Editor’s note: This article went to press before Dickie Scruggs pleaded guilty March 14 to conspiring to bribe a judge in a dispute over attorney fees. Back in 1998, Mississippi trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs spoke of “home cookin’ ” when describing his role in forcing four tobacco giants into a record $246 billion settlement with 46 states. It certainly left him eating high on the hog, earning nearly $1 billion in fees.The case made him one of America’s richest lawyers, with a cash flow many Wall Street firms would envy. Every three months since the late 1990s, Scruggs’ firm has received more than $10 million from the tobacco litigation payout. The case will fatten his bottom line by $42 million every 12 months for 23 years.He filed his first tobacco case in his hometown of Pascagoula. Traction gained in that friendly venue helped topple Big Tobacco state by state, likea long line of cigarette packs stacked as dominoes.“We knew it would be a public relations war and a political war every bit as much as a legal fight,” Scruggs told a reporter a decade ago, explaining the “insular advantage” of bringing tobacco companies to answer in Mississippi.Fast-forward to late February,… Read full this story
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