Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sid Salter: McDaniel seems to think state voters are incapable of separating truth from fiction

Okay, so the latest political tantrum from state Sen. Chris McDaniel operates on this narrative – he “demands” that Mississippi television stations stop running ads funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which make the claim that McDaniel is a trial lawyer.

McDaniel wants to be called “a civil defense attorney” while his opponents have labeled him “a personal injury trial lawyer.”

As they did in the 2014 Senate race against former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, the U.S. Chamber ads paint McDaniel as a trial lawyer who "made money suing Mississippi businesses, making things harder for folks trying to just earn a living." The Ellisville attorney faced the same allegations in 2014 after it was revealed that McDaniel was successful in trying a personal injury case on behalf of his cousin. The cousin, an oil rig worker who has since died, was awarded $7 million in the case.

There were other cases, but McDaniel says other lawyers in his firm tried those cases. In denying that he is a trial lawyer, McDaniel’s campaign argued in a press release which read in part: "His law firm's historical focus . . . is on municipal law, corporate transactional work, and protecting corporate clients from civil lawsuits filed by trial lawyers."

McDaniel was more focused in the letter to TV stations: “Over the course of my legal career, my casework has been almost exclusively, with very few exceptions, dedicated to corporate transactional work and defending my clients from civil lawsuits brought by trial lawyers.”

McDaniel claims that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is misrepresenting his legal career. But the candidate’s own Hortman, Harlow, Bassi, Robinson & McDaniel law firm’s website page lists the following “practice areas” in which McDaniel claims expertise: “General litigation, insurance defense, personal injury, commercial litigation, constitutional law (civil rights), education law, consumer products litigation, mass tort litigation, and complex multi-party litigation.”

By most reasonable definitions, personal injury, consumer products litigation, and mass tort litigation would qualify under the expertise of a trial lawyer.

Twenty years ago, the escalating political cold war between the state’s trial lawyers and the state’s business/medical interests made tort reform a bedrock issue in Mississippi politics. The formation of the Institute for Consumers and the Environment Political Action Committee (or ICEPAC) gave rise to the influence of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Mississippi elections.

Subsequent legislative adoption of significant tort reforms during the Democratic administration of former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and later broader medical malpractice tort reforms under the GOP administration of former Gov. Haley Barbour rendered tort reform a second-tier political issue after the Barbour administration.

McDaniel’s anger over the U.S. Chamber ads seem incongruent when compared to some of the political rocks he’s thrown. In digital ad and email after digital ad and email, McDaniel calmly characterizes Republican opponent U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith as “a lifelong Democrat” even after Smith served as a Republican alongside him in the state senate and won two statewide general election campaigns as a Republican for commissioner of agriculture and commerce.

Any criticism of McDaniel by his political opponents is summarily dismissed as “fake news” or part of the supposed vast right-wing establishment conspiracy to keep him out of Washington. But McDaniel has steadfastly defended the half-truths and outright fabrications he’s slinging at opponents as exercises in “swamp draining, liberty loving and freedom fighting.”

The difference is that in 2014, McDaniel was flush with out-of-state Super PAC cash and running against an incumbent in the twilight of his career. This time around, the opponents are hitting back and have superior campaign resources. If the political cavalry is coming to the McDaniel campaign’s rescue, it had better hurry.

Both in recent political polls and in campaign finance reports, McDaniel’s campaign – which essentially began in 2014 against Cochran and has really never stopped – appears to be in danger of foundering.
And to be honest, being labeled a “trial lawyer” is not really the strongest of his current challenges.


Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com.

44 comments:

Kingfish said...

Yes, I know.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy the comments on this one are going to be good.

Anonymous said...

I think Chris McDaniel is scum, but not because of the purported fact that he is a "trial lawyer."

First, he might have a point that labeling him a "trial lawyer" is "fake news." The mere fact that his law firm does trial work does not make him a trial lawyer. I didn't read anything in this article indicating that he individually practices personal injury law - other than him representing his cousin once (such shame in representing your own family!).

