Hey, asshole, your “cognitive biases” are showing – Pynchon’s new book adds to SLABBED discussion of cognitive maps

We’ve all got one and we can all be one – but  “an ‘asshole’ is not a person but a behavior“, according to  blogroll friend of SLABBED and author of “A is for Asshole: The Grownups’  ABC’s of Conflict Resolution”, Vickie Pynchon.

“We are all blinded by the part we play in disputes” – Amen!  “Asshole” is a behavioral tango – “not one person but two” with  cognitive biases: “something that our minds commonly do to distort our own view of reality”.

Resolving conflict requires taking the blinders off and accept mutual responsibly for both the conflict and its resolution.  Ouch!  It’s so much easier to keep blinders on and see a conflict as “the other guy’s fault” – a “fundamental attribution error” cognitive bias:

“over-attributing intention and under-attributing circumstance to another’s harm-causing behavior while over-attributing circumstance and under-attributing intention to our own harm-causing behavior”

Although each a form of cognitive bias, “clustering illusions” – “seeing patterns where none exist” – and “confirmation bias” – “selecting from a vast amount of data only that which confirms our pre-existing opinions” – feed “fundamental attribution errors“.

What researchers have found is that whenever someone else’s behavior causes us harm, we tend to assume that person intended to cause us the harm we experience or, at a minimum, caused us harm by virtue of their carelessness in regard to our well-being.

Pynchon, an accomplished professional “neutral”, readily admits “mistakes about the intentions and motivations” of another and “the constraints under which they are working” happen in both personal and professional relationships – and, setting aside the personal, we move to a brief review of the asshole behavior and cognitive biases evident in Katrina-related litigation. Continue reading “Hey, asshole, your “cognitive biases” are showing – Pynchon’s new book adds to SLABBED discussion of cognitive maps”

Breaking: One by one the North Mississippi “railroad” house of card comes tumbling down

Not defending the attempted fee stripping of John Jones but Mr Jones won’t be taking anything extra from the innocent.

We find that the trial court had the discretionary authority to impose sanctions against SKG based upon the acts of a single partner that occurred in the ordinary course of business of SKG. However, we conclude that the trial court erred by finding that Richard Scruggs’s misconduct occurred in the ordinary course of SKG business.

The Sun Herald wasted no time putting up the news flash from the A/P. Glad to see the Mississippi Supreme Court is more energetic than certain lazy circuit court judges that let certain blogs write their legal rulings for them. Continue reading “Breaking: One by one the North Mississippi “railroad” house of card comes tumbling down”

Supremely surprising events in Jones v Scruggs (Corrected)

Surprising events can turn old news into new – and that’s certainly the case with the latest news about the fee dispute between Jones, Funderburg, Sessums, Peterson and Lee and the other member firms of the defunct SKG joint venture group.

Surprising event # 1 came from the Mississippi Supreme Court. The MSC granted the Interlocutory Appeal filed by Dick Scruggs as well as the Motion for Reconsideration of the Interlocutory Appeal filed by the other former member firms of SKG – surprising enough to generate Rossmiller’s mildest post yet about a Scruggs related event that alone was a surprising and welcome event.

News editor Patsy Brumfield had the story for the Daily Journal and Alyssa Schnugg followed in the Oxford Eagle story reported on the blog folo.

The Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and former Scruggs Katrina Group attorneys a hearing to decide whether a lawsuit involving Hurricane Katrina litigation should go to arbitration.

In April, Circuit Court Judge William Coleman ruled the law firm of Jones, Funderburg, Sessums, Peterson and Lee is entitled to fees and possibly punitive damages arising from their case against the Scruggs Katrina Group for $26.5 million in legal fees from Hurricane Katrina-related litigation. Coleman ruled in favor of the Jones firm because the lawsuit over legal fees led to the attempt by members of the Scruggs Law Firm to bribe Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey — the original judge presiding over the lawsuit.

