Fordice tried to keep Moore from hiring private lawyers to sue private companies, but in 1997 the Supreme Court ruled in Moore’s favor.
The Court held that the Attorney General could seek to recover Medicaid funds from cigarette makers and other defendants, even if the governor had not asked him to do so.
Andy Taggart of Jackson, Miss., Fordice’s chief of staff from 1992 to 1994, said Fordice felt that state agencies should initiate litigation.
“His belief was that as chief executive of the state he was the representative of the state as client and the Attorney General was the lawyer for the client,” Taggart said.
“He believed that it was inappropriate for the Attorney General to seek to set policy by litigation,” he said.
Fordice and Moore strongly disagreed about putting the strength of the people behind privately run civil litigation, he said.
“The wheels that were set in motion by this state-driven private litigation can result in all manner of mischief even when people’s motives are good,” Taggart said.
“It can result in worse than mischief if people’s motives are bad.”