In another piece of required reading from David Rossmiller’s Insurance Coverage Law Blog, he further examines the Jones v. Scruggs lawsuit and some of the dynamics around the bribery allegations. This is absoutely required reading for anyone wanting to stay on the forefront of the story.
In the piece, he provides the complaint in the lawsuit and he asks and answers a fascinating question . . .
Why not use the bribes to obtain a dismissal, rather than merely send it to another type of legal proceeding?
We do not know the answers, but we can make some observations. Although interpretation of a contract such as the joint venture agreement is normally a question of law that is to be decided by a judge on summary judgment, the Jones lawsuit appears to present issues of fact regarding the intent of the parties in forming the agreement, factual questions regarding who said what and the like, which are not appropriate for determination as legal questions but instead must go to the trier-of-fact, which in this case was likely to be a jury. A summary judgment order obtained under these circumstances would be subject to review and reversal by the appellate courts, the briefing might be embarrassing, and there would be publicity. Bribery under these circumstances would not only likely not produce the desired results, but instead a summary judgment that flies in the face of reason might produce further scrutiny of what in the world was going on. When matters are sent to binding private arbitration, however, no judicial review of the panel’s decision is typically available, and the proceedings are much less exposed to the public eye. One might also observe that the opportunities to influence an arbitrator through various means would be much less exposed to prying eyes than attempts to influence appellate judges.
Again, fanstastic work by David Rossmiller.