If your interest in Katrina litigation began with USA v Scruggs, you may have missed…

I just did an end of the week read-around. Looking at comments made me think that some got involved in Katrina litigation “late in the game” themselves – so I picked up a few “blasts from the past” in case any were interested in background.

Here’s some reading for those who question the claims handling was anything other than business as usual – Summary of Documents That Suggest Fraud by Insurance Companies and their Contractors in the Handling of Katrina Wind and Water Claims from Congressman Gene Taylor’s blog.

Take particular note of Items #3 and #23

#3 State Farm Wind/Water Handling Protocol

#23 Excerpts from the Rimkus Consulting Group Hurricane Damage Evaluation Manual

…and for those who think the Rigsby sisters contract with Scruggs/SKG was a “sham.” a reminder that Scruggs was hiring them as litigation consultants on cases involving companies other than State Farm.

Here are two articles documenting the successful settlements Scruggs/SKG reached with Allstate and Nationwide between June 06 and June 07 suggesting they were well worth what they were paid when measured by results and not hours.

Nothing like sunshine on the weekend! Enjoy!

Renfroe-State Farm play duck-duck-goose with motions in Mississippi and Alabama

For your Friday afternoon reading pleasure, here’s a peek at the game of duck-duck-goose Renfroe and State Farm are playing with the motions they file in Mississippi (McIntosh v State Farm) and Alabama (Renfroe v Rigsby).

As “peek” implies this game goes on all the time – this particular round started when Judge Walker issued an order compelling the Scruggses to provide documents for discovery in McIntosh. If you need more background, you can read the Scrugges’ response, State Farm’s reply, and the Scruggses supplemental response.

Here’s that “peek” at how the game is playing now. Continue reading “Renfroe-State Farm play duck-duck-goose with motions in Mississippi and Alabama”

The Sisters Told State Farm — What did State Farm Do?

Yes, sop, there is more of the story. We are just learning a lot of what has been going on behind the scenes because a lot of these motions were filed under seal because State Farm doesn’t want us to know what really happened. One of the reasons Mr. Randel’s and Mr. Deganhart’s testimony are so compelling [pun intended] is because Cori told Mr. Randel what the sisters had done the day after they had finished and delivered the data dump. They had given one set to our Attorney General here in Mississippi and one set to the U.S. Attorney and they kept one set which they had moved to a different location. Why? From Cori’s deposition page 95:2-20.

A. Well, Kerri and I went in and told Dave Randel what we did the next day — or that day. I’m sorry. It was not the next day. It all happened on Monday. The second FBI and the attorney general left, Kerri and I went to work and told Dave Randel what we did.

I told Mr. Randel that is was our belief that State Farm had committed fraud and criminal activity during Hurricane Katrina and we had copied documents and turned them over to the US attorney and the attorney general. Continue reading “The Sisters Told State Farm — What did State Farm Do?”

Meanwhile Aboard General O’Dell’s Goodship Lollypop…..

The short timer Hurricane Recovery Chief trumpets the return of housing stock to the Gulf Coast. Ummm. General are you forgetting something? Sheila Byrd at the AP has the story for the Clarion Ledger:

The new federal hurricane recovery chief says the amount of housing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is near pre-Katrina levels, but some officials and advocates living in the region dispute the claim.

Maj. Gen. Douglas O’Dell based his comment on current housing units and those expected from several projects he said had been initiated by Gov. Haley Barbour’s administration.

Barbour has said his planned projects are aimed at helping renters and low-income households, but many have yet to break ground. Continue reading “Meanwhile Aboard General O’Dell’s Goodship Lollypop…..”

The Clarion Ledger Opines Again in Favor of Gene Taylor’s Multi Peril Bill

Slabbed is passing out a big attaboy to the editorial board at the Clarion Ledger today for helping spread the good word about Gene Taylor’s multi peril insurance bill HR 3121. I give Sid Salter grief from time to time but overall I find their opinions well reasoned as a general rule. As always we appreciate the continued support of the Clarion Ledger for their reporting on insurance and affordable housing. Here is today’s editorial:

When the U.S. Senate rejected the bill produced by the House that would add wind insurance to the National Flood Insurance e Program, senators said it wasn’t needed.

President Bush, who had threatened to veto the bill originating with Mississippi’s 4th District U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, and backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said: “Government insurance would displace insurance that is already provided by the private market.”

He further said in a statement: “Expansion of the NFIP would also undermine economic incentives to mitigate risks because the program would likely distort rates from their market-determined values.”

In other words, the laws of supply and demand should determine insurance coverage, there’s plenty of insurance available – for those who can afford it – and government intrusion would alter the rates.

While that’s a fine argument in theory, this week, State Farm Insurance Cos. showed how that works in reality. Continue reading “The Clarion Ledger Opines Again in Favor of Gene Taylor’s Multi Peril Bill”

The Jacquith Move Part 2: Good Neighbor to Good Hands?

Anita Lee is reporting that Allstate and Nationwide have agreed to pick up the 900 or so homeowners policies State Farm is cancelling along the coast. Neither company has a good claims handling track record so my personal advice to these people is to do some homework on the internet and see an independent agent.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said Thursday that Allstate and Nationwide have agreed to pick up policyholders being dropped by State Farm. Allstate and Nationwide will offer those residents homeowner policies without wind coverage.

After Nov. 30, State Farm will cancel homeowner coverage that includes wind for about 890 policyholders within 1,000 feet of the Mississippi Sound and bays that spill into it. That number could go higher unless Chaney approves State Farm’s request for a minimum 5 percent hurricane deductible in the three Coast counties, coupled with 6 to 18 percent rate increases.

The Sun Herald Reports on the Gulfport Library

As posted yesterday on slabbed the library group We the People were very pleased with the Landmark designation decision made by the State Department of Archives and History. There are still many hurdles ahead but yesterday’s news represents a big step. Melissa Scallan reports yesterday’s developments for the Sun Herald in a story that also contains a good account of the major events that lead to the designation:

The Gulfport Library got a reprieve from the wrecking ball on Thursday.

The permit committee for the state Department of Archives and History agreed Wednesday to consider designating the building a Mississippi Landmark because of its architectural significance, the role the building has played in the community and public sentiment.

If the library, built in 1965 in the New Formalism style of architecture, is made a landmark, it can’t be torn down without permission from the department’s board. Continue reading “The Sun Herald Reports on the Gulfport Library”

$$$Dollar Bill$$$$ Jefferson: Movin’ the trial on up

To DC from Alexandria Virginia that is. He ought to check with the Judge Ellis if there is a family plan. Bruce Alpert at the Times Picayune has the story. (Credit James Gill for “Dollar Bill”)

Jefferson wants Ellis to reverse an earlier ruling in which he refused to grant a change of venue from Virginia to Washington D.C. on grounds that the government, in the view of congressman’s attorneys, chose Virginia because it has a smaller proportion of African-American jurors. Ellis said he found no evidence that the government had manipulated to hold the trial in Virginia , but Jefferson ‘s lawyers said it’s impossible to know that without questioning government prosecutors and reviewing their emails and other material.

The New Orleans congressman, who faces charges of bribery, racketeering and conspiracy, also wants the judge to compel the Justice Department to use international legal treaties to compel testimony from three witnesses, including Atiku Abubakar, the former vice president of Nigeria , and a Nigerian businessman, to answer questions in a legal deposition. Continue reading “$$$Dollar Bill$$$$ Jefferson: Movin’ the trial on up”