Provost Umphrey Was a Qui Tam Smokescreen. Gilbert Randolph Welcome to Slabbed

So interesting that one day after David Rossmiller proclaimed for the 15th time the False Claims Act case Ex Rel Rigsby was unraveling the Rigsby Sisters found a firm out of DC to take the case over. I highly recommend Rossmiller’s thread for the constant bizarre wondering of Belle’s whereabouts (the guys must be hard up for a date after reading Tammy Hardison’s deposition) along with another belated admission on Rossmiller’s part that industry money drives his blogging. Having met Belle in person I could only add she is wayyyyy too much woman for guys who get their jollies reading legal porn in depositions.

In any event our own Anita Lee tells the story of a renewed State Farm character assassination campaign that has been stopped cold by the facts as told by Ms Lobrano and the now announced hiring of Gilbert Randolph. Did Rossmiller fall for it hook line and sinker this time? LOL. Sounds to me like Galloway, Robinson and company at Butler Snow were just punked.

Ma Lobrano says Tammy Hardison is a liar, sounds like she has some proof too:

As State Farm levels new allegations against two former insurance adjusters, the sisters have found another law firm to represent them in a whistle-blower lawsuit they filed against the insurance company.

Washington-based Gilbert Randolph plans to represent the women, partner Scott Gilbert said Tuesday. The news came after State Farm accused sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby of pursuing allegations against the insurance company because they wanted “money and fame.” The company offered sworn testimony from another adjuster and her assistant, who, like the Rigsbys, worked on State Farm claims after Hurricane Katrina……….

The Rigsbys and Scruggs-associated firms, including their lawyers, have been disqualified from participating in policyholder lawsuits against State Farm. A judge found the Scruggs lawyers violated legal ethics because the Rigsbys received a consulting salary from SKG after they lost their adjusting jobs in June 2006.

Meanwhile, Gilbert Randolph, which specializes in insurance litigation, has reviewed the Rigsbys’ lawsuit against State Farm and decided to take it on.

“We have spent a lot of time speaking with the Rigsbys,” Gilbert said. “We have found them to be very credible and impressive young women. We are looking forward to moving ahead.”

The Rigsbys’ lawsuit, filed on the U.S. government’s behalf, claims State Farm defrauded the government through the use of expert reports its vendors supplied. They say the company minimized what policyholders were owed for wind damage by blaming water covered under the federal flood program.

The Rigsbys first took their allegations to Dickie Scruggs, a nationally prominent attorney, in February 2006.

In the late 1990s, Scruggs helped engineer settlements with tobacco companies, leading to a movie, “The Insider,” and more than one book.

Two of the Rigsbys’ former co-workers on Katrina claims say the Rigsbys talked about landing a book deal and, while watching “The Insider,” speculated about who would play them in a movie. They said this happened before the women ever talked to Scruggs.

The Rigsbys have said they went to Scruggs because their mother, Pat Lobrano, recommended him. Hardison testified that Lobrano said she went to school with Scruggs, had a crush on him and voted for him for “Most Handsome.”

Lobrano has previously told the Sun Herald that she met Scruggs because he represented her former husband and they were impressed with his work. She said Tuesday that she and Scruggs never went to school together and that Kerri Rigsby was very hurt by her former friends’ allegations.

Lobrano also checked video records and found that she rented “The Insider” on Feb. 27, 2006 – after the Rigsbys met with Scruggs. Lobrano and her husband were living with Kerri Rigsby because they lost their home to Katrina – another reason State Farm says the Rigsbys went after the company, which had insured the home.

The four former friends stopped speaking after Hardison and Lee saw the Rigsbys air their allegations, wearing red State Farm jackets on ABC’s “20/20” in August 2006.

“I was shocked,” Tammy Hardison said. “I couldn’t believe that they were saying what they were saying… Because I was there and I just – I didn’t believe what they were saying and I felt like they were making it up.”

Hardison and Lee said they witnessed no wrongdoing by State Farm employees.

48 thoughts on “Provost Umphrey Was a Qui Tam Smokescreen. Gilbert Randolph Welcome to Slabbed”

  1. I love it! State Farm was punked! HA! Although I HATE it that they would rather pay lawyers than pay on their policies — that’s sick! And people give “trial lawyers” a bad name!

