While we await Friday’s responses in Ex Rel Rigsby there were other developments yesterday with the litigation involving the Katrina Litigation Group. As we expected the racketeering suit was dealt a blow with the disqualification of the Rigsby sisters and the Katrina Litigation Group. The issues in Shows were virtually identical to McIntosh and other policyholder lawsuits involving the old Scruggs Katrina Group. It will be interesting to see how this suit in particular is impacted as Racketeering is specialized litigation that requires deep pockets to litigate. My blog partner Nowdy tells me the McIntosh family has retained Chip Merlin to represent them. Excellent choice IMHO. Here is today’s Anita Lee Sun Herald story:
A federal judge on Wednesday disqualified from a Katrina lawsuit all former Scruggs Katrina Group attorneys, who in June 2007 filed a racketeering case against State Farm and its vendors.
U.S. District Judge William H. Barbour Jr., presiding over the case in Jackson, followed the lead of a federal judge in Gulfport.
On April 4, U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. disqualified the attorneys, more recently known as the Katrina Litigation Group, from 178 State Farm cases pending before him. Senter disqualified the lawyers because two former State Farm insiders set to testify for policyholders had been paid as consultants. It is unethical to pay witnesses.
Senter, followed by Barbour, also disqualified the two former Katrina adjusters, Ocean Springs sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby, from testifying on the policyholders’ behalf or providing documents taken from State Farm for the cases.
Barbour’s ruling came in the case of Glenda Shows and 22 other policyholders who accused State Farm companies of engaging in a criminal enterprise with engineering firms to cheat policyholders out of money owed for Katrina damage.
The law firms disqualified Wednesday were the Barrett Law Office in Lexington, David Nutt and Nutt & McAlister in Ridgeland, and DeWitt “Sparky” Loveless and the Loveless Law Firm in Destin.