Monday, July 30, 2007
As reported on law.com (via AP), last week, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Birmingham, AL, refused to prosecute plaintiffs' lawyer Dickie Scruggs and the Scruggs Law Firm for criminal contempt in a Hurricane Katrina insurance dispute. Scruggs (brother-in-law of Senator Trent Lott (R-MI)) is suing State Farm on behalf of Mississippi residents. (More on the underlying case here). Back in June, U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. recommended the criminal prosecution based on Scruggs's violation of a court order that "required him to deliver "all documents" about State Farm Insurance Co. that whistleblowers Cori and Kerri Rigsby secretly copied after Katrina." (Copies of the judge's original memorandum and order are available here via WSJ Law Blog). In a letter to Judge Acker, the U.S. Attorney declined to prosecute Scruggs.
In the latest twist, WSJ Law Blog reports that last Thursday Judge Acker appointed two Birmingham lawyers as special prosecutors to pursue the criminal contempt charge against Scruggs. Stay tuned!