MCI case leader defends work for AG

William Quin doesn’t back down despite often intense criticism of the $100 million-plus settlement he won for the state from MCI as an outside counsel working for the office of Attorney General Jim Hood.

“I am proud of what I accomplished in that case,” said Quin, a Kentwood, La., native who now lives in Tupelo with his wife and two young children – soon to be three.

As the public debate intensifies on the merits of the Attorney General’s office hiring outside counsel on a contingency-fee basis to pursue lawsuits against large corporations, names of high-profile attorneys like Richard “Dickie” Scruggs of Oxford and Joey Langston of Booneville often surface.

Langston, who partnered with Quin in the MCI case, recently pleaded guilty in a judiciary bribery investigation and Scruggs is under indictment on similar charges.

They often are cited by those wanting to put restrictions on the ability of the Attorney General’s office to hire outside counsel, even though there has been no indication from investigators that there was any wrongdoing in the cases where Scruggs and Langston represented the state.

The indictment of Scruggs and the guilty verdict by Langston are indications that “the system is broken and needs to be fixed,” said Senate Judiciary A Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall.

Said Sen. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo: “I’m uncomfortable with the whole issue of attorneys bringing cases to the AG and saying you need to file a lawsuit.”

Hood has said that in a few instances the expertise, financing and manpower of private attorneys are needed. There are currently fewer than 20 such cases in which outside counsel represents the state.

Hood said often the case is discovered by attorneys through their own research.

NE MS Daily Journal