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.

I found this on page 19.

State Farm treats its motion to disqualify as some sort of academic exercise where it is free to cite whatever rules and laws and legal principles it wants regardless of whether they have any grounding in fact. Yet, clearly this is not an academic exercise. This is the real world. There are real reputations being damaged by State Farm’s unsupported and unsupportable assertions. Without a wisp of evidence, State Farm has accused a former United States Attorney of committing federal crimes. This should have consequences.
Not only should State Farm’s meritless motion to disqualify be denied, State Farm should be ordered to show cause why it should not be sanctioned for making baseless accusations of wrongdoing against GBM. If State Farm does not come forward with evidence to support its accusations, then it should be sanctioned and its own attorneys disqualified from continuing in this representation.

More to come as we pull down and analyze the docs.

24 thoughts on “Breaking: Graves, Bartle and Marcus Asking for Sanctions Against State Farm”

  1. Here is an interesting sentence:

    “No member of GBM ever accessed or instructed the Rigsbys to access State Farm

  2. State farm knew the date and time their system was accesssed on March 11, 2006 yet had to fish for that date in April. Rossmiller’s fantasy is going up in smoke. State Farm better produce their evidence quick because Judge Senter will certainly not like the fact State Farm mislead him in their briefs.

    sop

  3. So you agree that GBM lawyers were in the room for the March looting session?

    And there is good news in this for GBM how, exactly? Saying to the judge that they only did it once, and never touched the laptop themselves, is not exactly a robust defense.

    The “I didn’t touch it” argument is childish. If they want to defend the looting they should defend it on its merits, not dance around it with such juvenile circumlocutions.

  4. Nope they were not there and they said so – that is all a lie, a State Farm lie Mr Claimsguy and you know it.

    I would like to see State Farm put under oath so these issues can be fully fleshed out. Fantasy time is over, now we deal in cold hard facts.

    You reckon Mr Rossmiller will get an invite?

    sop

  5. Where do they deny being in the room for the March looting session?

    I went back and looked, and if it is there, I missed it. (I read it pretty fast, so I may very well have missed it. If you could furnish a page reference, that would be helpful.) All I see is that GRAVES denies being there in March (Disney World, and all) but not the firm. But like I said, I could have overlooked it. Throw the page reference out there and we will all look together.

  6. Where is your proof they were ever there Mr Claimsguy? Making these false allegations are exactly what may get Butler Snow booted from this litigation. Frankly they should have known better than to parrot Rossmiller.

  7. The Rigsby’s say they were there. They are, I believe, eyewitnesses.

    So if an eyewitness, under oath, says they were there, and the firm fails to deny it, what are we to believe?

    I think the firm’s denials, while passionate, are a little too cute. They are quite surgical about what they deny and what they don’t.

    It smells to me like table pounding (as in: “When you have the law on your side, pound the law. When you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. When you have neither the law nor the facts on your side, pound the table.”)

    But like I say: if they denied it, and I missed it, I am open to correction.

  8. A fair reading of the depositions indicates the Rigsby sisters were not clear on the dates or exactly whom they met with when. It was at that point of ambiguity that David Rossmiller spun his FEMA trailer fantasy.

    One thing me and you can agree upon is this is getting good and friend, you have a front row seat to all things Qui Tam here at Slabbed.

    sop

  9. So the lawyer’s defense depends on them impeaching their own clients? Nice.

    The road to truth here is quite plain, is it not? Put the Rigsbys and the Trailer Lawyers under oath in front of the Judge and have them all tell him exactly what happened. No carefully worded briefs, no artful declarations, just the vigorous give-and-take of questions and answers under the penalty of perjury in front of a Judge who really wants to know what happened.

    Then we will all know who has been playing games with whom. And evasions like ‘I never actually TOUCHED the computer’ will fall by the wayside.

    Because for all your anger at the State Farm lawyers, all they have done is carefully read the Rigsby’s testimony and follow it where it logically leads. They haven’t made anything up. The factual disagreements are between the Rigsbys and their own lawyers. You can’t blame State Farm for that.

