Skip to content
FOLO – NMHS and the “resolution...

FOLO – NMHS and the “resolution counsel”: Shirts and Skins

By: Magnolia Tribune - April 9, 2008

NMHS and the “resolution counsel”: Shirts and Skins

“Resolution counsel”? What did cheerful-and-clean-sounding Joey Langston mean by that? Has an honorable sort of ring to it, doesn’t it? Maybe means “lawyers who specialize in Alternative Dispute Resolution”? Specialists in negotiating, mediating, arbitrating disputes? Anyhow, legal heroes who save clients’ companies. (Cue Jaws music.)

Now recall that, during the famous ”Halloween deposition” of Mississippi Deputy Insurance Commissioner Lee Harrell in McIntosh v. State Farm, Zach Scruggs had much to do trying to keep opposing counsel Dan Webb’s questions away from paydirt. Here again, a passage from pages 332-4 of that transcript, Harrell speaking first:

A. I asked [former MS Attorney] General [Mike] Moore who was he representing.
MR. WEBB: Q. What did he tell you?
A. He said he was serving as resolution counsel.
Q. And was this in the meeting that he had where it was just you and him?
A. And Jimmy Blissett. That’s it.
Q. And he was resolution counsel. Did he explain what that term meant to you?
MR. SCRUGGS: I’m going to object on relevancy, too.
HARRELL – A. I asked him, well, who’s paying you? I know you are not doing it for free.
MR. SCRUGGS: Move to strike as non-responsive.
MR. WEBB: Q. What did he say?
A. He said he gets paid at the end of the day.
Q. He said he gets paid at the end of the day?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did he ever say how he was going to get paid or by whom?
A. We never could figure that one out.

Hmm. Can it be that, as practiced by the Scruggsians, “resolution counsel” means something closer to “shakedown artist”? Is a “resolution counsel” someone who, though known as a “plaintiffs’-side” attorney, goes to prospective defendants offering to protect them from the Big Bad Plaintiff for a not-so-nominal fee?

The reason I wonder has to do with Jackson’s huge St. Dominic’s, as mentioned above, another Mississippi hospital sued by Dickie himself, with help from in-staters David Merideth and Don Barrett and San Francisco’s Elizabeth Cabraser. But unlike NMHS, St. Dominic’s held its ground against the Scruggsians.

This, I’ll just betcha, is where the real story exists — the one abroad in legal Jackson and elsewhere: that Mike Moore made an appointment with an administrator at St. Dominic’s sometime that summer of ‘04, then showed up waving the draft of a lawsuit. “Dick Scruggs is fixing to sue you,” he’s said to have warned, “and it’ll cost you X to settle. Or you can hire me for X and fight.”


About the Author(s)
author profile image

Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.