I received a report yesterday of a $322 million jury verdict in a Smith County asbestos drilling mud case. I have few details to report at this time.

I believe that Union Carbide was the defendant. The verdict consisted of $22 million in compensatory damages and $300 million in punitive damages.

Allen Hossley of Texas was reportedly the plaintiff’s lawyer. No word yet on whether plaintiff also brought in Gene Tullos of Raleigh to "Ole Shep" the defendants in closing.

Forman Perry of Jackson was reportedly involved in the defense. The only attorney’s name that I’ve heard is Marcy Croft. Given how big defense firms staff and try cases, I doubt that Croft first chaired the trial because she was admitted to practice in 1998. I suspect that a more experienced lawyer first chaired the trial. Who was it?

I hear that "national counsel" tried the case for the defense. That typically means a lawyer from outside Mississippi. I’m not sure that there is a venue in the state where that would be a worse idea than Smith County.

I assume that Judge Eddie Bowen was the trial court judge.

My Take:

I don’t know what drilling mud is, but it’s my new practice specialty.

Smith County is an odd venue. On the surface it looks like it would be real conservative like Rankin or Simpson County. But underneath the surface it is very dangerous for defendants.