Hood claimed credit for State Farm paying an additional $74 million of Katrina settlement money. State Farm paid this money, following the
collapse of a deal between State Farm and Dickie Scruggs, with Hood’s approval, to certify and then settle a class action involving some 36,000 Mississippi homeowners. The class action settlement was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge L.T. Senter, Jr., who was concerned, among other things, about procedural unfairness of the process set up under the agreement to settle claims, and about what exactly Scruggs would do to earn some $15 million due him under the settlement. This failed class action was a backdrop to a settlement at about the same time of some 640 Katrina cases by Scruggs and State Farm (this settlement money, of course, is what led to the dispute within the Scruggs Katrina Group over allocation of the dough, leading to ejection of attorney John Jones from the group and a lawsuit by Jones, leading to Scruggs trying to grease with wheels of the lawsuit by bribing the judge over a procedural matter of sending the case to arbitration).
If you need or want a refresher on the Hood lawsuit, I wrote about it back in 2007, including in this post. Hood’s lawsuit alleged State Farm breached its agreement to make additional payments to Mississippi homeowners, which as you can see, was part of the class action proposal. Earth to Hood: one problem with this theory –(1) when a federal judge steps on your agreement, you are relieved from performance of it, and (2) State Farm had already agreed, in a deal with then-Insurance Commissioner George Dale, to reopen the claims, which resulted in payments that probably were about equivalent to what they would have paid under the class action process, minus the dough to Scruggs. (The failure of Scruggs to get the money turned out to be an incredibly lucky thing for him. Hey, what’s an extra $15 million to a guy who’s already loaded, anyway?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, just another example of Jim’s incredible Hoodzpah. If I was George Dale, I’d be pretty ticked off. The earliest Hood started talking about his lawsuit was somewhere around May 2007, as you can see from this post I wrote from that time.
Here, by the way, is a press release from Hood’s office, which has a link in it so you can listen to the press conference, if you care to.
Now look at this press release from Dale last December. In it, he says the figure for all settlement money because of his agreements with State Farm and Nationwide to re-evaluate claim totaled $110 million — Nationwide paid out an additional $40 million, in addition to the State Farm dough.
Check it out. It’s on pages 73 and 74 of the transcript of that [Natchez] proceeding, and you can find the transcript as the top link in this post I wrote in February 008. (I link to the post rather than just the transcript because I want you to read the first paragraph of the post, it’s one I thought was pretty funny).
Do you see what Hood said? He didn’t know the first thing about the process, how much was paid, who was getting paid, and so forth. He even doubted State Farm had paid $70 million! But when it comes time to settle the lawsuit, he covers his tail by claiming credit for the results he testified he didn’t know a thing about. If you read the seven or eight pages before the ones I cited, you will see I am correct. Another amazing display of Hoodzpah.