    And State Farm got punked by Anita Lee who did a little investigative journalism and found that those other two gals were wrong about their dates and not very smart either! Duh!

  2. So much for the lawyers that thought the case against the Rigsby sisters was unwinding! Wonder what Gilbert Robinson will do about all the depositions of State Farm and Renfroe employees still under seal? Think that may be what really is will be unwinding?

  3. They are part of the record, so shouldn’t they be able to review all of the work product up until now? Oh boy, I just can’t wait to get the qui tam moving again!

  4. Kinda funny how it was all out war on Provost, looks like State Farm jumped the gun. Does anyone know details about that Alabama case where State Farm took the Hardison deposition. Seems like a lot of questions asked were about the Rigsbys, found that a little odd.

  5. I found that odd, too, duesouth, but those cases are in state court there and won’t show on PACER – making it even more unusual that there were questions about the Rigsby sisters.

    I wonder what will happen now that their mother has receipt to show Hardison did not accurately testify about the date they watched the movie – and if there’s similar evidence to refute other claims she made under oath.

    Hope their new counsel is ready to hit the ground running.

  6. With all this talk of a Renfroe adjuster being charged with perjury one naturally wonders, given today’s news report, whether Tammy Hardison should lawyer up.

    I think Brian nailed it – Hardison is so engrained in her POV she doesn’t realize her own words describe the fraud alleged against State Farm by the sisters. Given the video store receipt and the rest of the evidence Ms Lobrano provided Anita Lee it will be interesting to hear what Tammy will be saying under cross examination. I suspect she’ll be sorry she stepped out so much, no doubt both encouraged and duped by her former employer EA Renfroe.

    In any event the shelf lives of Rossmiller’s State Farm pornographic Rigsy sister fantasies get shorter and shorter each time they get down and dirty on the personal lives of the sisters on the Dunn Carney blog. Reputable lawyers I associate with here in Mississippi simply shake their heads at the damage shills like Rossmiller do their profession practicing law. It’s gets back to that greed thing Sup brought up last night.

    sop

  7. You guys kill me. You think Rossmiller damages the practice of law but you worship Scruggs.

    Unbelievable.

    Oh, by the way: did you read the Scruggs “taking the fifth” depo? It was most illuminating.

  8. The lawyers I know think Rossmiller is unethical Mr CG, the polite term I hear when he is mentioned is shill, the impolite ones I won’t repeat.

    As far as Scruggs taking the fifth we had it up yesterday here. Rossmiller may have missed it yesterday because he was too busy pleasuring himself while reading Hardison’s depo. Wank out and you miss out. Just saying.

    sop

  9. Welp folks, this boob was too busy on his knees up Bloomington way to notice ole girl Lee updated her story. He ain’t wearin’ blinders ’cause his head is stuck up his ass LMAO!!!

    Sorry Nowdy, Belle and Sop but I couldn’t hep myself. Yippee Kia Yea!

  10. I didn’t ask if you posted the depo, I asked if you READ it. And better yet, understood it.

    As for Rossmiller, cite me the ethical rule you think he has violated.

    As for his “shill” status, I think you are having a hard time unbundling his insurance analysis, which I think has been quite even-handed, and his obvious contempt for the antics of the Scruggs gang. I understand that his contempt for the felons and their fellow travelers must be disconcerting to Scruggs worshipers, but I don’t see how being critical of felons makes him a “shill”.

    Unless of course, by “shill” you mean “someone who fails to worship Dickie”. Then yeah, he’s a “shill”.

  11. This has nothing to do with Scruggs. Rossmiller is cut from the same cloth as Scruggs though which may be why the more ethical members of the bar don’t care for him.

  12. SOP:

    You’re funny. You say this has nothing to do with Scruggs and then you invoke him in the very next sentence.

    Most of us now have some sense of the depth of Scruggs depravity. But you now compare Rossmiller to him? Okay, put up or shut up: cite me a law (Scruggs being a convicted felon and all) or an ethical rule (since you accuse Rossmiller of being unethical) that you claim Rossmiller has violated.

    I don’t think you can, but I am interested to see you try.

    Or you can go silent on this and tacitly admit your error.

