Scruggs letters: Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat
Dear Judge Biggers:
No doubt you are receiving many letters of support for Dick Scruggs, and I enthusiastically join that group. Dick and I first met each other when he was 15 years old in the ninth grade and I was teaching at Pascagoula Junior High School. We have been friends since that time, and I am confident that I know him as well as anyone outside his immediate family. Therefore, these comments are based on personal knowledge.
From the outset, I have known that Dick is a remarkable human being and truly extraordinary. He is smart, and, loyal, compassionate, and generous. All of these positive qualities were evident long before he became a wealthy, well known and influential person. A small example of his compassion and generosity are the plane trips he has provided to people in life-threatening situations, most notably Ole Miss’s former Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, the late Johnny Williams. Johnny, like many of the beneficiaries of Dick’s generosity, was a virtual stranger to him. A man who is willing to help strangers is a man with depth and decency.
If you review the cases he was involved in, such as asbestosis, tobacco, and insurance claims arising out of Katrina, you will see that his client was always the public good and in each instance his involvement was morally based. Although he derived great personal benefit from his success, the more important outcome was the benefit received by thousands of claimants who would never have been compensated for injuries caused by dangerous products. As a matter of fact, he was able to accomplish with tobacco results that neither the Congress nor the state legislature would ever confront. An even greater beneficiary has been that irresponsible actions of the large defendant corporations have been curtailed, which helps to assure the safety of future generations.
Throughout his adult life he has been a model citizen, family man, community supporter, and active participant in his church. He and his wife Diane are clearly among the finest people I have known.
It is my belief that any time he spends being incarcerated is an absolute waste of a great deal of talent and ability. He has much to offer society and is a public-spirited person. Furthermore, it would appear to be a waste of taxpayers’ money. Punishment is relative to the individual. A man such as Dick has been amply punished by the loss of his profession and his public statute (sic).
Warmest regards, Robert C. Khayat