Hood wants settlement agreement with State Farm to stay sealed

Attorney General Jim Hood’s office says a settlement agreement between his office and State Farm Insurance should remain sealed.

The Web site of Jackson New Media, Y’all Politics, along with television stations WLBT-Channel 3 in Jackson, WDAM-Channel 7 in Hattiesburg and WLOX-Channel 13 on the Gulf Coast, are asking a federal judge to make public a settlement between Hood and State Farm.

The parties made the settlement hours after Hood was questioned under oath.

Citizens and the press have “a clear right under state and federal law to know and report on the facts and details of the circumstances under which Mr. Hood and the State Farm plaintiffs settled this matter,” wrote Andy Taggart of Madison, attorney for Jackson New Media.

Hood’s office objected, saying the intervention must take place before the final order is entered.

Taggart responded that the request “comes in light of a very reasonable cooling off period of just over 12 months for the original parties.

“As the Court will recall, the underlying litigation prior to settlement was marked by considerable emotion on both sides, and had New Media sought leave to intervene for the unsealing of the settlement agreement immediately in the aftermath of its entry, matters would only have been further inflamed. As the Fifth Circuit has noted, New Media should not be punished for tardiness in seeking to intervene.”