Insurance Law

US Attorney to Judge: No Scruggs Case


A federal prosecutor in Alabama has declined a federal judge’s suggestion that she should prosecute Richard Scruggs, a prominent Mississippi plaintiffs lawyer, for contempt of court.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said yesterday in a letter to U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. that “following a serious and thorough review of the facts” she had decided not to prosecute Scruggs, reports the Associated Press.

As discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, Acker made the prosecution request after Scruggs, who is pursuing insurance coverage litigation over Hurricane Katrina on behalf of hundreds of clients, relayed to Mississippi’s attorney general internal State Farm Insurance Co. documents. He had gotten the documents from clients who worked for a third-party State Farm claims processor, and Acker had ordered that they be returned to State Farm. The documents reportedly may show that the insurer improperly denied Katrina claims.

Acker had said in his June 15 request that he would appoint another attorney to prosecute the case, if Martin did not do so, but he could not be reached yesterday by AP for comment. Scruggs’ son and law partner in Oxford, Miss., said it would be inappropriate for him and his father to say anything further.

(Hat tip to truthout.)

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