Second, "trial lawyer" shouldn't be thrown around as an insult. It's as if the US Chamber of Commerce believes that individuals don't suffer legally compensable injuries.

Anonymous said...

Where do trial lawyers go to get their reputation back ... after being labeled with Chris McDaniel?

Anonymous said...

Pathetic Sid trying hard to carry the water for the tired do nothing GOP. Business has exploded in neighboring states but Mississippi is still stuck in a time warp.

Anonymous said...

@9:32

The practice areas listed in the article are attributed directly to McDaniel, not the firm in general. In fact, it was still there in his member profile this morning. I agree though that “trial lawyer” is a pejorative until you need one.

I suspect that he lists that as one of his practice areas just in case he should cross paths with another big personal injury suit.

Anonymous said...

Surely it is not lost on the McDanielite apologists posting here that, as a law firm partner, McDaniel's income is directly attributable to his partners' trial lawyerin' ways. Nice try, Chris.

Kingfish said...

If you had seen his cousin's face, you would have taken the case as well if you were able to do so.

Anonymous said...

How can a taxpayers employee write political statements??

Anonymous said...

Bigger issue than his 'cousin's case' was two years later when State Senator McDaniel argued in court AGAINST the caps that were passed by the legislature in the tort reform legislation. McD's argument was that the caps were unconstitutional - which certainly would put him in the same fraternity as his fellow trial lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:48 ---- Being a state employee does not take away one's right, or ability, to have personal opinions. Salter writes his column under his own name (not anonymous comments on blog sites) with a full disclosure. As a "taxpayer's employee" - he is not an indentured servant who belongs to the "taxpayer" 24/7/365, but actually has a life outside of Lee Hall at MSU.

Bitch on, since you have no better comment to make. I'm sure your bitching will run like water off a duck's back to anyone that matters.

Anonymous said...

More interesting to me is McDaniel's claim that much of his practice has been "corporate transactional work," while on his own website, every single listed area of expertise is litigation, not transactional.

No M&A, no real estate, no contracts, no entity formation ... nothing "transactional" listed at all.

There is literally not one word about transactional work anywhere in his own bio on his own website, but he now claims it's one of two or three pillars of his practice.

Even if I knew nothing else about the guy, the fact that he can't consistently identify --at even the most level-- what areas he practices in would be a serious red flag on the integrity front, and would prevent me from hiring him.

Anonymous said...

Dang 1224, you obviously just don't understand MickeyD. His story changes from day to day to fit whatever narrative he needs at the time. In order to argue with the Chamber's ad that he is a trial lawyer, this week he has decided to reinvent himself as a transactional lawyer. Which, of course, in his mind, he is - because he says he is. That's how this guy's fictional mind works, along with that of his cultist followers. They will believe whatever he says about himself on any subject. After all, he IS the savior, here to save all of Mississippi from those damned establishment and swamp creatures. And he and he alone can save the world which he will single handedly do if we would only entrust him with our vote (and don't forget the dollars - those IP stays can get quite expensive).

Just as his inability to describe his law practice would prevent you from hiring him, his inability to say anything other than flag (which the US Senate has no influence over), Barbour, McConnell, Establishment, Vote stealing, Democrat - is enough for many to be prevented from hiring him now.

Anonymous said...

If an associate at my firm went around representing that he was mainly a transactional lawyer with a bio like that on my website, he wouldn’t have a bio on my website for long. Just shady as hell.

Anonymous said...

Just who the hell is the U.S Chamber and what business do they have dabbling in Mississippi politics. Up until the old guard RINO establishment became afraid of State Senator Chris McDaniel, you never heard of the U.S. chamber. Perhaps they left off part of their name, the pot part. Obviously they are full of crap.

