows:

A lawsuit that Dickie Scruggs and his Scruggs Katrina Group filed for 22 policyholders against State Farm is moving forward in U.S. District Court. Continue reading “Shows RICO Suit Lawsuit Against State Farm: Amendment Allowed”

State Senate GOP Blocks House Insurance Measures

“What you risk reveals what you value.” Jeanette Winterson

I’m reminded of that quote when I think of Republican Senator Eugene “Buck” Clarke, chair of the Senate Insurance Committee who just last month proclaimed his ignorance of the interplay of insurance issues with existing state law and used that lack of knowledge to kill every Katrina related reform introduced in the State Senate. The reported party line as recounted multiple times in the Clarion Ledger was something along the lines of:

But his legislation languished in the Insurance Committee chaired by Sen. Eugene Clarke, R-Hollandale, before dying under a deadline.

Rather than bring the bills out of committee and up for debate before the full Senate, Clarke said he wanted more time to study the issue. This is his first committee chairmanship. He’s starting his second term as senator. Continue reading “State Senate GOP Blocks House Insurance Measures”

Anita Lee reports comments from FBI

Ms Lee does a good job updating today’s developments to the overall investigation. This story headlines the Sun Herald RSS feed on the lower right side of the page.

 ………the FBI’s special agent in charge said his office has committed the manpower to “work the case to its logical conclusion.”

“Public corruption is our No. 1 criminal priority,” said Frederick T. Brink, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jackson Division. “Americans expect a fair and impartial judicial system. Any attempts to undermine that through bribery or other types of illegal activity really critically damages our faith in our judicial system. It is a particularly heinous crime.” Continue reading “Anita Lee reports comments from FBI”