  13. This was on Rossmiller’s site yesterday from an ethical lawyer on Rossmiller and his blogging.

    Written By:stephen gowan
    On July 29, 2008 12:02 PM

    you clearly have an agenda and a need to pander to your insurance company clients but your attacks commentary are tiring. The bottom line is after all the hoopla over scruggs and Rigsby’s is sifted through, Did Renfroe and/or State Farm defraud homeowners? If yes then they should go to jail even faster than Scruggs. If not end of case. If yes then you should be ashamed of your writings. It is the bottom line issues that matter not the Scruggs and Rigsby red herring stuff.

    That doesn’t even count the blogging he did on Weiss while it was litigating (that involved his firm’s client Allstate). I don’t know why it’s hard for you to admit some of the industry lawyers are well dressed hookahs Mr CG.

    Do a search on Weiss over there on his blog, you’ll see plenty more comments in those posts like the one left by Mr Gowin.

    sop

  14. Claimguy, Rossmiller and all the rightwingers over at Ya’ll Politics are having a circle jerk over Scruggs taking the fifth, but they never said a word about State Farm’s Lecky King doing the same thing in her depos in 2005.

  15. Not just Lecky but did you note in Scruggs motion to seal he was asking for the same courtesy extended Lecky.

    There are other SF and Refroe employees that have taken the 5th and/or sealed depositions. Jana Renfroe recently asked to keep portion of her deposition under seal.

    I need to go look for quotes mississippi expat before that circle gets going to the point they all go blind. back to you.

  16. So Rossmiller is unethical because Gowan (whoever HE is) disagrees with him? THAT’s a compelling argument. Not.

    Perhaps we should have a clarifying discussion on what the word “unethical” means in the context of lawyers. It means a lawyer who violates the ethical rules (those rules go by different names in different states, so I can’t tell you the exact title of the Oregon rules).

    It is a serious accusation. It goes to the heart of a lawyer’s fitness to practice law. I don’t think anyone died and made Steven Gowan (or Gowin, make up your mind) the ultimate authority on this point. I think there are rules of ethics that define the matter.

    You say Rossmiller has violated those rules. I ask “which one”? I ask this, because I think you are utterly and completely wrong. I concede that you hate the guy because he has disagreed with you on something. You may even think that he has been quite effective in presenting the opinions you hate, making you hate him all the more.

    But none of that equals “unethical”. So again, put up or shut up. Cite me a rule.

  17. You have got to be kidding me.

    For the benefit of those without the patience to do the link, I will cite the language of the rule you think is applicable here:

    “Rule 8.4 Misconduct
    (a) It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

    (4) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice”

    Really? What conduct was that? Is disagreeing with you “prejudical to the administration of justice”? Are you truly that self-centered, that you think any disagreement with your position is “prejudicial to the administration of justice”.

    Nice try. No cigar.

  18. He posts innuendo, half truths and falsehoods Mr CG. Shilling for business from State Farm at the expense of the facts is indeed “prejudical to the administration of justice.”

    He’s pissed on some mighty powerful people and there is bound to be some blowback coming to him. I personally know of one person I talked out of sending in a bar complaint to Eugene. Trash like Rossmiller ain’t worth the effort IMHO but I figure it is only a matter of time myself before a complaint hits the Oregon bar.

    sop

  19. expat:

    I am much less interested in the fact that Scruggs plead the Fifth than I am in the questions he was asked. I wish Dickie had answered them. I think his answers would have been really, really interesting.

    But the questions, many of which were about documents proffered to him during the depo, are utterly fascinating. The picture they paint is very compelling. Read the depo and tell me if you disagree.

    As for Ms. King, I hope she can see her way clear to explaining herself. I suspect, but do not know, that she took the Fifth during the height of the Hood/Scruggs full-court press because she sensed the makings of a kangaroo court. (Or a “magic jursidction”.)

    Now that the Scruggs/Hood scam has been derailed, perhaps she will give us answers. I would love to see that. But back when Hood was publicly threatening to put SF’s CEO in jail, I cannot blame a little fish for getting scared that she might becomes some sort of human sacrifice. The Fifth Amendment is there for a reason.

    And again, I do not impugn Dickie for availing himself of it. He is a scumbag, but he is an American citizen and therefore entitled to the protections of our Constitution like the rest of us.

  20. “Shilling for business from State Farm” equals “saying things I don’t agree with”.

    That’s not unethical, my friend. Not even close.

    And if one if your buddies wants to file a complaint, then he or she ought to shut up and do it.

