Injunction against Hood extended through date of hearing, State Farm notices deposition of Scruggs in Hood injunction case

How bad is it, just how embarrassing is it, for a state Attorney General to get tagged with an injunction by the company he spent months demonizing and investigating? Probably about as bad as: 

  • Having to sit silently in your office for months, and on the few occasions when you do speak, having to pretend to get all excited about going after makers of fake contact lenses and foreign toys.  No matter what they say, no AG wants to be known as Lens Master or The Toy Fighter.
  • Having to keep a blank look on one’s face, stare into the distance and talk about how it looks like rain whenever anyone mentions Dickie Scruggs, Joey Langston or Tim Balducci.
  • Having to find a removal specialist for your tattoo that says "Jim, Tim, Dickie and Joey: Best Friends Forever and Ever!!! Party On!! I will never forget you, dudes!"
  • Dictating the same thing to your Dictaphone again and again and again: "Memo to self — find way to be relevant once more."

Well, as we discussed yesterday, Jim Hood is once again ready for action — he wants to dissolve that State Farm injunction and kick some more insurance company fanny.  Why? Don’t ask why! That’s just how Hood rolls. You might as well ask him about Dickie Scruggs! And you know what the answer would be? That’s right: "It looks like rain." Because it’s none of your business, chump. 

Yesterday, in State Farm v. Hood, here’s what happened.

This order by Judge David Bramlette extended the State Farm injunction through the date of the hearing on Hood’s motion to dissolve it — February 6.

This order by Magistrate Judge Michael Parker orders Hood to appear at the hearing to testify, and also allows State Farm to take the deposition of Dickie Scruggs for use at the hearing "as this witness many be outside of the subpoena power of this court and, therefore, may not be available to testify live at the hearing."  Why wouldn’t Scruggs be available?  Hmmm, what if he pleaded guilty and were in custody elsewhere?  Of course, the reference could simply be to the rules on trial subpoenas, which state that they are enforceable on witnesses only if the witness is found in the judicial district or within 100 miles of the courthouse.  It’s much easier to get a deposition of someone than it is to make them testify at trial.

State Farm lost no time noticing the deposition of Scruggs for February 1.

Lastly, barring some big developments, I probably am reverting to my normal, pre-Scruggs Nation schedule, which means no posts Saturday or Sunday.  Speaking of the Scruggs Nation, I thought this post on the Scruggs Nation, at the Lexis-Nexis Insurance Law Center, was well written, although why anyone would not be fascinated by what is going on with Dickie Scruggs is beyond me.  I mean, here’s Scruggs, a guy who has been to the mountain top, and then, whoops! He slips on the banana peel he himself just threw on the ground, and bounces all the way to the bottom.

The blogger, Tom Hagy, works for Lexis and, full disclosure, I am on the advisory board of the Insurance Law Center and the post is about me.  But that’s not the point — it’s a good, entertaining post.  It’s harder to do than it looks. 

24 Comments

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24 Responses to Injunction against Hood extended through date of hearing, State Farm notices deposition of Scruggs in Hood injunction case

  1. Mississippi AG Hood

    Our own David Rossmiller is being disrespectful again. Won’t someone make him stop?…

  2. lol. Party on with best friends forever..

  3. Dixie K. Blankley

    It’s going to be a long weekend without you, Mr. Rossmiller, but I will try to set my selfishness aside and wait until you have further developments.

  4. Mississippian

    You’re killing me! Haven’t laughed that hard in quite a while!

  5. It’s interesting to note that as long as Scruggs has been practicing law in Mississippi I can locate only one case on appeal in state court, Jowett v. Scruggs, 901 So.2d 638 (Miss.App. 08/03/2004) and he prevailed; I’ll look next at the trial court level and federal court to see what judges he has been before; every judge that Scruggs has been before must necessarily be suspected of accepting a bribe. It does not mean these judges accepted a bribe but you’ve got to look at every judge who has ruled for Scruggs. If you have the list of judges, please email it to me at jimmydgiles@bellsouth.net.

  6. msbarfly

    Rossmiller: I take back what I said yesterday. I read that little memorandum in support of muzzle-removal. You were right. Good taxpayer $$ is being shelled out for this “work product.” An 8 year old in AP reading and writing could put this to shame. Wouldn’t take much – a clever thought or two.

  7. missmadlaw

    Anyone have any information about the Delaughter e-mail? Was there a personal message—anything confirming the identity of the sender beyond identifying the computer or an e-mail address?
    Despite all the rumors things are awfully damn quiet. Who is representing Ed Peters? Bill Kirksey?

  8. MORE COWBELL

    Another DeLaughter suit where Easy Ed in on (background only, of course) the case. Looks like DeJudge slipped in an email in the Eaton case and cued in the plaintiffs that Easy Ed was somewhere in the woodpile!

  9. MORE COWBELL

    Don’t understand the fuss about “threats of criminal prosecution” for State Farm if they did not pay under the insurance agreement. Happens all the time on the Gulf Coast. Hire a contractor to fix roof for $17,000. Pay the contractor $5,000 for roofing materials. Two months later no work performed. No phone calls returned. File civil suit. Then call contractor and say I’m filing criminal complaint with US Attorney Dunn Lampton’s office, or else. Go visit Lampton’s local office and they have the contractor arrested for federal crime. Then contractor pays back the money and more. Homeowner is happy. Lampton’s office puts out the usual PR about contractor fraud. Is there a criminal act here?

