Like a Good Neighbor?

In my post that revealed the date the Missouri Qui Tam duo law firms actually met with the Rigsby sisters I noted that Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny had tangled with State Farm before per page 3 of their Response to State Farm’s Motion to Disqualify. Following is an excerpt from the response that mentions the case:

Perhaps State Farm is still smarting from the multi-million dollar punitive damages verdict BFRG obtained against State Farm for malicious prosecution in Missouri courts, recently affirmed on appeal and final. See, Hampton v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., — S.W.3d —-, 2008 WL 65107 (Mo.Ct.App. 2007)

Being an inquisitive soul and knowing we’d never hear about a case like this from the blogging insurance defense bar at Insurance Coverage Blog or Folo, I entered the search string in google and up popped the case. As I read the facts I was reminded of a comment left by Bellesouth today on our recent Todd Graves thread:

Why do people defend them knowing that they are all geared up for malicious conduct? What makes people assume that State Farm is pure as the driven snow and the Rigsbys are out to get something for it. Continue reading “Like a Good Neighbor?”

Well, let me call you sweetheart…

Since you say you’re not a health insurance defense lawyer – although your website lists that as one of your practice areas…and, I can’t call you a moderator because you say you’re not – although the dictionary says a moderator is somebody in charge of discussion

Since you seem to be a good lookin’, good cookin’, music lovin’ man, I guess I could just call you sweetheart – but we’ve never met and that would be wacky…and wacky I’m not

So from now on, I’ll just call you an SOB and hope that makes you happy – works for me.

Slabbed Congratulates Women of the Storm and NOLA Universities on Scoring a Presidential Debate

I received the email blast from WWL-AM late this morning that Women of the Storm announced New Orleans would be holding the first presidential debate this year. Congratulations ladies and God Bless your work and mission. Here are some excerpts from the breaking story courtesy of our friends at the Times Picayune:

Internet giants Google and YouTube announced plans today for a major post-convention presidential forum in New Orleans, a move that could provide a national boost for the city after it was spurned last year by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Google, the dominant Web search engine, and YouTube, the online video platform, are proposing the forum with the major party presidential candidates be held Sept. 18 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just after the parties complete their conventions in late August and early September. It would be eight days before the first scheduled presidential commission debate in Oxford, Miss. Continue reading “Slabbed Congratulates Women of the Storm and NOLA Universities on Scoring a Presidential Debate”

It’s the Dog’s Fault: State Farm & the New Fido Defense to Claims Dumping

State Farm has utterly failed in their transparent attempts to character assassinate Todd Graves, Chip Robertson and Tony DeWitt. Their forays into the sex lives of the Rigsby sisters has failed to shut them up. So what’s next? That’s right ladies and gents, lets blame the claims dumping allegations on Kerri Rigsby’s dog. Here at slabbed we’ve coined a new term for this new and stunningly brilliant legal strategy. Henceforth it is now know as the Fido defense. Mr Claimsguy do you think this dog will actually hunt?

David Rossmiller expounds this new legal theory asserting State Farm’s innocence best:

The money collected, however, appears from the testimony not to have gone directly to Kerri Rigsby but into an account for something called Payton Properties — recall that Payton is the name of her dog, and recall also that there exists an 8 by 10 photo of the dog that was produced at the deposition.  The account, it seems, was not for the dog, however, despite the name of the company. It was, however, named after the dog, of this we can be sure. Continue reading “It’s the Dog’s Fault: State Farm & the New Fido Defense to Claims Dumping”

“They Blew the Whistle on What They Believed was Wrongdoing”

I made my early morning newspaper rounds and saw both the Sun Herald and the Clarion Ledger picked up the story of the reply briefs submitted by the Missouri Qui Tam team.  We start with the Sun Herald coverage by Michael Newsom:

Attorneys for the two women at the center of the State Farm whistleblower lawsuit asserted on Monday their clients did what they thought was right and legally recovered evidence against the company.

 Attorneys for Cori and Kerri Rigsby filed a 51-page, 17-point rebuttal in federal court Monday to State Farm’s counterclaims the two women conspired with lawyer Dickie Scruggs and other attorneys to steal confidential business records and profit from false charges against the insurer, which has been sued by Scruggs and others after Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading ““They Blew the Whistle on What They Believed was Wrongdoing””

Politics and Grass Lawn Part 4: Threaten the Local Paper

I have limited time and literally too many topics to write about but I could not let Brian Carriere’s path to political self destruction go without mention. To catch up our new readers Grass Lawn was an historic mansion so important to the City of Gulfport it was included in the city seal. Taken by Katrina, it’s importance as a symbol of recovery was even recognized by FEMA who changed program regulations to allow for the use of federal funds in its replication. Grass Lawn fell victim to the old style tit for tat gotcha politics that held back Gulfport for years before the last election. We have posted entries on the topic beginning here.

