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Roger Parloff on Dickie Scruggs

Must-read profile of the Fall of Scruggs in the latest Fortune.

Scruggs was someone who could render all of State Farm's actuarial calculations irrelevant, because he had the power and know-how to force it to rewrite its contracts retroactively. ...

While the bribery accusations have attracted most of the media attention, the story of Scruggs's siege upon the insurance industry is more jaw-dropping still. These were lawsuits in which the law itself played only a bit part. Victory was to be secured by aggregating pressure points, of which the most valuable were press attacks, threats of legislation harmful to the target or its industry, and the instigation of paralyzing state and federal investigations of the target.

Notwithstanding Scruggs's initial reliance on legal arguments that have been rejected by every federal appeals judge who has considered them, he still managed to squeeze out of State Farm $150 million for policyholders who, from a cold, contractual perspective, were probably entitled to only a fraction of that.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.