I was going through my feedreader, which I haven’t had much time to do recently, and with this relative lull it’s a good time to give a few links and talk about a few things that I’ve yet to get to.
— I was reading this story by John O’Brien of Legal Newsline about the battle in the McIntosh v. State Farm case over whether the Scruggs(less) Katrina Group, now known as the Katrina Litigation Group, should be disqualified for allegedly unethical conduct. I love this story because it talks about one of my favorite artifacts from the post-Katrina conflagration, the Brian Ford notebook. For sheer outrageousness and unintentional hilarity, the Ford notes are not quite up there with Hood’s confidential informant letter, Dickie Scruggs’ anti-George Dale ad where he depicted Dale as a pig with lipstick, or the transcript of Hood’s testimony at the February 6 State Farm v. Hood hearing, but they have great value, a sort of Rosetta Stone of Katrina litigation.
The first pleading linked to in the story is a response brief by the KLG objecting to what it sees as dirty tactics in trying to get KLG lawyers disqualified. On page 10 of the response was something that made me laugh, an attack on the declaration of State Farm’s ethics expert, Charles Wolfram, who is described as "a lawyer whose bar license is inactive and who retired nine years ago." You know, when the argument is over alleged corruption, dirty tricks and lies by practicing lawyers, pointing out that the expert is not an active attorney may not be the worst thing you could say about him. I’m not sure what is the point of the remark about Wolfram retiring nine years ago — maybe it is to imply he must be completely senile by this time, or perhaps that someone who has not been in the game for nine years couldn’t possibly be wise to all the new excuses for unethical lawyer conduct. But I don’t mean to pick on the KLG, I know and like some of the lawyers in it.
Incidentally, with every story Legal Newsline runs about Jim Hood, they use the same picture, which has another guy in the photo who seems to be reacting to Hood by making some kind of mocking, simian-like face. I’m sure that, whoever he is, he just got caught on camera in the middle of talking, telling a joke, sneezing, whatever. Every time I see that picture I feel sorry for the guy.
— I haven’t had time to do a lot of analysis of the motions Dickie Scruggs and the other defendants filed the other day. But when the motions were filed, my initial read on the motion for a change of venue was, Hey, hasn’t Scruggs always portrayed himself as a fighter for the little guy, a tribune of the people, a freedom fighter? After all, he took on Big Asbestos, Big Tobacco and Big Insurance on behalf of the people. And now he’s saying he’s afraid of his own?
You remember back in the day, almost a year ago, when Scruggs said Katrina litigation wasn’t just a legal battle, it was also a political battle and a public relations battle? Back then, he sat down for worshipful interviews with NPR (the post linked to is a long time ago, in it I said I didn’t know much about the facts of Katrina cases, sometimes I wish that were still true), and he was the captain of the U.S.S. Katrina, in command of a media machine. Now he’s kvetching that the media is examining him in "excruciating detail" and instead of controlling public relations, he’s running from the public. As I’ve said before, your perspective depends on which end of the microscope you’re on.
— Jane Genova’s post at Law and More analyzes some of the contentions in the motion for change of venue. She points out that I have been "compulsively" writing about Scruggs for a long time, long before the indictments came around. I would put a slightly different spin on it. I became interested in Katrina litigation because of the intricacies of insurance coverage law involved, and Scruggs just happened to be in the picture. My main goal is to communicate with the readers of this blog, and Scruggs is merely part of the vocabulary of the lingua franca. A great post by Genova, which makes Scruggs’ lawyers look like they are going on some Grandpa Simpson-like rant about technology, having absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
— The White Collar Crime Prof blog also continues its excellent Scruggs analysis with a look at the motions. Great post, great writing. As many blogs are showing, legal analysis does not have to be boring.