U.S. SC sinks AG Hood's water suit

John O'Brien Jan. 25, 2010, 5:19pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal brought by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood over a groundwater suit against the city of Memphis.

The suit, filed by private attorneys hired by Hood to represent the State, alleged Memphis diverted groundwater from underneath Mississippi. The suit had been unsuccessful every step of its way to the High Court.

The suit sought $1 billion in damages.

A federal judge first ruled the state of Tennessee needed to be included as a defendant, and attorneys for Memphis argued the complaint did not show any actual injury that had taken place.

"Plaintiff avers that injunctive relief is necessary because Defendants' conduct would otherwise continue 'until the groundwater quantities and qualities are jeopardized or damaged,'" their motion to dismiss says.

"The inescapable corollary to this allegation is that Mississippi's groundwater quantities and qualities are not yet jeopardized or damaged."

Hood hired a campaign contributor to represent the State in the case.

Don Barrett gave $5,000 to Hood's 2003 campaign and was on board with the suit when it was filed in 2005, along with attorneys from Daniel, Coker, Horton & Bell in Oxford, Miss., and attorney George B. Ready.

Mississippi political Web site Y'all Politics wrote that the Supreme Court's decision could be seen "as solid defeat for Hood, and a missed opportunity for massive attorney fees for his hand-picked counsel."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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State of Tennessee
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Knoxville, TN 37924

Mississippi Attorney General
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Jackson, MS 39201

U.S. Supreme Court
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Washington, DC 20543

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