If one changes a few words from this Houston Chronicle piece, one sees almost the same charges Scruggs made against State Farm: Lowballing claims and producing fake documents in support of the claims.
Scruggs created a legal team called the Scruggs Katrina Group to represent policyholders who sued their insurers after the hurricane.
In January, Scruggs' legal team reached a mass settlement of suits with State Farm Insurance Cos. that involved more than $26 million in lawyers' fees.
The lawsuit accuses Scruggs of trying to "freeze out" lawyers from the Jackson law firm, including senior partner John G. Jones, and pay it a "ridiculously low figure" for its "substantial" work.
After the suit was filed, Balducci is accused of having several meetings and conversations with Lackey in which Balducci agreed to pay the judge for ruling in favor of Scruggs in the case, according to the indictment.
Scruggs allegedly tried to cover up the scheme by falsely creating documents that showed he hired Balducci to work on an unrelated case, when he was actually reimbursing him for the cash bribes, the indictment said.
See also David Rosmiller's excellent posts on the matter. Start with this one and just scroll down.
One thing that I thought of, and it is echoed in David's piece, is what about the real contract disputes. I know the III claims that 99.99% of the claims have been settled. However, there were many claims and some non-trivial number of them must have legitimate disputes between the insurer and the homeowner. Does the misbehavior (this alleged bribe and the real possibility of a contempt of court citation) of the most aggressive Katrina plaintiffs lawyer poison the jury pool against claimants? The trial bar's (oops ... the justice bar's) self-administered black eyes may be a bar to justice.