Washington Legal Foundation joins Scruggs hit parade

There is sometimes a high price to be paid with being at the center of the public eye and making lots of people mad — all those folks you were gunning for are just waiting for some ammo to start firing back.  

I recently came across this press release from earlier in July by the Washington Legal Foundation, which is calling on federal courts and the U.S. Justice Department to "fully investigate allegations of serious improprieties lodged against prominent plaintiffs’ attorney Richard F. Scruggs."  This is a pretty high-quality press release, and I can tell someone enjoyed the heck out of putting this together — it shows in the writing.  The press release refers, of course, to Scruggs’ conduct in connection with the lawsuit by E.A Renfroe, a claims adjusting firm working for State Farm, against the "whistleblower" Rigsby sisters.  That conduct, about which I wrote a lengthy post here, resulted in the federal judge in the case, William Acker, requesting that the U.S. Attorney prosecute Scruggs for criminal contempt. Here’s an excerpt from Judge Acker’s opinion (you can see the whole thing on a pdf available at the post linked to above):

[E]ven if the court had not issued a protective order with the preliminary injunction, and even if Renfroe’s counsel had promptly disclosed the documents to State Farm, the court does not understand how this would have jeopardized a criminal investigation of State Farm.  Unless, as Renfroe has hinted at, Scruggs and Hood had teamed up to bully State Farm into civil and criminal settlements by telling State Farm that they had 15,000 inculpatory documents but not allowing State Farm to see them, the court does not see why it was worth it to Scruggs to risk contempt. (Emphasis added).

Acker’s view of Scruggs behavior can best be summed up by this passage from page 21 of the decisions:

Taking Scruggs’s word for it, he was arrogating to himself the right to substitute his judgment for the court’s judgment.  That spells "defiance."   

  Promises to be an interesting ride.  I’ll keep you posted on developments.

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