We have a new Renfroe v Rigsby page that we are still updating with docs as they have come out from under seal. Belle & Nowdy have literally spent hours pouring through them helping make me look good to our readers. The ladies are simply heaven sent gifts to the slabbed.
This post will be long out of necessity. As Nowdy posted yesterday even his worship, Judge Acker pointed out Renfroe V Rigsby and Ex Rel Rigsby were joined at the hip. To get our readers up to speed we start by linking a New York Times News story from January 2007 on the proposed settlement between SKG and State Farm that Judge Senter ultimately rejected:
To close the deal, State Farm wants the approval of Mississippi’s attorney general, Jim Hood, and the state’s insurance regulator, George Dale, lawyers close to the talks said. As a condition of the deal, these lawyers said, Mr. Hood would be required to drop a criminal investigation into State Farm’s handling of claims as well as a civil lawsuit against State Farm and other insurers.
In a statement late yesterday, Mr. Hood said: “I am working day and night attempting to get our coastal residents a fair shake in the insurance litigation.” He added, “It would not help our negotiations to disclose any details at this time.”
Lee Harrell, a deputy to the insurance commissioner, would not comment on the talks but said that the regulators consistently monitored insurance agreements to make sure that they were fair to both policyholders and the insurers.
Phil Supple, a spokesman for State Farm, acknowledged that the insurer had been in settlement talks but he said that a final agreement had not yet been reached. “At this point,” he said, “we have no settlement.”
He said State Farm would absolutely like to settle the cases: “We see it in the best interest of policyholders, the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and State Farm.”
Richard F. Scruggs, who has been leading a team of about a dozen lawyers against State Farm, said that talks toward a settlement began early last fall and that he hoped to see a final agreement this week. “All the details are finalized,” he said.
The last element, he said, was the approval of the attorney general and the insurance commissioner. “We are awaiting,” he said, “a decision from the state officials who have helped craft the settlement.” (emphasis Sop)
Against that backdrop we return to the Rigsby sisters and go back in time to late winter 2006. Those who have closely followed this case know portions of certain Rigsby sister depositions and other filings in Renfroe v Rigsby have been kept under seal. State Farm and EA Renfroe have held their dirty secrets close with Judge Acker’s assistance. His recent temper tantrum changed that and we now have Kerri Rigsby on record in her deposition where she describes her motivations for downloading and copying State Farm claims documents:
Q. At some point, the decision was made to copy a large number of documents, correct?
Q. How did that decision get reached?
A. I think by that point, it had started getting very hard to continue to work with the burden of what we knew. We were just tired. So — and we knew it was time, you know, to do something. We were tired of being the moles. I was tired.
Q. What do you mean tired of being the mole?
A. Well I was tired of being the insider. It’s not what I wanted to do.
Q. Were you and Cori the only insiders that you knew of?
Q. Okay. And so you were getting tired of this kind of dual role?
A. Uh-huh, yes.
Q. All right. What did you decide to do about that?
A. Well, we decided that we needed to try to help as many people as possible. And we felt the people who had been most wronged were the people who had engineering reports. So we got the spreadsheet, and we made our data dump based on that.
Q. Who did you talk to about doing the data dump?
A. No one. Just Cori.
Q. Who did you talk to about whether or not there were other documents other than those on the spreadsheet that you were going to include in the data dump?
A. I only talked to Cori about the data dump
Speaking of the data dump, Renfroe and State Farm, we now pay a visit to the Dunn Carney primrose path retracing Todd Grave’s March 2006 visit to Disney and Fantasyland:
Finally, let us also journey back through the mists of time to remember that the Alabama federal court prosecution of Scruggs on a charge of criminal contempt came when he, apparently at Hood’s suggestion, failed to send copies of the thousands of documents the Rigsby sisters took from Renfroe to Renfroe’s attorney, and instead send them to Hood, who already had his own copies, having arranged for state employees to go pick them up at home from the Rigsby sisters after they copied them off in a massive “data dump” in June 2006. In his order recommending Scruggs for prosecution, Judge William Acker wondered why Scruggs would so this, unless it was so Scruggs and Hood could “bully” — his word — State Farm into the McFarland settlement. The question also arises — if the documents were so damaging, why not return them and thereby increase Scruggs’ bargaining power by showing he had the goods on State Farm? Unless, of course, all this talk of the documents’ explosive value is just pure bunk.