Trial lawyer? If you need legal counsel to help you with a case against someone who has harmed you, you get a “Trial Lawyer”. Trial lawyers are not criminals. The big surprise in the campaign is tha no one has mentioned the fact that Mike Espy is affiliated with Morgan & Morgan, a trial lawyer law firm.

Anonymous said...

My problem with McDaniel is he thinks he is the only person who switched to the Republican party for these noble reasons and everyone else is following in HIS footsteps and they should be scrutinized and are beneath him. His arrogance is a major turn off.

Anonymous said...

1:49, ask the Plaintiff's bar and Chuck McRae if they have ever heard of the Chamber before McDufus.

Anonymous said...

1:49, you as well as the other members of your McD cult obviously have no political background in the state. The US Chamber has representative groups all around the state in most every city. The Chamber's membership consists of small to large businesses here and nationwide.

But the Chamber got deeply involved in MS back in the mid-90's when ICEPAC - an invisible group that never filed any campaign finance reports showing where their money came from or how it was spent - purchased almost $400,000 of TV ads in favor of certain trial lawyers running for judicial positions, or against more reasonable candidates who were not part of the plantiff's bar. Because of the runaway control of the trial lawyers in certain judicial (hellhole) districts - where Dickey once said you bought the verdict before the jury was ever seated - the Chamber has been involved representing their member's interests in this state every since.

But for someone from McD's camp to talk about "what business do they have dabbling in Mississippi politics" is so laughable that it could double up any reasonable reader. McD's multi-million dollar expenditures in 2014 came almost exclusively from out of state contributors - individuals who have NO connection or interests in the State. And again this year, 90% of the money to his campaign has come from out of state - with NO connection to the state. What business do those couple of folks have 'dabbling in our politics'? At least the Chamber has membership in the state and is representing their members. Do you even know who the Mercers or the Uline (Schlitz interests) families are? Can you give any reason why they are 'dabbling in our state's politics'?

Anyone who lists on his website bio that his specialties are "personal injury" or "mass tort litigation" doesn't fit your description and justification for being a trial lawyer. Nice try, but just like the other part of your argument, it fails on its face.

Anonymous said...

Chris McDaniel is a scum bag candidate because he is a trial lawyer. Mike Espy is wonderful and culture candidate (and also a trial lawyer).

As for Sid, he is irrelevant beyond his ability to drive post counts on JJ.

Anonymous said...

On the surface, I am opposed to McDaniel. However, when the people who have held MS down for decades are vitriolic against someone then they must be good. As a result, I plan to vote for McDaniel.

We have survived (barely) the current crowd, McDaniel can't be any worse.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how much time, effort and money is being expended to defeat this nobody McDaniel. Hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

10:48 Agreed. Where's the freakin' AG. Salter should not be allowed to promote political views. Period.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. "Salter should not be allowed to promote political views. Period"

Questions: Are you a 2nd Amendment supporter? Do you realize that there are other amendments to the Constitution in addition to the 2nd? Like maybe, the 1st? Where does one give up his right to freedom of speech, or expression, just because he becomes an employee of a state institution? How far would you like to carry this concept - what can state employees say or do while on their own time? Can they attend the church of their choice? Can they attend community functions? Can they vote for the person of their choice? Can they put a bumper sticker on their own personal vehicle, or a political sign in their front yard?

Or do you only find a problem with people who have an opinion other than your own.

Never mind; dont bother to answer. I am sure we all know what the answer really is, no matter what you reply.

Anonymous said...

5:08 -- As it turns out, Salter actually has more protection in speaking his mind than you do, assuming you're a private sector employee.

First Amendment case law is very clear that Salter's employer, MSU, cannot fire him or otherwise retaliate for his comments on issues of public concern. So even if the AG were foolish enough to take up the issue (and he isn't), there's literally nothing anybody anywhere can do to Sid.

In your case, by contrast, your private employer can fire you for your public expression and its perfectly legal.

Anonymous said...

It's not that Salter should be constrained in his comments. It's the fact that he spends half his time (while on the payroll of MSU and taxpayers) dreaming up, drafting, finalizing and collecting money selling his written opinions.

