COLLATERAL DAMAGE FROM THE FALL OF ZEUS

December 30, 2010 § 2 Comments

Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger yesterday dismissed with prejudice Eaton Corporation’s lawsuit against Jeffery Frisby, et al., based on a finding that counsel for Eaton knew that Ed Peters was clandestinely attempting to influence the then trial judge, Bobby DeLaughter, and sanctioned Peters’ actions for their client’s benefit.

Judge Yerger found that dismissal of the billion-dollar suit was necessary to protect the integrity of the judicial system.  Philip Thomas comments on it here, with links to much more information on the suit.  Tom Freeland adds his thoughts here.    

The demise of Eaton’s suit is collateral damage from the Scruggs judicial scandal, which shed the light of day on Ed Peters’ activities vis a vis Judge DeLaughter in Scruggs’  legal battle with the Wilson law firm and gave reason to scrutinize his actions in Eaton.  If Balducci’s efforts to corrupt Judge Lackey had succeeded or never been reported, what is the likelihood that the improprieties in Eaton would ever have been uncovered?  And if Peters had gone undetected, would the defendants have suffered a billion-dollar miscarriage of justice?  Thankfully, we will never know for sure.

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§ 2 Responses to COLLATERAL DAMAGE FROM THE FALL OF ZEUS

  • What I wonder, though, is whether there are other cases that have not surfaced.

    With civil cases, there’s a reason for people to wonder about odd results– over my career, I’ve had two jury verdicts that really seemed strange to me and have caused me to wonder from that point on (oddly enough, one of the lawyers opposite has been implicated in all of this mess…). Perhaps out-there rulings might cause a lawyer to question when all this surfaced, but then what?

    And with criminal cases where Peters worked some magic for a defendant (there’s one case in particular that the Jackson Free Press covered), who would have the incentive to raise a question?

    I really think we’re only seeing cases where by some fluke, the corruption hit surface in Jackson. I would wish to be wrong.

    So the upshot is that one collateral damage from the “Zeus” is a general loss of confidence. Some of the things I’ve read (that aren’t in Curtis’s book, and aren’t fully understood by the public– mostly in the record in the Wilson v. Scruggs case) are worse than I would have guessed, even with a dim view of Mr. Peters that dates back to the early 80s.

    • Larry says:

      It’s what we don’t know that is truly scary. I can say that in all my years of practice and on the bench I never saw any situation where I thought anything akin to what happened in the Scruggs cases was going on. I have asked lawyers across east Mississippi whether they had ever experienced anything like that, and every one I have asked has replied in the negative.
      My earnest hope is that the infection was limited to the ones who have been identified and cut out, leaving the scar tissue and lesions to heal. Still, one can never be sure, and that is the most insidious, treacherous aspect of what they did: the undermining of confidence in the system, which is the most damnable violation of his oath that a lawyer can commit.

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