Judge Acker’s fanciful criminal contempt charges have since died a merciful death at the hand of Madam Justice in late February of this year. Indeed if those documents explosive value is “pure bunk” then why are Renfroe and State Farm witnesses evading lawful subpoenas a la Lecky King then refusing to answer questions about them in direct conflict with Judge Acker’s protective order. We noticed the delay tactics employed by Renfroe and State Farm lawyers of not wanting to speak to the Judge telephonically during the deposition concerning these questions, rather moving later for oral arguments on the question. But first we must go to Colorado chasing State Farm employees David Randel and John Dagenhart:
The Rigsbys subpoenaed these two State Farm employees for depositions on or about April 7, 2008. These witnesses attempted to avoid giving their depositions in this matter, filing motions to quash these subpoenas for improper service of process in the United States District Court for Colorado from where the subpoenas were issued. The motions to quash were denied and the witnesses were ordered to appear for deposition on April 25, 2008. In fact, one of the courts ruling on the motions noted that Mr. Dagenhart appeared to be “purposefully evading service ofprocess.” See Order ofthe Honorable Kathleen Tafoya entered April 18, 2008, in Renfroe v. Rigsby, In re: John Dagenhart, In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, Misc. Civil Action No. 08-CV-00732-RPMKMT, attached hereto as Exhibit “A”, at 11. Subsequently the parties agreed to take the depositions on May 15,2008 in Birmingham, Alabama.
And of course State Farm had a problem with the depositions because the State Farm boys want nothing to do with the Rigsby copied claims documents. In fact we find out in State Farm’s Motion in opposition to compel testimony:
The black letter application of this Consent Order could place Mr. Deganhart, who is or may be a material witness in the defense of a qui tam action brought by the Rigsbys against State Farm in the Southern District of Mississippi, in a potentially untenable position. For instance, the Consent Order does not specifically address the situation where Mr. Deganhart is shown a restricted document in this litigation that is also a relevant document in the Rigsbys’ qui tam action.
To a layman’s eyes it appears the State Farm argument goes something like these employees have previously taken the 5th amendment on these documents and if we have to give testimony about them it may destroy the fairy tale we have set to tell Judge Senter in the False Claims Act case in Mississippi.
Now we journey to Mississippi and the now famous McIntosh case because while State Farm employee David Randel was refusing to answer questions in Alabama, counsel in Mississippi had to make believe they would answer questions in McIntosh.
That on May 13, 2008, this Defendant, by and through its undersigned counsel, delivered via email transmission a letter to all counsel of record regarding potential deposition testimony of Ms. Lisa Wachter, Ms. Alexis King and Mr. David Randel, pursuant to this Court’s Order dated April 14, 2008 [Doc. 1180].
How curious these continuing State Farm delays in what should be very straight forward testimony and depositions. Could it be State Farm is dragging their feet to give Judge Acker time to kill the False Claims Act case before discovery begins. We also wonder about Dunn Lampton and his footdragging and whether it is indicative of an official Bush administration DoJ policy of letting State Farm skate on the very serious allegations of claims dumping. Every taxpayer in this country deserves a full vetting of issues raised by Cori and Kerri Rigsby. Instead Dunn Lampton is allowing them to be crushed.
We have more of this story on tap for future slabbed posts. In the meantime Judge Acker, with a big assist from Judge Senter and Dunn Lampton, is more than content to screw up the Qui Tam claim Cori and Kerri Rigsby made on behalf of every taxpayer in this country while further delaying justice for the slabbed.