Stars in stripes: Dickie Scruggs reports to prison

I know I haven't been blogging enough where these two things happen in one day:

a.  My wife tells me I haven't been blogging enough; and 

b.  Dr. Ed Duett, of Mississippi State, tells me folks in Mississippi are complaining that I haven't been blogging enough. 

Ed is in Portland for some kind of academic risk management conference, and I had lunch with him Monday.  Good to see him again (I spoke at the Mississippi State Insurance Day in April).   So, workload permitting, I'm trying to catch up.  So here goes.

I got a chuckle out of the headline and lede of this Associated Press story: "Anti-tobacco lawyer Dickie Scruggs has reported to a federal prison in eastern Kentucky." 

Anti-tobacco lawyer?  Is that an apt description?  If anything, I think Scruggs would be described as pro-tobacco -- after all, without it, he wouldn't be pulling in his $50 million a year, or whatever his take is.  If those tobacco companies weren't around, Scruggs would be just another con trying to get large by lifting weights, instead of being the richest guy in the cell block.  Maybe "pro-money lawyer Dickie Scruggs" would have been more accurate, or more accurate yet, "pro-Dickie Scruggs lawyer Dickie Scruggs."  

No word yet on whether he has hatched any escape plans.  


Trackbacks (0)
Pings sent to
Written By:ThirdSouth On August 5, 2008 7:48 AM

"Pro-Dough-Former-Lawyer Dickie Scruggs" would be an apt moniker, since it would encompass the benefit to the tobacco companies that Dickie's schemes accomplished: individual lawsuits against the tobacco companies disappeared, FDA regulation didn't happen (thanks to Trent "Top Ten Tobacco Contribution Recipient between January 2005-May 2008" Lott, and his mentor, W), don't-smoke ads making the "product" even more enticing to the vital teenage market were financed by the so-called "settlement", and, of course, hundreds of millions of dollars were paid to the Scruggs family as a token of Big Tobacco's appreciation for Dickie's "reverse Trojan horse" gift to them. If all Dickie did was promote tobacco for a fee, how low must the wattage of jounalism go to come up with the phrase "anti-tobacco" in the same breath with Big Tobacco's best third best friend (after Trent and W), Dickie Scruggs? If all that doesn't combine to provide Dickie a pardon from W in January, I'll buy you a pack of Marlboro's.

Written By:Concerned in Claims On August 5, 2008 10:39 AM

Eric Gilkey, Managing Editor of Claims Magazine has a good story up on this in the August issue in the Editor notes here:

Written By:M.Williams On August 5, 2008 11:01 AM

Well, the AP story is a tad short, and The Insider was the stuff made from apres manger, not at all based on the Wigand-Scruggs cage aux folles but rather the dysfunctional Bumpkins at CBS lawers and Lowell Bergman's fruity Sabra imagination, but who cares, it sums up the big tobacco-lawyer "heist" of 98. But what's not forgotten is that there's a sweet kiss of memoriabilia in this unmagical jurisdiction of coal miners and tobacco farmers. And here in Louisville, KY, the headquarters of the "Americas" tobacco companies where everything began that put Dickie Scruggs in his cage. Hard to miss, there's so much that catches up - but nobody cares is not what prevails. The clogging in the Eastern Kentucky hills mocks the cage and the fools, and the winters are cold, and the summers so very hot.

Written By:M.Williams On August 5, 2008 11:32 AM

Well, THIRDSOUTH, you're right on target. There's still some grief left in the pursuit of pretense in the winners, but, as Dickie must soon gain some added appeal, it's all about those heels on platforms. Here is Louisville, center of the Americas' tobacco liberators, and there, over there in Ashland, is the poorest farmer, the lost, the lackluster, the fogotten, where hope is not rationalization but survival - cold rain and nickle ideas. Prison words will be few. Prison profiles small. Prison years forever. As for tobacco, there never was a "deal" more sweet, more heavenly, more devious. Just pay off the lawyers. Said it to Mike Moore for years. Tobacco got freedom. THIRDSOUTH:You've been listening, and you know what the Global Settlement was all about. It was simply a legal release. Now, if you want to find the real story -ask for those Arbitration Fee Panel "settlement" hearings. So another generation rises from the ashes. And then another. Because, TS, nobody but big money can win a lawsuit - not in Mike Moore's script. He was either very stupid or very smart. Perhaps both. Jesus is so easy.

Written By:Mississippian On August 5, 2008 1:04 PM

I just cant believe you don't have anything to say about the 7/21 and 7/22 depositions!

