The FBI is investigating Jefferson County in southwestern Mississippi, a poor area with fewer than 10,000 residents. Apparently the county is known for its very high tort settlments. For instance, when the makers of fen-phen were sued, the five plaintiffs from that county received $150 million. The 800 other fen-phen cases received a total of about $400 million.
One source notes:
Since 1995, lawyers say, Mississippi juries have returned at least 19 verdicts of $9 million or more, including 5 that exceeded $100 million each, although plaintiffs sometimes settle for less as the appeal process proceeds. Lawyers seek clients through aggressive advertising.
Mississippi state now has limited suit rewards by law, but there remain many cases filed before the relevant deadline for this limitation. One settlement recipient remarked that juries “awarded these people this money because they felt as if they were going to get a cut off of it.”
The above link offers this jaw-dropping fact:
Jefferson, with 9,740 residents, is a small county, but litigation there is a big business. An affidavit filed in June by a researcher in one case, who combed the files of the Circuit Court, said that more than 21,000 people were plaintiffs in Jefferson County from 1995 to 2000.
The possible corruption runs deep:
Bankston Drug Store, the only pharmacy in Jefferson County, has been named in hundreds of suits since the fen-phen settlements as a way for mass claims to be filed in the county.
Hilda Bankston, the pharmacy’s former owner, was subpoenaed earlier this year by the same grand jury that indicted…the others.
Bankston was asked to turn over, along with customers’ personal and prescription histories, customer and pharmacy records “that appear to be false or not produced by your company.”
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, as they say.