Well, if the strength of a motion is measured by the lack of substantive comment in the blogosphere, it’s worth the effort the two Missouri firms made to print their Motion to Reconsider on Kevlar – along with a Memorandum of Support and five exhibits: Exhibit 1: Cases Settled by State Farm and Exhibits 2-5: Declarations from Robinson, Winter, Dewitt and Graves.
A fair examination of the Motion filed by the two Missouri firms begins with the basis for their disqualification in Judge Senter’s order.
In light of the current attorneys’ having acquired, during the course of their joint representation of the Rigsby sisters, actual knowledge of the financial arrangement among their co-counsel, Scruggs, and the Rigsby sisters and constructive knowledge that the arrangement was improper, I find that the current attorneys should be disqualified from further participation as counsel in this action.
The two firms take these findings head-on in their request for reconsideration and provide facts to the contrary in both the supporting memorandum and the exhibits. Exhibit 2, the related declaration of Chip Robertson made to correct inaccurate factual assumptions made by the Court in reaching its decision to disqualify Relator’s counsel provides a case in point.
- The Relator’s signed a contract creating an attorney-client relationship BFRG to pursue their Qui Tam claim– supporting their claim they were not involved in a joint venture as there was no contract creating an attorney-client relationship between the Relators and the Scruggs Law Firm or any member firm of SKG.
- He learned about the contract between the Rigsby sisters and Scruggs when related news stories were published in news stories and available to the general public.
- Once he learned of the contract, he contacted Scruggs and was assured there was (1) no relationship between the contract and the Fair Claims Act case and (2) Scruggs had obtained an opinion from an expert in attorney ethics who said the arrangement was ethical; and (3) he then told Scruggs that BFRG could not and would not participate in any payment to Kerri or Cori Rigsby for any purpose.
- He learned the details of the arrangement even later and then only when State Farm made it’s first attempt to disqualify the member firms of SKG.
Needless to say, with this declaration as an exhibit, the motion filed today is packed and loaded with documentation the two Missouri firms believe merits reconsideration – so much so that Sop, bellesouth and I will be updating this post throughout the day.
Meanwhile, it’s all here for you to read and form your own opinion.
After reading the supporting memorandum, the attention given reference to Senter’s “delayed reaction” seems to be getting disproportionate attention. It certainly was not one of the points of argument in support of the request of reconsideration.
The Rigsby/SKG Consulting Arrangement Was Known To State Farm Before It Was Known To Relators’ Counsel
State Farm’s Knowledge and Use of the Agreement Violates MPRC 4.4
The MPRC requires respect for the rights of third persons.
This Court Acted Reasonably In Denying Disqualification in McIntosh on the Basis of Waiver
Relators Counsel Were Not Joint Venturers with SKG or KLG
Disqualification of Co-Counsel is Not Supported By Case Law
If Disqualification Is Proper As To Relators Counsel, It is Proper As To State Farm’s Counsel
What I didn’t see on my read-around was mention of what the Motion suggests other than the two firms are prepared to move forward should Judge Senter deny this Motion as well – and that is the appearance that both are also ready to move against State Farm’s attorneys and possibly even State Farm.