Written By:David Rossmiller On August 5, 2008 2:22 PM

Mississippian, I do have some things to say, but have to find some blogging time. Not so easy to do these days.

Written By:Mississippian On August 5, 2008 2:48 PM

No problem--didn't mean to rush you. Its not like you have a job....or family...haha

Written By:Bama Insurance On August 5, 2008 5:29 PM

Scruggs is 62? So do felons qualify for SS? :)

Written By:Nomiss On August 5, 2008 6:45 PM

Mr. Williams, your terminology gives an accurate summary of the Dickie Scruggs-Mike Moore tobacco lawsuit: "the big tobacco-lawyer 'heist' of 98."

And you are correct that the Arbitration Fee Panel hearings would finish the story. Would you refresh my memory as to who the members of that panel were?

Written By:M.Williams On August 6, 2008 10:02 AM

NOMISS, herein is my reply to your question. First, I should comment on the subjective analysis of the Medicaid Lawsuit (Mississippi Ex Rel), as it began the rolling stone of the generic lawsuit titled variously, The Global Settlement, the Master Settlement, the Master Settlement Agreement, et al. The concept of "the big tobacco-lawyer 'heist'" begins with Mike Moore's filing in Myers' Equity Court, Pascagoula, MS, May, 1994. The time of this lawsuit is connected to the Florida Medicaid Lawsuit of Attorney General Butterworth and Governor Lawton Chiles, and with these two lawsuits the productive efforts of the Ness-Motley group in South Carolina began hosting a variety of "sit downs" with other major lawsuits that were in the process of filing or filed, most noteable of which was the so-called "Castano" group working out of New Orleans. The Castano's were lawyers in the hundreds, having lost class-action status, began tossing in millions into the funding and strategy hopper which was actually being run by Rice and Motley of Ness-Motley. As the tributaries advanced, Walter Umphreys hitched up with Attorney General Morales of Texas, and the Texans harvested the fruits of avant guard forces not the least of which was the documentation leadership of Glantz, Slade, Bero, Hanauer, Barnes at UCSF, JAMA [vol 274], Chip Humpreys of
Minnesotta, the document pull based on the original "Brown and Williamson documents" add-on subpoena-hearing documents from Henry Waxman (D,CA,Rep), and Mike Moore's liberal use of a law prof's idea re-named, "The Lewis Theory." Moore conviced Scruggs to convince the MS legislature to hire private attorneys as "Assistant A.G.'s", and this became the m.o. for the working plan - the AG/private lawyers vs the tobacco cartel. Moore was the consiguiliere who started procuring AG teams of private lawyers in 1994, and by December, 1995, the tobacco cartel had crumbled. The joint-defense management of all tobacco companies swooned when Liggett went south, but from an insider position on theory, big tobacco realized as early as 1980 that getting government protection, which has historically been by a "Consent Agreement" (there are NO exceptions), was not simply a gift, but the most desired way in which to manage the rolls from Plaintiff lawsuits. Shareholder gambles in tobacco stock end in 1999. Quite simply, tobacco adopted a plea bargain with Mike Moore when Liggett flew the coup, and after that, all but one State had begun privitizing the AG's, including Guam, Puerto Rico, VI, etc. The god-send was produced by Mississippi's Mike Moore, who, like "W", declared "...mission accomplished," but unwisely, again like "W", much too early. Trent Lott put the brakes on Moore's first draft by slamming it on the Senate's table because the lawyers were going to be paid from the "settlement" by the hour. By the hour? As Walter Umphrey, as leader of the Texas legal team, put it, "If history was going to be made, I wanted to be part of it." He did, of course, mean simply that he had 25 % of the hundreds of billions coming to him; he was looking to "seize the moment" by seizing the big money, like all the other lawyers appointed by the AG's in other States, not the least of which was the multi-representation of Scruggs, Motley, Barrett, and a handful of "hustlers", including the best cow-poker of all, Mike Moore. After 1996's Trent Lott shut down, Moore got blue, and the Sindicato - now hundreds - turned to Christine Gregoire (now Hon. Governor of Washington State). Gregoire "negotiated" everything but the lawyer's fee. The final draft given to the tobacco companies and the lawyers opened up the skies to lawyer fee's. Umphrey's, kind but stupid, said of the heist, " was the first time the industry had ever tried to settle anything." [Sorry, Walt, but history has about 20 "settlements" exactly like the one you got billions for, and they were also "Consent Decrees". And the final "Gregoire" Settlement, titled the Master Settlement, was simply a Consent Decree. Nothing more. And, in that, while the Congress didn't have to do anything, the Tobacco Companies were highly pleased to go into business with each and every State, Territory, Protectorate, Commonwealth....It was perfect. To boot, the lawyers put in "fees" settled by a three-member "arbitration" panel. The panel - one pick for tobacco, one for each State "pay off", one for the whole Snikers Candy Bar.

