Judge Walker latest Order in McIntosh v State Farm takes the cake – while serving the Rigsby sisters to State Farm on a silver platter. You have to read it to believe it but it’s still unbelievable.
In motion , Defendants [State Farm joined by Renfroe] ask the Court to compel the Rigsbys to each submit to one additional hour of deposition questioning and to compel the Rigsbys to fully respond to questions regarding their unauthorized use of State Farm laptop computers and the documents (including any copies or downloaded documents) which they took from State Farm and provided to the SKG.
Defendants also request that the Court overrule the Rigsbys claims of attorney-client privilege and work product protection with respect to their meetings with SKG members at which third parties (e.g., the Rigsbys’ mother and step- father) were present.
The Court finds that the Rigsbys may not claim attorney-client privilege with respect to such meetings, nor do they enjoy attorney-client or work product privileges/protections with respect to their unauthorized use of State Farm laptop computers or documents they took from State Farm and provided to the SKG.
The Court will grant motion , but will not assess attorney’s fees and costs as the
primary attorney instructing the Rigsbys not to answer Defendants’ questions (Sid Backstrom) is no longer involved in this case, and the Rigsbys, who are neither attorneys nor parties in this
action, relied upon advice of counsel in declining to answer the questions.
Defendants may reconvene the deposition(s) of Cori and/or Kerri Rigsby for the purposes stated herein, but may want to consider waiting until the issues are resolved regarding Cori Rigsby’s computer prior to re-opening her deposition, so that all matters involving her may be addressed at one time.
It was nice of Judge Walker to advise State Farm’s counsel on how to get the most out of their discovery, eh? And he denies the Rigsbys attorney-client privilege? I would think they definitely thought they were within their rights to privacy while meeting with their lawyer even if their mother and brother were there.
Defendants also asked the Court to compel production of documents the Rigsbys say they do not have; some because Cori’s computer crashed. The Judge denied the motion but did advise that they could get the information from the Zach and Dick about who paid their legal fees.
Finally, the Court notes that the Rigsbys have been disqualified as witnesses in this case, that the Court has authorized Defendants to depose Richard and Zach Scruggs, and has ordered production of documents by Richard and Zach Scruggs. Defendants are therefore in a position to discover the information they seek from the Scruggses (the payors) instead of the Rigsbys (the payees). For these reasons, the Court will deny motion .
I am not a lawyer but I do wonder how the Rigsby sisters can be deposed in McIntosh when they’ve been disqualified as witnesses?
A related Order documents the Court notified counsel for both the Plaintiff and Defendants of the results of the Rigsby computer recovery efforts; however, Judge Walker does allow the plaintiffs counsel the right to determine if any of the content is privileged.
How, nice. His text only order is nice, too.
TEXT ONLY ORDER denying 1147 Motion for an order requiring counsel to permanently delete all copies of lists of files recovered from Cori Rigsby’s computer, without prejudice to the movant to re-file the motion upon conclusion of the examination and report from the forensic examiner regarding data recovery from said computer, and resolution of discovery issues with respect to same. NO FURTHER WRITTEN ORDER WILL ISSUE. Signed by Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker on May 23, 2008.
Judge Walker is just so nice – to State Farm – and so very helpful to them, too!
Next time he grabs a silver platter, he should trying serving the cause of justice – that would really be nice and helpful.