Mississippi Lawyer Ordered to Release Records to State Farm

May 19, 2008

A federal judge has ordered Mississippi attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs to turn over policyholder records to State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. within 15 days.

Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm is entitled to records two former adjusters took and gave to Scruggs that are related to the Hurricane Katrina claim of Thomas and Pamela McIntosh, U.S. Magistrate Robert H. Walker Jr. ruled. The couple are suing the insurance company over damage from the 2005 hurricane.

Scruggs hired the former employees, sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby, after they lost their jobs in June 2006 for taking thousands of pages of State Farm documents. Scruggs claims he no longer has most of the records.

Walker held that Scruggs can’t be ordered to turn over records he doesn’t possess, but ordered him to turn over others related to the McIntosh claim.

The women say an engineering report that blamed wind for property damage was changed to minimize what State Farm owed. They claim a second report by a different engineer emphasized flood damage covered by the federal government.

The judge said Scruggs must turn over:

– All communications between Scruggs and the first engineer who found wind damage, Brian Ford, who State Farm maintains was unethically offered compensation by Scruggs.

– Any communications between Scruggs and any State Farm employee that are related to the McIntosh claim.

– Any communications between Scruggs and the media about Hurricane Katrina and the McIntosh claim, including any engineering report shared with ABC News.

– Any documents Scruggs picked up from a “highly placed source” at State Farm.

– All documents related to any financial interest Scruggs has in Katrina litigation against State Farm.

Scruggs, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a Mississippi judge, is no longer representing the McIntoshes or other policyholders suing over Katrina litigation.

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