    Final note: you will recall that State Farm had to burn through many iterations of SKG, Graves and others asserting multiple rounds of inappropriate and frivolous objections to actually get to where the Rigsby’s could tell this story. Their depositions had to be adjourned twice to resolve those objections. Now, perhaps, we understand why SKG/Graves fought so hard to keep State Farm from asking the questions it was entitled to ask: they knew that they would really, really hate the answers.

  10. Mr Claimsguy bob and weave all you want. It’s time for State Farm to prove their allegations against Todd Graves, Tony DeWitt et al. They knew to the second when the Rigsby sisters accessed their system on March 11, 2006 yet could not fish a date out of them for their April meeting with the Qui Tam lawyers. Of course the reason they did not know that April date was because their system was not accessed in April.

    That loud noise you heard is the State Farm Qui Tam PR train wreck. They promised us sushi grade tuna but all they served up was an ugly, smelly garfish. Now I note State Farm’s apologists are busy concocting the Fido defense where they blame Kerri Rigsby’s dog for fleecing the National Flood Insurance Program.

    The Rigsby sisters have a story to tell for certain. Next up is in the proceedings is discovery. Whether Butler Snow is part of that process or gets booted for making baseless accusations remains an open question.

    sop

  11. claimsguy, the documents they filed yesterday suggest what they “really, really” hated was State Farm twisting the answers to questions posed in their “did you beat your wife last night” strategy for deposing the Rigsby sisters.

    Sop’s absolutely correct in saying it’s time for State Farm to offer proof of their allegations and stop barking about the Rigsby sister’s dog.

  12. From the “fired up missouri” blog (via Y’all Politics):

    Todd Graves Cops to Being Present at Second Mississippi Trailer Meeting

    Based on the sworn testimony of Graves’ own client, during the second trailer meeting (at which Graves has already admitted having been in attendance) documents taken from State Farm were discussed and there’s a possibility that one of the computers used to access State Farm files was present at the meeting as well.

    What are we supposed to think of Todd Graves now that we know this? Graves was in attendance, according to testimony, at a meeting in a trailer in Pascagoula, Mississippi along with Dick and Zach Scruggs –who have since pleaded guilty to crimes connected with bribing a judge– and with two women whom the Scruggs’s had paid $150,000 to get them confidential State Farm documents. At the meeting, also according to testimony, those documents were discussed for “several hours.”

    And what ought we make of the curious fact that Graves himself doesn’t appear as one of the attorneys listed on the motion against disqualification filed yesterday by his firm? It is somewhat curious that the motion, in making a half-hearted case that Graves was not at the first trailer meeting in March 2006, relies upon “Mr. Graves’ records” in support of that point. The motion also submits that Graves would have been unable to be at the March 2006 meeting because he was “in the process of wrapping up the last of his official duties” –not because he was “at Disney world” as Graves has previously told the media. Was Graves unable or unwilling to be the one responsible for submitting these arguments to the court?

    Troubling stuff. Though not so troubling, I’m certain, that some ambitious writer from the Kansas City Star won’t make a herculean effort to reassure me and every other member of the public that Todd Graves, notwithstanding all the facts, is a swell, upstanding guy.

    Fired Up Missouri Blog
    4/29/8

  13. My prediction:

    The judge will disqualify no one and sanction no one. He leaves Graves, et al, in the case because he thinks that horse has been beaten enough, and he overrules the Graves motion for sanctions because it is meritless posturing. End result: the case soldiers on.

    Further prediction: After another 12 to 24 months of inconsequential discovery and motion practice, the QT case settles for some inconsequential amount and all sides declare victory. Plaintiffs will declare victory over any payment at all, and State Farm will declare victory over any payment that is financially immaterial to their results. This settlement will be financially immaterial.

    If I am wrong, I am wrong in favor of plaintiffs. The next most likely outcome is that State Farm grinds plaintiffs into dust.

    There you have it: I have put my nickel down. How about you boys? Care to move beyond posturing? Or are you still in the “we believe anything our side’s lawyers tell us to believe” mode?

  14. Finally, I have to say that you guys remain utterly clueless as to what is going on in these motions. You keep asking for State Farm to come up with evidence. Don’t you get it? They already have! They have filed Rigsby’s depositions! (All six of them.) That IS the evidence.

