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Federal judge seeks criminal contempt charges against Katrina plaintiff lawyer

[JURIST] US District Judge William M. Acker Jr. of the Northern District of Alabama Friday asked federal prosecutors to charge prominent Mississippi plaintiff's attorney Richard Scruggs with criminal contempt, saying that Scruggs "willfully violated" a preliminary injunction ordering Scruggs to turn over all documents secretly copied by two whistleblowers who allege that State Farm Insurance Co. and claims adjusting firm E.A. Renfroe and Co. Inc. [corporate websites] intentionally committed fraud to deny claims following the Hurricane Katrina disaster [JURIST news archive].

Instead of handing the documents to Renfroe, Scruggs sent the documents to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood [official website]. Hood subsequently sent the documents to Renfroe and Co. On Tuesday, Hood filed a lawsuit against State Farm Insurance Co. [JURIST report], alleging that the insurance company committed bad faith breach of contract related to a settlement reached on January 23. AP has more.

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