Plaintiff's Attorney from Mississippi, Head negotiator and top lawyer in the Medicaid cases

See also: Tobacco Deal Timeline | Interview Excerpt | Michael Moore Interview | Dick Morris Interview | Michael Moore | Ron Motley

Scruggs: "It is not often in life that you have a chance to make a mark on humanity. And we all got caught up in the opportunity that this presented to us. Not only to make a lot of money for our class action and perhaps for ourselves, but to really make a difference in the world. It was an inspiration. And I think most of the lawyers, at least those who were in the vanguard of this litigation, got caught up in that feeling. That they were really doing a service to humanity."


Richard Scruggs and Michael Moore have been the lead negotiators for the national settlement. After Moore suggested the idea of the Medicaid cases, Scruggs became Moore's partner and together they gathered all the elements necessary to bring Big Tobacco to the negotiating table.

Contribution to the Deal

He brought the experience of suing the asbestos industry to bear on the tobacco industry, "making the stakes so high that neither side can afford to lose." He had the guts to protect two whistleblowers -- Jeff Wigand and Merrell Williams -- who no one else would touch. And he helped convince Bennett LeBow to defect from the united front of the tobacco industry and turn state's evidence. Scruggs also brought famous trial attorney Ron Motley into the team, so they would be ready to go to trial if necessary.


As a contingency fee lawyer, Scruggs wants to settle. Plantiff's attorneys get a large percentage of any settlement or jury award. Under normal contingency fee agreements, Scruggs would stand to make over $1 billion dollars on the tobacco cases. He has defused this issue by agreeing to have his fees decided by a national panel of judges. During the negotiations, he argued for the money, but was also interested in getting big public health gains.

Personal Information:

Scruggs graduated from Ole' Miss law school with Michael Moore. After a stint in Jackson, Mississippi, and New York, he returned to Pascagoula, Mississippi to start a small town law practice. There, he made millions in large class action cases against the asbestos industry and eventually helped to bankrupt that industry. Scruggs' brother-in-law is Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who provided some of the key connections that brought this issue onto the national scene. Scruggs' and Moore have more recently been spending a great deal of time in Washington, D.C., convincing lawmakers to legislate the settlement into law.

Affiliations: Plaintiff's Attorney, Attorney Generals, Individual Smokers Suits

Cards they hold (issues):

Cards: Access to Congress through Trent Lott | Millions from his asbestos lawsuits | Medicaid cases Negotiator, Plaintiff¼s Attorney

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