  10. msbarfly

    Rossmiller: In that muzzle-removal paper, at the very least they could have put “good faith” in NEON LIGHTS AND All CAPS. You generally need to go all-out on that and take every precaution that the judge doesn’t start getting “bad faith” notions just because your “good faith” isn’t screaming at him in HIGHLIGHTS AND ITALICS. And, you sure wouldn’t want him confusing you with that bumbling bunch from last week’s docket sight-seeing and tooling merrily along in the pick-up down the wrong way of the Bad Faith 1-way.

  11. MORE COWBELL

    David, what’s your analysis of Fojas on behalf of Allstate Shareholders v. Ed Liddy (Chairman/CEO) & Tom Wilson (President) filed in the N.D. Ill last week, jury trial demanded, following Allstate’s troubles in Florida, a $2 billion per year revenue generator; and the fact that Florida went after the auto ins business.
    And the Dale Deer v. Allstate case in Missouri where the court has ordered Allstate to pay $25,000 per day since 9/14 for refusal to turn over documents? When does this become criminal, as Acker ruled in the Scruggs case?

  12. MORE COWBELL

    Goodness! Everyone gone to the desert to watch Eli next week? Saw that Jimmy the Hood has legislation that would allow him to wiretap citizens of mississippi, as he is now forbidden to do. Says he is getting beat up on this issue on the right-wing radio shows, and need this legislation so mississippi judges can permit wiretaps (now only fed judges can do this in bribery cases).

  13. Ironic

    Does anyone have a link to the source document of the “Renfroe Dogs” letter? Can’t seem to find it online, although I think I recall reading it at one time.

  14. Quite funny, insightful, and informative.

  15. Is the settlement agreement itself online? I’m wondering if Hood has set out a theory of corporate criminal liability in any of these documents.

  16. Boogiewoogie Man

    Cowbell: “Don’t understand the fuss about ‘threats of criminal prosecution’ for State Farm if they did not pay under the insurance agreement.”
    There’s a big difference between your scenario regarding the contractor arrested for a Federal Crime and State Farm, who denied claims based on the “anti-concurrent cause” language in their policy contract, which is not a crime.
    See Rossmiller’s commentary on Tuepker v. State Farm… reversed a lower court’s ruling that State Farm’s anti-concurrent cause language was ambiguous. The court also upheld State Farm’s flood exclusion…

  17. observer

    I don’t think anybody who is keeping up with this thinks that State Farm got investigated for criminal fraud because of the “anti-concurrent cause” language in their contracts.
    I think it is the allegations of fraudulent, and after the fact alterations, and forgery, of engineering reports to support State Farms’s denials, (maybe based on the “anti-concurrent cause” exclusion) that got them investigated for committing crimes.
    So to that extent, what the USAO is doing with regard to contractors committing fraud, is somewhat on point.
    But, you’re explanation probably flies with people who don’t know any better.

  18. Silas

    Cowbell, Observer, et al,
    There is a BIG difference in a contractor intentionally defrauding a customer on an ad hoc basis and an attorney general using the power of his office to extort money from a company enforcing the terms of a legal contract that has been in force and effect for many years.

  19. MORECOWBELL

    Yeah, all that stuff about Lecky King with the post-it notes and her taking the Fifth to every question at her deposition. Looks for Scruggs et al to do the same.

  20. MORE COWBELL

    Silas: read further – USA Today 1/24 p 14A. The US Attorney and Mass. Attorney General announced a $458,000,000 civil settlement against contractors in the Big Dig collapse. “Under the settlement, Bechtel/Parsons will not face criminal charges” in the July 2006 tunnel collapse. Another company, Powers Fasterners (epoxy) has been criminally charged while also paying $6 million in a civil suit to the woman crushed by 26 tons of concrete. I seem to recall that State Farm paid the State of Mississippi some $5 million for its role in denying insurance payments to citizens of Mississippi. Again, you say this was a criminal act on the part of the Attorney General?

  21. Silas

    Yes, and it is bizarre that you can’t see the difference after all of the documentation David has put on this blog showing “Tort, Inc.” alive and well in the state of Mississippi. The $5 million was paid to the AG office for his “investigation”, which is appearing more and more like “shakedown” money. You apparently are either plaintiff’s bar or uninformed about the latest “trend” by AG’s and the states to use criminal prosecution as a leverage tool to secure large civil settlements. If the former, then your die is cast, if the latter, I humbly suggest you do some research into the aforementioned trend. Overlawyered.com and legalnewsline.com seem to be good sources of national news regarding the abuses by the AG’s across the states.

  22. MORE COWBELL

    I’ll ask you one more time: where was a criminal act committed? Just answer the question, please.

  23. Silas

    I never said criminal act but “extort” does qualify so I will answer and bear in mind all of these are IF what state farm has alleged to be true IS proven. The allegations that SF broke the law has so far been disproven by the 5th Circuit. With that caveat here is where law was broken IF this is proven:
    IF the AG was in collusion with Scruggs et al and through the use of Dickie’s employees, stole documents for use in criminal proceedings, that is an ILLEGAL search and seizure (no different from the cops coming into your house without a search warrant and finding something)
    IF it is proven that an arrangement was made between Hood and Scruggs for the use of expert testimony that was “paid for” by Scruggs, that is illegal and MS. Courtney Schloemer knew it thus explaining why she advised one of the witnesses to not take payment until after his testimony (Brian Ford)
    IF an AG uses their indictment power for “shock value” and to coerce a settlement under duress, that is illegal under several laws, civil, criminal, and administrative.
    Again, if proven, these are all crimes. Thusfar the courts have not “proven” SF did any of what was alleged above and the use of years-old and approved contractual language to deny claims is not a crime (in the legal sense anyway.)

  24. MORE COWBELL

    Nope, not a crime in the bunch. Who do you sell insurance for?