Hood says State Farm settlement should stay sealed

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he has no choice but to object to a political Web site’s request to unseal his settlement with State Farm Insurance Cos.

Hood wrote in a response filed Monday that he has no opposition to Jackson New Media, the producer of Y’all Politics, intervening but must, as an officer of the court, remind U.S. District Judge David Bramlette that he does not have the ability to grant JNM’s request.

Hood says the Fifth Circuit has already concluded that a judge can’t grant a motion to intervene in a case that is over.

“We affirm the Court’s dismissal of Belth’s motion because there is no case in which Belth can intervene,” the Fifth Circuit wrote.

“A prerequisite of an intervention (which is an ancillary proceeding in an already instituted suit) is an existing suit within the Court’s jurisdiction.”

The lawsuit alleged Hood was unfairly threatening the company with criminal charges to force it to settle the civil suit filed by Hood weeks after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

Shortly after Hood was forced to take the stand in federal court in Hattiesburg, the two sides reached a confidential settlement in Feb. 2007.

John O’Brien
Legal Newsline