MSC’s website provided little information and no clues about what will be considered – clues come instead from a folo reader commenting on the Eagle story. Continue reading “Supremely surprising events in Jones v Scruggs (Corrected)”

Round 1 goes to Jones – Judge’s ruling sets up Round 2 (updated)

The Daily Journal reports Judge Coleman applied sanctions to SKG – striking their Motion for Arbitration and Answer to the Complaint filed by Jones. Only two of the four other firms – Scruggs and Barrett – were named in the Complaint; however, an earlier ruling from Judge Coleman held all member firms accountable including Nutt -McAllister and Lovelace.

Now for the big news in Coleman’s ruling today –

Coleman said Wednesday that while he agrees to a default judgment in the matter, which means he agrees with the Jones allegations, he does not accept every point in the legal complaint as true. Continue reading “Round 1 goes to Jones – Judge’s ruling sets up Round 2 (updated)”

Judge Lackey spilled the beans; Cal Mayo provided the context

Judge Lackey took the stand at the hearing on Jones v Scruggs in Oxford today – the Oxford Eagle tells the story in part:

Tollison questioned Scruggs for about 15 minutes, but he never answered a single question with anything other than taking the 5th.

After Scruggs, Lackey took the stand and spoke about the bribe conspiracy for the first time in public.

Lackey said Timothy Balducci approached him in March 2007 about the Jones V. Scruggs case and offered Lackey a place in his firm. Concerned about his behavior, Lackey said he contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office who began surveillance on Balducci’s and Lackey’s phone conversations. It took until the fall of 2007 for money to be brought up.

Tollison asked Lackey why it took so long for the issue of money to be discussed. “I was having some serious difficulty,” Lackey said. “I just couldn’t bring myself to say, ‘Bring me some money and I’ll do this.’ But ultimately, I did.”

“Who suggested that?” Tollison asked.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office had been listening to the conversation. They were convinced, much more than I, that this was what their intent was. I hoped upon hope that wasn’t going to happen. I had just hoped Tim would have said, ‘Judge you misunderstood me. I’m sorry — just forget what I said.’”

If not that, what was it Balducci saying when he made this remark? Continue reading “Judge Lackey spilled the beans; Cal Mayo provided the context”

Adding to the confusion, motions today in Jones v Scruggs

I added motions on Jones – as well as some on related to the seal of the Rigsby sister’s Qui Tam – to Legal.

Both sides have filed motions according to the story posted on the Sun Herald.

Attorneys representing the Jones firm hope to argue Tuesday in Lafayette County Circuit Court in Oxford that Scruggs and the others tried to bribe Lackey and should be sanctioned “by striking the defendants’ pleadings and entering a default judgment,” said Roy Percy, one of the firm’s attorneys. Continue reading “Adding to the confusion, motions today in Jones v Scruggs”

“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention”

Tom Peters got the general idea; but, Harry Truman’s If you can’t convince ’em, confuse ’em seems to be more appropriate as we start the week with a little beef, a lot of Scruggs, and a thought or two about the meaning of flood.

  • One beef was settled when the Facilities Group paid sub-contractors for work on the failed beef plant. The Clarion-Ledger ran the story in Sunday’s paper; but, there’s more to the cow than that – Jim Hood’s lawsuit and USA v Moultrie.
  • Big day tomorrow for Jones v Scruggs, the fee dispute related to the agreement between Jones and the other member firms of SKG. Speaking of confusion, it’s up to Judge Coleman to clear things up – and that’s going to be a challenge because Judge Lackey really muded it up when he demanded money so he could decide if he’d been bribed – duh. Maybe we’ll learn what really happened – although that would be a first as I can’t recall a bigger one-sided story than USA v Scruggs.

Zach’s jonesing for justice – what about Jones?

The James hearing scheduled for tomorrow may not be the end for Dickie’s boy Zach but tomorrow he’s Zach the man – jonesing for justice.

USA v Scruggs began last November but the story behind the case began with another man – jonesing for revenge and using the court as his weapon – John Jones. Continue reading “Zach’s jonesing for justice – what about Jones?”