Neilson sues Dawson, Lange, 'Tort' publisher for alleged lies in book

By Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal

OXFORD – FBI agent Hal Neilson has sued the authors of “Kings of Tort,” a book he claims defamed him and contributed to severe heart problems.

Neilson of Oxford, through his attorney Christi R. McCoy, filed the six-page complaint in the Circuit Court of Lafayette County, asking for actual, compensatory and punitive damages for his mental pain and suffering, attorneys’ fees, court costs, and loss of past and future earnings.

He accuses them of “wilful, wanton, reckless and … deliberate indifference” to what he terms falsehoods that severely damaged his reputation and health.

He is suing Tom Dawson of Oxford and Alan Lange of Jackson, who wrote the book, which chronicles the saga of then-Oxford attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and his downfall from a judicial bribery scandal that rocked the Mississippi legal community in 2007-2008.

He’s also suing the book’s publisher, Pediment Publishing in Minnesota, and “defendants John Does 1-25 and XYZ Corporation,” who may be liable. The lawsuit says their correct names will be substituted at the appropriate time.

Dawson and Lange could not be reached immediately for comment today.

Neilson’s lawsuit is just one side of a legal argument. He’s asking for a jury trial.

An FBI employee more than two decades, Neilson recently was acquitted of two federal counts and had three others dismissed on allegations he lied to investigators about his financial interests in the FBI’s Oxford building.

He has blamed his legal problems on a feud with then-U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee of Oxford, whom Neilson reported to the Department of Justice post-9/11 for alleged abuse of power with a regional investigation into scores of residents with Middle Eastern surnames.

Dawson was alleged to be part of that investigation, and in the lawsuit, Neilson claims Dawson, Greenlee and others set out “to destroy” him, including through “falsehoods” in “Kings of Tort.”

Specifically, the book terms Neilson so untrustworthy that Dawson, Greenlee and then-Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hailman conspired to have him removed from the Scruggs investigation.

Greenlee has repeatedly declined to comment on these allegations. Hailman could not be reached immediately for comment.

For more, read Friday’s Daily Journal or come back to NEMS360.com.