Trustee Steve Simpson has hired attorney Charles J. Mikhail to represent the interests of the pension trust in settlement negotiations. An order signed by Judge Breland Hilburn allows Simpson to hire Mikhail, who will be paid $225 per hour for his services.
Like many of the players involved, Mikhail appears to have conflicts which are tough to resolve. He is required to represent the interests of the pension trust and all of its members, yet his connections with certain plaintiffs counsel is unsettling.
Mikhail previously worked on tobacco litigation for Dick Scruggs. When Scruggs started shortchanging Mikhail on payments, Mikhail sued. The lawyers he hired to sue Scruggs? Jim Reeves and Matt Mestayer.
Cal Mayo, who is also suing Singing River, defended Scruggs in the suit.
Mestayer and Mikhail have worked together previously handling disputes for Attorney General Jim Hood related to tobacco company payments. They did so in 2011 in a case involving RJ Reynolds and were retained again in 2013 in another dispute with Lorillard and RJ Reynolds.
We have previously noted Lumpkin & Reeves’ large campaign donation to Simpson. Now we have Simpson hiring an associate and former client of Mestayer.