Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Head-Spinner at the End of the Week: the Former Chief Goes Both Ways?

The Jackson Free Press has just reported (via Twitter) something I heard a rumor of last week: that former Chief Justice Jim Smith is now of counsel to Ogden & Associates, the firm owned by Jackson plaintiffs' lawyer Ashley Ogden.

Under Chief Justice Smith's leadership, the Mississippi Supreme Court moved affirmatively (you could say aggressively) to address the need for tort reform in the State Court system. Alex Alston, former President of the Mississippi Bar, took Chief Justice Smith to task for going too far. His op-ed piece (quoted in full by folo here: was widely considered to contribute to the Chief Justice's upset loss to Jim Kitchens in the November elections.

The op-ed showed that the Smith Court had a pattern of reducing or eliminating jury awards in favor of plaintiffs, while rarely if ever reversing a victory for defendants.

Interesting news, then, for now private citizen Smith to link up with the kind of firm he usually cast his vote against while on the Court . . .

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