    Actions mean something. Whining means nothing.

  21. The lawyers from Missouri have no one but themselves to blame for getting entangled with Scruggs and for all the pain that ensued.

    They laid down with a dog, and they got up with fleas.

  22. Haven’t we crossed this bridge before and determined the ethical issue was related to rules for conduct of an interested non-party? I recall specific to Weiss that it would have been appropriate to approach the court and offer information as an interested party. There’s a process in place and it’s not his blog.

    If there’s nothing in the Code of Ethics about the appropriate way for a member of the bar to address the conduct of other members in a more appropriate way than he does (ex. “trailer lawyers”), there should be.

    You don’t see that on Merlin’s blog or some of the others I’ve read. So, perhaps there is a difference between legal ethics and personal ethics.

  23. You don’t think some of the pain inflicted on the Missouri lawyers had anything to do with the big judgment they had just won against State Farm, claimsguy?

    I was trying to find a case on PACER the other day and entered State Farm instead of the plaintiff. From 9-1-05 until present there had been over 9000 complaints filed in federal courts against the Farm. There’s no easy way of knowing how many are in state courts but that’s an indication of the extent of the problem the Farm has settling claims.

    The Missouri lawyers also beat SF when the 5th denied their petition to disqualify Scruggs – meaning the score was 2-0 in favor of Missouri lawyers against SF.

  24. Not getting involved in this pissing contest but to say the score is 2-1 not 2-0. SF got the Missouri lawyers booted off of the case. Have a good evening ladies and gentlemen.

  25. Actually, it’s some of the regular posters that wonder about Belle’s whereabouts, not Rossmiller.

    sop, you complain about Rossmiller and allege he has violated ethics but when someone wants to do something about this alleged violation you talk him/her out of it. I know this is my first post in this forum but for you to complain about him and then do all you can to prevent any action about it just seems wrong, morally and ethically.

    I disagree that he has violated any code of ethics but for you to say he has and then not only do nothing about it but to actually help prevent any action just makes me wonder about you. If he is the trash you proclaim then shouldn’t the trash be thrown out? After all, you equate him to Scruggs and there is no doubt that Scruggs is trash when it comes to morals and ethics.

    That’s my take.

  26. Actually, Pat Lobrano’s statements do not contradict the timeline. All Pat Lobrano stated was that she rented the movie in 2007. That does not preclude the Rgisby sisters from having rented it prior to that date.

    As for Scruggs and Lobrano never having was this ever actually verified?

  27. If you read the depositions of Ms. Hardison and Ms. Lee with any attempt at impartiality, I believe that after getting past one particular date vs. another, there is a definite feeling of motive by the Rigsbys. That motive is apparent from the Rigbys attitudes and actions.

    One thing that I particularly noticed was when they were shown the engineer report. It seemed that thte Rigsbys expected a gasp of horror from their guests but instead it was ‘and?’ Again with the sticky ‘so what?’ It was though the Rigsbys thought they had the smoking gun but the other two just thought they were smoking.

    Instead of arguing over minute details and who’s in bed with who, try looking at what is being said.

    There are a lot of things that we will never know about the government, Roswell and insurance co

  28. Was out a few days but man what information to come back to…. Slabbed and others: I posit a question – If you have had a chance to read the scruggs depositions I ask you to answer the following question as honestly as you possibly can. IF, I am saying IF because none of this has been proved, BUT IF the course of events occurred the way the state farm lawyers laid it out in the deposition, would ANY OF YOU say that this was unethical and a cause of MOST of the problems your coast has endured due to this man’s ego and shenanigans?

  29. Proximo, I have depo printed as I’m working on a related post so give me a little more time to finish reading. Just saying “good morning” now.

  30. Welcome Cat Adjuster. Tthe Rigsby sisters had a motivation for certain just like Lecky King did when she threatened to fire Forensic.

    An impartial read of the Hardison depos reveals it is a bunch of noise about nothing. The sisters are the messenger here not the perp and the False Claims Act suit is about what State Farm did, not whether Kerri Rigsby thought Lecky King dressed badly.

    Proximo, Scruggs didn’t make Lecky King threaten to fire engineers that found wind damage or have reports changed when the answer came back that she didn’t like. I can see where this last State Farm PR assault on Scruggs and the sisters may play well to a biased insurance industry audience but to those of us from here that know what State Farm did, it is beyond silly.