Just when you think City Council member and Grass Lawn opponent Brian Carriere finally screwed his head on right we get today’s Sun Herald story where he threatens the paper with legal action because they dared to print an email he sent out blaming a secretary for the political problems his stand on Grass Lawn caused him. Councilman Carriere how far your star has fallen……

City Councilman Brian Carriere was less than pleased with a Sun Herald report over the weekend about a scathing e-mail he sent out last week threatening to fire a council clerk he believes is floating rumors about his political future. Continue reading “Politics and Grass Lawn Part 4: Threaten the Local Paper”

On the Meaning of Lecky King Taking the 5th Amendment

I found a great explanation, beginning on page 20 of the Answer to the Defendant’s Counterclaim in the Affirmative Defense section. I wondered aloud if State Farm were grasping at straws in their recent filings on the Qui Tam case. I wondered privately if the lawyers at Butler Snow knew anything about the False Claims Act after reading their briefs. I’ve seen far better work out of that firm.

The salad days of using Dickie Scruggs as a boogie man to bulldoze the insurance civil litigation are over. The McIntosh family has a real blue Chipper on board in Chip Merlin. The Rigsby sisters, who happen to be clients of the Missouri duo, have specialized False Calims Act Lawyers who actually appear to know their Qui from their Tam. Let’s join them in reading some excerpts from today’s Answer to Defendant’s Counterclaim. You can find that and all of today’s filings on our Qui Tam page.

Since at least September 3, 2005, State Farm Insurance, E. A. Renfroe & Company, and its other many co-conspirators have been engaged in a concerted effort to defraud the United States through its National Flood Insurance Program.

State Farm sent a “catastrophe team” to the Gulfcoast for the purpose of carrying out a complex scheme to reduce the amount of cash outlay that State Farm and its reinsurers would have to expend in paying Katrina damage claims.

One mechanism selected for this purpose and process was a plan to push as much of the coverage issues as possible off on the National Flood Insurance Program through the submission of false and fraudulent claims.

The chief facilitator of this plan was a State Farm employee by the name of Alexis King. Continue reading “On the Meaning of Lecky King Taking the 5th Amendment”

And Alex the Question is: When was April 14, 2006? (Updated)

Why was State Farm fishing for the date of that April meeting between the Rigsby sisters and the Qui tam Attorney’s referenced in Cori and Kerri Rigsby’s depositions? To set up today’s legal filings let me quote from Kerri Rigsby’s November 20, 2007 deposition on page 21.

Q. Did you access that file in March of 2006?
A. If you say I did, I believe you. I would not be surprised if I didn’t, but I don’t know if I looked at it in March 2006.
Q. Well, if I ask you to assume that you accessed that file on March 11th, 2006, starting at 2:20 in the afternoon, you wouldn’t deny that, would you?
A. I wouldn’t. I would not.

Why is this exchange important? The Rigsby sisters were not clear on the dates or whom they met with in the Spring of 2006. State Farm knew the exact date and time they accessed their system in March 2006. But there it is starting on page 181 of Kerri’s deposition no exact date was specified by State Farm’s lawyers because State Farm didn’t know the date. Let’s return to page 67 of Cori Rigsby’s deposition from November 19, 2007 to see more of the fishing expedition. Continue reading “And Alex the Question is: When was April 14, 2006? (Updated)”

Breaking: Graves, Bartle and Marcus Asking for Sanctions Against State Farm

Time for State Farm to put up or shut up.  Page 11 starts the counter attack.

Comparing these accusations against the Rigsbys’ actual testimony, it is apparent that State Farm had little regard for the truth in drafting its motion to disqualify. Where does Cori Rigsby state that she gave her counsel carte blanche to retrieve State Farm documents directly from State Farm’s database? Where does Kerri Rigsby admit “secret” [sic] meetings with Graves where State Farm’s databases were accessed?
State Farm’s unsubstantiated accusations are worthy of strong rebuke and sanction under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Merely hoping that Relators’ counsel was engaged in wrongdoing does not make it so. Actual proof is required. State Farm presented no proof in support of its claims because the wrongdoing it alleges is make-believe. Continue reading “Breaking: Graves, Bartle and Marcus Asking for Sanctions Against State Farm”

Over the wire or under the wig – ex parte Part 3 (revised)

Improper contact intended to influence judicial decisions is certainly not a new concept. Earwigging, for example, is as old as the practice of wig-wearing judges.

The idea of making Internet blogs an innocent and unknowing partner in crime, so to speak, is as new as the reference to blog comments in the Motion for Change of Venue in US v Scruggs and Judge Mills’ recent remarks that led me to write the first of these three posts on the subject.

Blogs, as we know them, are less than a decade old. The term weblog didn’t exist until 1998 and first applied to a page of links that are now known as a blogroll. US v Scruggs, however, made that “roll” a role as blogs delivered breaking news, informed opinion, and public reaction in one powerful punch.

Mississippi’s own Y’all Politics and two others popular with Mississippi readers were the subject of Blogoshpere becomes authority and issue in Scruggs case in a February issue of Legal News Line, an on-line publication of the US Chamber of Commerce.

The blog world may yet have an impact on the outcome of the case. Scruggs’ defense team said the coverage has potentially influenced the jury pool and wants the case moved to a federal court outside of Mississippi. Continue reading “Over the wire or under the wig – ex parte Part 3 (revised)”