Legal Ethics

Another Katrina Law Firm Axed Due to Scruggs Fallout

  • Print.

A broad disqualification order removing law firms associated with the Scruggs Katrina Group from representing policyholders in State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. insurance coverage cases related to Hurricane Katrina damage applies to law firms that did even minimal work in cooperation with Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and his colleagues, a federal judge has ruled.

Ruling on a motion to clarify by Lumpkin & Reeves of Biloxi, Miss., U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. held this week that the firm is included in the disqualification order, even though attorney Mark Lumpkin says he had only a tiny role in the group’s work, reports the Sun Herald, a southern Mississippi newspaper.

As discussed in an earlier post, Senter disqualified the Scruggs group in April after Richard Scruggs pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a judge. He said the group was tainted by Scruggs’ improper payment of two witnesses, which some other lawyers knew about but did not prevent, according to news coverage.

A copy of the written order (PDF) disqualifying the Lumpkin firm is provided by Slabbed in connection with a blog post on the ruling.

Lumpkin says he sat in on one day of pretrial testimony in one case to decide whether Lumpkin & Reeves should get involved, but it never did, according to the Sun Herald. “He said he spoke only once during the daylong testimony, to clarify a misstatement by a State Farm attorney,” the newspaper recounts.

However, the Lumpkin identified himself at the hearing as policyholder counsel, Senter wrote in his order.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.