One thing that’s for certain is that there’s never a dull moment with Judge Acker around. Take, for example, his June 27th opinion and order stating discovery in the above-entitled miscellaneous case is STAYED, except to the extent the parties agree.
What the miscellaneous case turns out to be is one transferred from Illinois and combined with Renfroe v Rigsby just long enough to work a little magic and see if the Rigsby sisters will disappear before anyone orders State Farm employees to testify about what really happened in claims handling after Katrina. Given this quote reported by WLOX in October 2006, the last sentence should have read a little more magic.
The company claims its employees risk incriminating themselves if they testify in civil cases before the criminal probes are completed.
“State Farm’s interest in having a fair opportunity to defend itself in this civil proceeding would also be jeopardized if the depositions of these four individuals are permitted to go forward,” the company’s attorneys wrote in court papers.
Watch this slight-of-hand and see if you catch the trick.
- 5-30-08 Acker issues order consolidating the miscellaneous case from Illinois into the Alabama case.
- 6-24-08 Acker issues order vacating his order of 5-30-08
the order entered on 5/30/08, insofar as it consolidates the two cases, is VACATED; the two cases shall proceed separately in order to avoid duplicated filings and orders; pleadings shall be filed only in the appropriate case; orders shall be transmitted only to parties and/or non-parties in the appropriate case; both cases shall remain assigned to the undersigned.
- 6-27-08 Acker issues an Opinion and Order
discovery in the miscellaneous case is STAYED, except to the extent the parties agree as set out in this order
To find out more about the miscellaneous case, one need look no further than Sop’s June 12 post here on SLABBED – While Senter’s Qui Tam burns, Acker, Renfroe and State Farm churn – although, one can hardly call the Rigsby sisters’ attempt to secure corroborating testimony of State Farm employees a miscellanous case when its been claimed
These people were involved in the decision-making on every single claim. They’re relevant to every case we’ve got against State Farm.
Particularly when respected Coast attorney Judy Guise wrote this about the decision-making in a Motion she filed in January 07 in a case against State Farm independent of those filed by SKG.
The Plaintiff alleges here that State Farm and its parent company uniformly, and intentionally, applied an erroneous standard to the claims of all such policyholders whose homes were totally destroyed by a combination of wind and water – a standard adopted post-Katrina contrary to the provisions of the State Farm policy – to intentionally reduce the company’s payments on “slab claims” by (a) wrongfully shifting the costs of the losses to the National Flood Insurance Program and the policyholders, and (b) “gaming” the court system by shifting the insurance company’s claims-adjusting obligations to the judicial venue, thereby starving out policyholders and making recoveries in individual cases cost-prohibitive – even with the prospect of punitive damages in individual one-at-a-time trials of every case.
So, here we are almost three years after Katrina – and over two since the Rigsby sisters went to bat for the slabbed and filed a qui tam claim – with stays and seals in Alabama blocking depositions while Judge Walker orders the Scrugges to give depositions and documents to State Farm.