Disqualified lawyers seek reinstatement

Two Missouri law firms disqualified from suing State Farm argue that they should be reinstated.

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. in April disqualified law firms that were associated with attorney Dickie Scruggs. Senter said the firms knew or should have known that Scruggs violated ethics by paying the Rigsbys while they were potential witnesses in the lawyers’ cases.

Senter said the lawyers had a duty to investigate and report the unethical conduct.

The two firms representing the Rigsbys argue they found out about the payments long after State Farm and even Senter did. State Farm continued to work with Scruggs, settling hundreds of lawsuits before filing its first motion to disqualify him in June 2007.

Senter denied that request, saying the company had waited too long. He did not rule on the ethical concerns State Farm raised, including the Rigsbys’ salaries.

Sun Herald