U.S. District Court Judge David Bramlette last week ordered the unsealing of materials from the settlement of the 2007 lawsuit by State Farm Insurance against Attorney General Jim Hood, giving a victory to a media coalition seeking to open the records. Hood opposed lifting the seal. More materials should be released soon unless Hood continues his opposition to their release.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Hood pursued criminal investigations against State Farm. Meanwhile, the Scruggs Katrina Group (Dickie Scruggs, Zach Scruggs, Sid Backstrom, Don Barrett and other lawyers) sought a class action civil lawsuit against State Farm.
On January 23, 2007, Hood sent a letter to State Farm’s lawyer writing, “In light of the cooperation by State Farm…in the criminal investigation…and State Farm’s willingness to enter into a [civil] settlement agreement,” Hood would not bring criminal charges against State Farm. On the same day, State Farm and the Scruggs Katrina Group announced, “a court supervised resolution process to reconsider and fully resolve claims…part of an agreement reached through the settlement of a class action lawsuit.”