NOMISS, your question about who each member of each panel was is a very big research project. In Mississippi, the local panelist (this might be worth a phone call) is on the letterhead of one of the biggest law firms in Mississippi, and might just be a guy named Dunbar. This is a question for Mike Moore. In fact the entire "Arbitration Fee Panel" is the BIG question, but it's Mike Moore's question, because it was Moore on Dickey's travel squad, and it was Moore who did a lot of stump and grind to ante-up for Scruggs in various State panels, and it's impossible to - your word - "refresh" anybody's memory without digging in the "sealed" hearings which are - well, hidden away like so many bearer bonds out there in bearer bond heaven. If Moore's not "in", phone Walter Umphrey, who wants to be the new
consiguiliari for Katrina.

Written By:Oaege On August 6, 2008 11:47 AM

Breaking News.....Hood just dismissed his lawsuit against State Farm "with prejudice" .....for us non-lawyers, please help translate, what does "dismissed with prejudice" mean?

Written By:ThirdSouth On August 6, 2008 3:02 PM

Oaege, it means "don't come back."

Written By:M.Williams On August 6, 2008 3:14 PM

"with..." no right to re-file or file a claim again and matter is dismissed. Done with.

Written By:sampson On August 6, 2008 3:26 PM

He cannot renew it or bring it again....

Written By:Thick On August 6, 2008 4:00 PM

I think "with prejudice" means that the suit can not be re-filed.

Typical Hood, he loses a suit and spins the story like he defeated the mighty robber barons.

Written By:ThirdSouth On August 6, 2008 6:54 PM

It actually means, "Don't come back, and if you do my bailiff is going to escort your ass to the curb."

Written By:Jace On August 7, 2008 5:15 AM

Thick, I believe you are correct about "with prejudice". And about Hood, he reminds me of a duck, trying to look serene while paddling like the dickens under the surface. And that backpedaling certainly is difficult!

Written By:Mississippian On August 7, 2008 9:01 AM


From today's Sun Herald... "Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who was on the Coast to speak to two different groups Wednesday, said after hearing about Hood's remarks: 'I think he's crazy to call a press conference on a lawsuit claiming credit for something he didn't do.' Chaney credited his predecessor, George Dale, for heading up the re-evaluation. Dale also directed Nationwide to re-examine its claims, leading to an additional $40 million in payments."

They've also got the court doc on the website. Take a look. Talks about agreement between SF and Insurance Dept.

Written By:Nomiss On August 11, 2008 6:46 AM

Thank you Mr. Williams for the history. It seems that there are many questions that should be asked of Mike Moore, but no one appears to be asking.

Written By:M.Williams On August 14, 2008 8:10 PM

NOMISS: The questions for Mike Moore are covertly set in the concrete burial waters of the legal patronage system which is no less the same sort of partronage system in the politics of the Chicago generations of political patronage. There aren't truck contracts, but the contracts that are assigned stem from the union of legal bosses beginning with Mike Moore's eguality, quantified by loyalty, pay forwards, and the millions of dollars that come to the households of Scruggs, who manages the statehouse, the range, and puts the coffee plantations up for those who know what goes out comes back. It's the managerial system of the Chicago politic elite. Only in this disguise, the whole deal begins with the tobacco pay-outs beginning in 97, and, if there's a "Mayor Daley", it's Mike Moore, and, if it ever gets examined, it will invariably spread to the inner circles of power in the Attorney General's Office and the D.A. in Jackson, MS. Maybe a few other rabbit holes, but Chicago has been running this way in patronage politics for decades, and, if you look back the same time frame, the legal patronage is similar, or a kinship, and it takes greater momentum in the blitzkreig win for Moore-Scruggs, and the John Does in the tobacco Settlements. Of course, the eventuality of all this will be uncovered, but not until the "Arbitration Panel" hearings are unsealed by lawful Orders. If the Government has no interest in patronage law, it will remain, like the Chicago mob, handing out candy - especially when "W", who will be lobbied, let's his pardon book check off Dickie Scruggs in January. Jackson is Chicago politics. It just changes parties once in a while.

Post A Comment / Question

Remember personal info?