April 17, 2008

Will the Scruggs Firm Face Punitive Damages for Bribery?

The Daily Mississippian reports: " Judge William Coleman ruled today that Scruggs Law Firm, along with other firms in the Scruggs Katrina Group (SKG), irreparably harmed the law firm Jones, Funderburg, Sessums, Peterson and Lee when members of the Scruggs firm tried to bribe presiding Judge Henry Lackey in the fee dispute case between the Jones firm and SKG. A trial is set for Nov. 12 in Oxford to decide how much the Jones firm is owed in attorney's fees as well as possible punitive damages the bribe caused the Jones firm. . . . SKG signed a joint venture agreement outlining several different aspects of the partnership. The Jones firm felt they were owed 20 percent of $26.5 million. However, they received just more than $900,000 and in March 2007 sued the other SKG firms for more money. This is the suit in which Scruggs and others attempted to bribe Lackey. . . . Punitive damages could be awarded to the Jones firm, though they must prove how the bribe financially hurt them. 'Any attorney for any client should be concerned about punitive damages,' Mayo said. By March, Scruggs and four other co-conspirators pleaded guilty to the bribery attempt. So far no sentencing date has been set."