Put an MSU Industrial Engineer with a stop-watch on Salter's ass for a week and get back to me with an answer.

Anonymous said...

McD should be a US Senator today. I used to think it was his extremist supporters that cost him the last election against the corpse of Cochran. But now....

Anonymous said...

623, your comments would indicate that you have already put a stop watch on Salter. Please provide us with your independent, accurate analysis. Or would you rather admit that you don't have a damn idea in the world about what Salter does and when? Because I'll put a hundred on the fact that you have no idea, no proof, no evidence of anything you said, I'm willing to bet that you don't even respond. If you do, bring the proof with you - so that your b/s claim will be supported.

Anonymous said...

ESPN didn't exactly honor Curt Schilling's 1st ammendment rights.

Anonymous said...

the fact he listed “insurance defense” in his bio leads me to believe he is a defense lawyer. no trial lawyer would ever put insurance defense in his bio.



Anonymous said...

In 2011, during Tate Reeves’s first run for Lt. Governor, Dan Mullen was forced to cancel a fundraiser at his home for Reeves because the University wanted to be careful about alienating anyone running for public office who might have a say-so in the University’s funding. Now, consider this was in the face of a campaign where Tate was widely acknowledged to be the leader in the race. Fast forward 7 years and University employee Sid Salter is absolutely on the warpath against McDaniel. Unless you look at $2500 push button polling, McDaniel is a far more viable candidate today than Hewes was in 2011. Perhaps MSU could do a better job today trying to protect its funding stream than it did in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply, 8:39. No, I don't have specific evidence as to how much time (on my dime) Salter spends writing and selling his drivel or how many hours he spends on an MSU phone marketing his product. That's why I suggested one of the campus industrial engineering students put a stop watch on his ass. If you believe he only engages in this crap when he locks his office door at 3:00 pm, you're probably nuts.

But, your immediate reaction of 'you can't prove it' is interesting.

<6:23>

Anonymous said...

@11:20pm. ESPN doesn’t have to honor Schilling’s, or anyone else’s 1st Amendment rights. The 1st amendment, along with the rest of the bill of rights, places restrictions on what the government can and cannot do to the citizenry. There’s no prohibition, as I believe another commenter noted, against a private employer regulating their employee’s speech. Do I approve of ESPN’s apparent double standard at times? No. Do they have the right to exercise that double standard? Yes.

Anonymous said...

Sid Salter and Paul Gallo should be required to wear cheerleader outfits with CHS on the front whenever "reporting" on this senate race.

Anonymous said...

The u s chamber is for open borders. That means Cindy can get CHEAP labor to round up her straying cattle. If you think she will back President Trump you are living a dream.

Anonymous said...

649, my response was to your definitive statement "THE FACT THAT HE SPENDS HALF HIS TIME.....b/s, b/s". Glad you now admit that you in fact have no facts. But yet, you are one of the continual botched that make specific accusations on this anonymous site accusing anyone you don't agree with of corrupt policies or practices. I called you out because it was obvious that you had no facts to cover your little ass. Frankly, I don't care what Salter does or when he does it. I see no need to put a stopwatch on his ass. I do see a,need to call out crap statements such as the one you made, asserting something about which you have absolutely no idea or knowledge. I would much rather read Salter's commentary, and evaluate it as I see fit, than listen to idiots like you that only want to bitch about other folks who you disagree with.

Thanks for admitting that you know absolutely nothing. Didn't need the admission since it was obvious, but glad to know you recognize your ignorance.

Anonymous said...

To April 25, 2018 at 1:49 PM,
"Old guard" real and true Republican here. No "RINO". Please form your own party and stay out of ours. No one is afraid of Chris the extremist candidate. Just afraid of the aftermath of the rare circumstantial election occurrences that would allow him to win the race, hold office and sit, head swelled and arms folded and completely ineffective in representing Mississippi.

