In his New Orleans office, meanwhile, Wendell H. Gauthier was keeping tabs on the meeting by phone. "If our case against HMOs was just about greed, I'd be on my boat in the South Pacific now,'' he says. Even though he lost, that gives him the credibility to go at these businesses and say, ‘I’m going to sue you, so let’s talk settlement, otherwise your options are under water.’ ”. If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free! It was written by Rehberg, the administrator for a private surgery practice in Albany, Ga., and his boss, Dr. John Bagnato. Scruggs and Moore--"Scro'' and "Mo,'' as they call each other--flew around the country on Scruggs's jet, persuading other states to file tobacco suits. The take for Scruggs's firm alone? GREAT EXPECTATIONS. And that gives pause to some who hear that Scruggs got into the more recent hospital litigation almost solely for humanitarian reasons. That led to a meeting between industry representatives and the attorneys general of four states. After suing asbestos makers in the '80s, Scruggs turned on Big Tobacco in the '90s, ultimately helping wring a $240 billion settlement out of the industry.  He was also fined $100,000. After working for some large law firms in Jackson, Miss., he moved his family back to Pascagoula in 1980 to hang out his own shingle, and settled into a prosperous but unremarkable career handling a variety of cases. Scruggs has a 120-ft. motor yacht from which he watched the America's Cup races off New Zealand. He has also pledged $30 million to charities and endowments. Scruggs?" The paparazzi start shooting as Al Pacino, dressed entirely in black, ambles down the red carpet into Manhattan's Ziegfeld Theater for the gala premiere of "The Insider.'' As a lawyer for 20 of the 32 states suing the industry, Richard F. Scruggs had spent nearly a year engineering the talks, and he had had enough of the chaos. As the talks have proceeded, he believes, public expectations have risen unreasonably high. But when a draft proposal was leaked to The Wall Street Journal last August, everything stopped. Since June, Scruggs and more than a dozen other lawyers around the country joining him in the effort have sued 50 hospital groups in 26 states, in both federal and state courts. Statistics show clearly that hospitals are treating the uninsured in emergency rooms and that they’re getting good health care. Scruggs stated that his firm held a reserve to help challenge future cases and cover costs, allowing additional financial leverage in addressing the legal infractions of major corporations.. It was no ploy. One of his most outspoken critics, Richard L. Huber, chief executive of Aetna, has referred publicly to Scruggs as "Slugs," and recently said, "What he does for personal enrichment is to make vital services and goods more expensive.'' The sisters are close, and their families often spent holidays together. Raised in hardscrabble North Charleston, S.C., the son of a gas station owner, Motley, 53, is a renowned courtroom thespian. "When you've got 32 AGs together," he noted wryly, "it's hard for them to agree on anything.". His big break came when a shipyard worker approached him for help getting treatment for a lung disease that turned out to be asbestosis. Scruggs's mother eventually sent him off to a military academy to finish high school. When Wilner and Motley lost Wilner's second tobacco case on the eve of the Dallas meeting, the industry hardened its stand. Scruggs's stately Colonial along "The Beach,'' a two-mile-long row of gracious homes by the water, is now recognizable to many as the setting for a number of scenes in "The Insider.'' In exchange, they seek a ban on punitive damages, limits on compensatory awards, and a guarantee against an FDA nicotine ban. Once, to get back at some kids who were picking on him, he and a friend decided to burn down their cardboard playhouse. One of his clients was his brother-in-law Senator Trent Lott, former Majority Leader of the US Senate and Lott's wife, Tricia, in a lawsuit against State Farm Insurance. Scruggs pled guilty to conspiracy to bribe Circuit Judge Henry L. Lackey in 2008. “They miscalculated by asking for an immunizing letter and got a surprise,” says Scruggs. , One of his first big legal victories was in representing workers at the Pascagoula shipyard who became fatally ill as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. "I do like the kinds of cases, like the ones against tobacco companies and HMOs, that can help a lot of people," he says. The crux of the argument is that, in return for tax breaks, nonprofit hospitals have an explicit or implicit contractual obligation with government to provide free or discounted treatment to the needy. Narrowing his eyes behind aviator glasses, the balding, 46-year-old Scruggs asserts: "The perfect has become the enemy of the good.". But on May 29, the talks broke down amid disputes about limiting the $46 billion industry's exposure to punitive damages. What Congress couldn't or wouldn't do to Big Tobacco through legislation, lawyers did through the courts. Learn more about the benefits of being  Lackey had contacted the local U.S. Attorney’s office about an improper communication from a third party associated with Scruggs, and at the U.S. Attorney’s request, Lackey solicited a bribe of $40,000 through the third party. In re Not for Profit Hospital/Uninsured Patients Litigation, No. There is one big difference from tobacco and asbestos litigation. “Scruggs is much more multifaceted than a lot of personal injury lawyers and he’s developed some statesman like aspects,” Schwartz says. That afternoon at a session with industry lawyers, the negotiators expected to take up meaty issues--the states' demands for a $300 billion settlement and Big Tobacco's efforts to cap individual claims and limit exposure to punitive damages. If there's no deal, they face a grueling lineup of individual cases against a rich and vigorous opponent. “What some people say in chit chat is quite different from what they’ll say under oath. Richard F. "Dickie" Scruggs (born May 17, 1946) is an American former A6A naval aviator, a formerly prominent trial lawyer, now disbarred, and the brother-in-law of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.Scruggs first came to the public eye after successfully suing the asbestos industry on behalf of ill shipyard workers. December, but that he doubts it will be calculated like a contingency fee officer! In May, 1994 was derailed by his indictment in a settlement parlay there, Scruggs entered flight and. 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