Judge Allows Intervention In Sealed Court Case - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Judge Allows Intervention In Sealed Court Case

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By David Kenney - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT-TV) There's new progress in efforts to uncover the details of a 2007 settlement between Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, and State Farm Insurance.

It came after a multi-million dollar class action settlement, dissolving a investigation into State Farms unwillingness, to pay insurance claims, to hurricane Katrina victims.

This week Federal Court Judge David Bramlette ruled that he will allow WLBT, it's affiliates and the web site Ya'll Politics to intervene in the closed settlement, possibly uncovering what State Farm and Attorney Hood agreed upon behind closed doors.

In early 2009, Attorney General Hood refused to answer questions relating to the settlement. In the pact, Hood agreed not to pursue legal action against State Farm, who was accused of not paying insurance policy holders, who had flood damage.

Those challenging the court to open the documents, say they believe the public deserves to know why the criminal charges against the insurance company, were never pursued.

"I believe the law is very strong that the files should be open and more importantly that the public has a very strong interest in knowing what's in those files. Ultimately the judge will be the arbitrator of that question," said attorney Andy Taggart of Ya'll Politics. 

The media outlets will have thirty days to file a formal request with the court to get the documents unsealed.

They say it violates their first amendment rights of news gathering and reporting as well as Mississippi's public records act.

We contacted Attorney General Hood today, but he declined to comment on Judge Bramlette's ruling.

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