“When you have a conspiracy, everyone is tied to the conspiracy. Those who come early. Those who come late.” -Richard Scruggs to District Judge Kathleen O’Malley
In the early 2000s the Mississippi mass tort landscape was in upheaval. The legislature was busy at work on tort reform, intent on slowing the rise of “jackpot justice.” Tobacco litigation was over, already having been memorialized in the 1999 film The Insider. Mike Moore was handing over the reins of the AG’s office to Jim Hood. Scruggs was downsizing his operation and was selling his office building to Dogan & Wilkinson (D&W).
Asbestos defense work, Wilkinson’s bread-and-butter, was providing a steady stream of billable hours and trial lawyers were gearing up for Asbestosis the Sequel: Silicosis. By way of asbestos defense work, some of Wilkinson’s clients became silicosis defense clients, but that steady stream of billable hours was nothing in comparison to the bounties the pirates over at the plaintiffs firms were taking home. The winds were changing and D&W picked up the scent wafting across the Pascagoula River to their Delmas Street offices. That wind carried the fumes of welding rods and to the ambitious lawyers at D&W, that smelled liked money. Continue reading