UPDATE: Scruggs says the WSJ has it wrong. He sent them a statement claiming that it will be up to individual clients to decide whether or not to keep Scruggs as their counsel:
“The clients will be the ones who will make the call as to their lawyer. Our firm is committed to representing all Katrina families and other clients in our practice. We do not want to let anyone down or drag anyone down. Most of the Katrina families are people I have known all my life so we are not withdrawing except as to those who ask us to do so. Mr. Barrett was misinformed in his letter to the judge.”
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog is reporting that Richard (Dickie) Scruggs will withdraw from all Hurricane Katrina-related litigation. The Scruggs Law Firm was formerly part of the Scruggs Katrina Group—a group of plaintiffs lawyers that Scruggs helped form in late 2005 to represent clients in their fight for insurance money related to damages stemming from the storm. The WSJ has a copy of a letter from another of the group’s co-founders, Don Barrett, explaining that Scruggs will withdraw from the Katrina litigation “in light of what has happened in Oxford.”
Barrett is referring to the indictment filed in Oxford, Miss. against Scruggs and four others, who the government charge attempted to bribe a judge. According to the indictment, Scruggs tried to pay state-court Judge Henry Lackey $50,000 to rule in favor of one of his clients. He is also accused of disguising the bribe as work-related compensation.
Barrett will now take over as lead counsel of the Scruggs Katrina Group. In the letter, he writes that he plans “to associate additional attorneys to assist” the group.