Now, I will agree with you on the U.S Chamber. I do not believe in that type of campaign strategy and style of advertising, even though I would never support McD.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish: Is that you at 9:55. Wow! The anger. I know you say you never post anonymously, so 'she' must be Sid. Get a grip, Sid. You need an enema.

We ALL should 'care' if we pay the salaries of employees to do a job for us and they spend time on our dime making a second income. And for you to deny that's happening is sheer idiocy.

The university should get rid of Salter and hire a journalism graduate at half that pay.

Anonymous said...

No, dumbass. That was not KF. And, you lose on the second guess as well. Not Sid. Just a good, local Jackson boy that enjoys poking holes in comments that idiots make.

Just as you have admitted that you know nothing, you also must admit that you know nothing about Salter's employment terms at my University, MSU. Neither do I, by the way, and that's why I am not running crap out of the lower orifice of my body, as you are, and spewing it on this site. Whether Sid spends fifteen minutes a week writing his column in the hallowed halls of Lee - or does it on his lunch hour - or does it at home at night - I don't give a damn. The amount he 'makes' from writing this column is less than what I will waste tonight on a coulple of toddies and dinner, so his spending a few minutes while being a "salaried employee" of the state doesn't concern me. I am sure that the hours he puts in over and above 40 each and every week more than makes up for what you are bitching about.

Face facts - something that is an alien thought, remote as it is to you - the real truth is that you don't like his calling out your "saviour" McD and all his failings. If Salter were writing about anything else, or even better, supporting McD, you would probably be cheering his courage for standing up against the man and expressing himself.

Anonymous said...

4:38 - My guess is, with your anger level, you won't make it through two toddies and dinner. You'll bust a gut, the paramedics will be called to Krystal and you'll be pronounced dead before you get to the transient wing at UMMC.

Anonymous said...

MS State is a tax exempt institution......no political talk allowed folks if it even APPEARS someone within the organization is favoring once candidate over another: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-07-41.pdf

Issue Advocacy vs. Political Campaign Intervention
Section 501(c)(3) organizations may take positions on public policy issues,
including issues that divide candidates in an election for public office. However, section 501(c)(3) organizations must avoid any issue advocacy that functions as political campaign intervention. Even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the statement is at risk of violating the political campaign intervention prohibition if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate. A statement can identify a candidate not only by stating the candidate’s name but also by other means such as showing a picture of the candidate, referring to political party affiliations, or other distinctive features of a candidate’s platform or biography.
All the facts and circumstances need to be considered to determine if the
advocacy is political campaign intervention.

Anonymous said...

The amount he 'makes' from writing this column is less than what I will waste tonight on a coulple of toddies and dinner, ...

How do you know?

Anonymous said...

"Trial lawyer" means damage suit lawyer who represents plaintiffs, primarily. I can't tell whether McDaniel primarily represented plaintiffs or not--not that there is anything wrong with that. Anyone know? Interesting how so many seem to be concerned that anyone would think they supported McDaniel. He has made some mistakes, like all politicians do, but if you want someone conservative (as opposed to a Republican that acts like a Democrat --Cochran types), then McDaniel may be your man. Educate me as I am undecided: If you are conservative, what's wrong with McDaniel or why should I avoid supporting him?

Anonymous said...

651 am, although Salter might like to consider himself as MS State, he us not. The rules you quote, as tbey specifically state, are about an organization. The exempt organization is subject to restrictions - but absolutely not individuals associated with it or employed by it.

Go back home, study those Google searches some more and come back and try again tomorrow. But next time - try a little garder. This long cut and paste about 501c3 organizations was an extremely weak effort.

Anonymous said...

839, what Sid charges for his weekly columns has been a known fact for years among the political hacks. Easy number to find out if you want it. Same was true of Minor's dribble while he (and others) disseminated it; or Crawford, or any of the other columnists. And my dinner was nice last night, but not overtly expensive.

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