Charles Trippe had been on the job as Gov. Rick Scott's top attorney less than a day when two state senators walked into his office and handed him a lawsuit filed in the Florida Supreme Court. The pair wanted justices to force the governor to proceed with a high-speed rail project approved by state lawmakers using $2.4 billion in federal money.
Trippe, a 58-year-old former corporate lawyer with no political experience, had one day to prepare a court brief and two days to ready himself for oral arguments. It was Trippe's first time before the state's highest court. Operating on just a few hours of sleep, he scored a victory that day in early March when the justices dismissed the case.
It was a job start no one would envy. But he has no ordinary job.
As a defendant in at least seven lawsuits since he took office in January, Scott could be the most sued governor in Florida history. And Trippe now finds himself deep in cases relating to election law, drug testing of state employees, redistricting and prison privatization.
Some speculate the avalanche of lawsuits involving Scott has more to do with dislike of the governor than his actions related to the legislation or policies in question.
But having once represented a tobacco company, Trippe is used to controversial clients.
"They're not always popular, but even unpopular clients need a lawyer," he said of the tobacco company. "The rules should apply to everybody whether they're popular or not."