    All the testimony will be either Rigsby’s or their lawyers. Graves, et al are in the position of having to crap on their own clients in order to try and get out of the jam they are in. Do you understand what a mess this is for them? After they attack their own clients’ credibility in this proceeding, they will then have to do a 180 and try to rehabilitate them for future proceedings. Do you see how awkward that is? Graves will be saying, in effect, “I know I spent a lot of time at the last hearing telling Your Honor that my clients are unreliable and untrustworthy historians regarding anything that happened when I was in the room. But NOW I am telling you that you should believe everything they say about Renfroe and/or State Farm.

    Do you really believe the Court will not take notice of the evidentiary do-si-do that Graves will try to pull off?

    I understand that you guys are new to all of this: that reading pleadings and understand courtroom dynamics is beyond you. It must be, or you wouldn’t have fallen for the Graves PR line. The current posture of this case is a procedural nightmare for Graves. His best outcome is that he damages his own clients now but stays on the case to nudge it along to a more graceful death later on. But no Court will forget this. When you have to crap on your own client, the stain never washes off.

  15. You’re a sage observer Mr Claimsguy and your prediction is reasonable. I’ll add you’re also a man of many talents and you have my respect for your boarding/blogging abilities. I’ll check back in with my prediction when I have a bit more time later today. (Things are hopping here in Buzzard’s Roost.)

    sop

  16. Further prediction: After another 12 to 24 months of inconsequential discovery and motion practice, the QT case settles for some inconsequential amount and all sides declare victory. Plaintiffs will declare victory over any payment at all, and State Farm will declare victory over any payment that is financially immaterial to their results. This settlement will be financially immaterial.

    I am going to jump in here for a second. Under that scenario that the case settles for an inconsequential amount is ludicrous on its face. You don’t defraud the US and their taxpayers. This isn’t just a little ole civil suit buster, this is defrauding taxpayers for millions of dollars. Hellooooooo! More in a bit.

  17. claimsguy, ditto on the compliments in Sop’s last post – noting my own prediction will probably come later than his given the demands of my day.

    As a point of honor, I’m not so new to all of this and I don’t take anything on face value. Never have.

    Qui Tam is a different in many ways – and the one we’re seeing now is unrealistic expectations placed on these “citizen attorney generals” under a law that has no such expectation. In that regard, I don’t think it’s a matter of Graves or any attorney having a need to “crap on their client” when a simple, honest account of what took place will do.

    btw bellesouth, don’t feel like your jumping in – the door is always open for you and anyone else who would like to comment.

  18. Belle:

    You are making the same mistake as many before you. You are confusing allegations with reality.

    Don’t drink the Kool-Aide, Belle. Don’t buy the spin. This is a MUCH harder case than you think it is, and your legal conclusions are almost certainly wrong.

    Ask yourself this, Belle: how much of what has happened in these cases in the last, say, 3 months would you have considered “ludicrous on its face”? My guess is a whole lot. And yet all of these things happened anyway, without regard to whether you felt they were ludicrous. So clearly, whether you think something is ludicrous is absolutely no predictor that it will happen or not happen. Other forces are at work here: the law and the facts.

    At some point, you should take a step back and question the process by which you have arrived at your conclusions. After all, failing to learn from one’s mistakes is not sensible. Clearly, you have been wrong a bunch. Ask yourself if that might not be the case (at least) one more time.

  19. So tell me, Belle, what’s your batting average over these last few months? How many hits and how many misses?

    Or have you decided to give up speaking for yourself?

  20. Speaking of confusing allegations with reality Mr Claimsguy hasn’t that been exactly what State Farm and their apologists have been doing for the past 6 months or so with their viscious attacks on Graves, Robertson and DeWitt? You are so shameless – I do love it.

    sop

  21. Belle, Mr Claimsguy has met a kindred spirit here at slabbed in me. When there is money at stake a persons boarding/blogging abilities naturally elevate. I could be wrong but I think Mr Claimsguy and I met in late 2005 on a message board far away from the slabs of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

    Dreams come true
    In blue Hawaii
    And mine could all come true

    I learned from the very best. No one is perfect but Mr Claimsguy brings his A game everyday. I like that – it keeps me frosty. And I just earwigged him too – I see the finance version a good bit.

    He tells me he likes Turbo Dog, I’ll buy him one if he’s game when this is done.

    sop

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