Class-Action Lawyer Gets 5 Years in Bribery Case

Friends and colleagues called Mr. Scruggs a charming man who dressed impeccably. He is a skilled lawyer and debater, said Victor E. Schwartz, a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, who has squared off against Mr. Scruggs in debates over the last 20 years.

“The sad thing here is that he didn’t need to cheat the system,” said Mr. Schwartz, who is general counsel to the American Tort Reform Association. “He was a phenomenal lawyer.”

Mr. Scruggs and his co-conspirators are the latest in a string of prominent plaintiff’s lawyers who have been found guilty of misdeeds involving their clients or their lawsuits.

Three plaintiff’s lawyers in Kentucky are being tried on charges of stealing millions of dollars from their clients in a dispute involving the fen-phen diet drug. This year, William Lerach and Melvyn Weiss, partners at Milberg Weiss, pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy after paying kickbacks to clients to win bigger fees.

New York Times
6/27/8