Mississippi winds down as trial lawyer haven with sunshine law

I’m a bit late to this, but there was an interesting development this week in Mississippi, long known as a trial lawyer’s haven and home to some astonishingly large plaintiff attorney payouts.

The state finally passed sunshine legislation, after repeated attempts over the years — including by former Gov. Haley Barbour, who couldn’t get it through a rival-party Legislature — and it was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant yesterday. It limits fees to state-hired private lawyers at $50 million.

It also calls for the attorney general — currently Jim Hood — to attest on paper that there is a justifiable need for outside counsel. The fees and their contracts have to be made public, which is also a big part of the new law.