Former Special Assistant Attorney General and retired Major General Al Hopkins released the following statement in response to Monday's announcement by Attorney General Jim Hood that he has filed a new, second lawsuit against State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. in Hinds County Circuit Court. Hopkins is also a candidate for Attorney General, hoping to unseat Hood.
"As a Gulf Coast resident and a Mississippian, I read with interest the filing of the new State Farm suit by the Attorney General, because getting the case right is critical to the victims. Mississippians expect more from their Attorney General than headlines, they expect the Attorney General to get the case right so that can recover their homes and daily lives. If Attorney General Hood had handled the suit properly the first time, Judge Senter would not have rejected the settlement, our fellow Mississippians would be that much closer to getting the relief that they deserve, and there would be no need for this suit. Attorney General Hood only files it now because he botched it the first time, causing Mississippians to get delays in their relief, and now he's desperate to get headlines for the political race he is in and his desire for another headline. The people it hurts the most are those who've waited the longest for relief.
"An experienced lawyer would simply continue the case until the agreement was fulfilled. Once the agreement was fulfilled, the case could be safely dismissed with prejudice. Any crimes that were committed should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Mississippians deserve no less. Yet, a federal court found Hood's settlement to be unfair to policyholders-our fellow Mississippians-and the Attorney General has dismissed his criminal case. So Attorney General Hood mishandled the case, obtained an unfair result, and dismissed his criminal case. It appears he lost on all accounts.
"Clearly, in his first attempt he was more interested in recovering the $5 million for his own office's expenses from the State Farm settlement than in recovering the losses to the people of South Mississippi. That's why it's time for Mississippi to get the politics out of the Attorney General's office and hire a new lawyer with experience whose sole ambition is justice for all Mississippians."