Well, so says Steve Patterson in a pleading filed Wednesday:
In July 2009, when Scruggs was being temporarily held in Atlanta, Georgia, where Patterson and Scruggs were both in transition to Oxford, Mississippi as witnesses for the DeLaughter trial, Scruggs, on repeated occasions, told Patterson that he was going to settle this case, that he felt responsible for the case and that when he settled, he would pay sufficient funds to dismiss all defendants, specifically including defendant, Patterson, and defendant, Patterson, would be out no money or settlement funds at all in the case. The consideration agreed to for Scruggs settling the matter on behalf of Patterson was that Patterson would not file a claim against Scruggs. Scruggs has now settled the case without notifying defendant, Patterson, or his counsel, and has materially breached the settlement agreement that Scruggs himself made with Patterson and this action seeks enforcement of that settlement agreement. Patterson requests that Scruggs be required to reimburse Patterson for any settlement, between defendant, Patterson, and the plaintiff, Wilson, or any jury verdict against Patterson, along with attorney’s fees and costs for the wrongful breach of the agreement as well as punitive damages for the intentional and reckless breach of the settlement agreement..
Uh, is this an agreement not to indemnify for a criminal act?
I’m not sure I’d have put that down in a federal court pleading, but there it is.
Steve also alleges that all he did in the Wilson case was introduce Peters and Langston, but that he, like Srgt. Schultz knew nothing about the contacts with the judge, and, even more annoyingly, got nothing for his troubles:
2. Patterson’s only involvement in the circumstances surrounding this action was that he was asked by Scruggs’ representatives to find local counsel in Jackson, Mississippi, for the Wilson asbestos case. Patterson had known Attorney Ed Peters (“Peters”) for years and recommend Ed Peters to Scruggs as local counsel. The only action taken by Patterson was introducing Scruggs and his legal team to Peters so that Peters could be the consulting local counsel in the Wilson litigation.
3. At no time did Patterson have any direct contact with Circuit Judge, Bobby DeLaughter, nor did he attend any meetings when Judge DeLaughter was present. Specifically, Patterson never committed any criminal act whatsoever, such as bribery or fraud, and never committed any act which would amount to general negligence, gross negligence, breach of contract or any other action of whatsoever kind which would cause, contribute to, or relate in any way to any damages allegedly sustained by the plaintiff.
4. Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges that Scruggs is guilty of bribing Judge DeLaughter, and defrauding the plaintiff, by and through Peters, and that those actions caused a favorable result in the Wilson case. Patterson had no involvement at all in those circumstances other than introducing Scruggs to the local counsel, Peters. Patterson received no funds, was not compensated in any way, shape or form and is therefore guilty of no active negligence, but at most, passive negligence (which he denies), and was completely unaware of the possibility that Scruggs would allegedly perform any criminal act of any sort to bring potential liability upon himself and others.
I like that phrase– he was “asked… to find local counsel in Jackson”. That’s it. That’s what he was up to.
Here’s the Patterson cross claim