    State Farm’s own internal docs tell the story better than any witness.

    sop

  31. Cat Adj. How often do this many law enforcement and lawyers get to trial based on a conspiracy against their clients? Robie is throwing out all of this conspiracy stuff. How many times do the lawyers object to form during these depositions? I wondered what that meant, but obviously it means the questions lack a basis. That is Robie’s sick style. How many times did you beat your wife\husband last night Cat Adj?

  32. Actually Belle what is telling to me is Robie conducted the Depo versus any of the legion of Mississippi based insurance defense lawyers they have working this.

    sop

  33. Tammy Hardison contradicts her own account, showing how poorly the State Farm lawyers scripted her testimony:

    Q. Did you at some point in time while you were stationed for Katrina in Mississippi, did you become aware of some involvement that the sisters had with Dickie Scruggs?
    A. Yes.
    Q. When do you first recall that involvement?
    A. They told me, I think it was in February of ’06.

    So, now, how does that match with her story that they watched the Insider in December 2005 with the Rigsby sisters planning their own movie? It doesn’t.

  34. And here is Dana Lee contradicting the December story:

    Q. Okay. And did you become aware at any time of their involvement with Mr. Scruggs?
    A. Yeah, but that was more like in March.

    …Q. Okay. Well, what comments, if any, were made by Cori or Kerri about the Scruggs’ relationship or their relationship?
    A. Well, sometime in March they — Kerri and Cori told me and Tammy that they had met with him at Cori’s house.

  35. Ok, so basically, two women who have nothing to gain from participating in this mess are liars but the two women being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars of attorneys bills, and possibly their mothers house fixed and their home paid for are telling the truth. Ya know there is a saying about if it walks like a duck, etc.

  36. We don’t know they have nothing to gain or haven’t gained already – and by that I mean the duck hasn’t quacked yet.

    No excuses for any of them proximo but I understand more and more every day the tag line “this represents one side of the legal argument”.

    I want to see all the seals removed not just the ones on documents favorable to State Farm, hear what people say on the witness stand, the whole nine yards.

    I’m becoming a doubting nowdy – really sick and tired of people being convicted in the court of public opinion way before they ever have a day in court.

    Just stopped in for a minute but I’ll be back shortly, keep the faith.

  37. They didn’t lose their jobs, Proximo! Duh! That’s why the Rigsbys didn’t go to the Renfroes — State Farm is their bread and butter, they knew that the Renfroes couldn’t afford to rat out on State Farm nor can these other gals — hell, they’ll probably get a raise. In the end, State Farm is going to be paying all of these bills as they should. You know the saying — smells like a rat!

  38. How many times did I beat my wife/husband last night Cat Adjuster? Listen to yourself. Here you are condemning a person who has not intimated, let alone detailed, any conspiracies name calling or convicting anyone before trial. Just because I do not worship the ground that you walk on does not make me Satan

  39. Beau you’ve always been most reasonable commenting with us and that is why we appreciate you here on slabbed.

    I agree about the hot air. Unfortunately for those of us who live this drama everyday here on the coast, we don’t have the luxury of blowing it. The house is on fire and anyone who cares to come look can see the flames for themselves. That simple fact does more to explain why this story of fraud and deceit simply won’t go away, despite the best efforts of State Farm PR to spin things different.

    The losers in this is every taxpayer in the country that was fleeced. The policyholders have always been a sideshow, a cheap prop for the out of state blogs looking to make a buck off the misery of the slabbed. It’s the natural progession I guess, the first batch of human scum to come slithering through here were shady contractors. Bloggers and unethical lawyers looking to make a name for themselves would naturally follow I guess.

    The fact is the litigation here has always been far bigger than Dickie Scruggs despite what you’d read on Rossmiller’s site, Yall or Folo, That’s probably why lawyers who actually try cases like Rick Trahant don’t have much use for superficial coverage designed to generate page views for blog authors or insurance clients for a law firm out of Portland Oregon.

    We’ve reached a turning point IMHO. State Farm better design a defense for what they did because they have not been able to make Scruggs the fall guy for Lecky King. WIth the hiring of Gilbert Randolph all the cases have new lawyers. It’s time to get it on and resolve all the cases.

    Finally we also need an accounting of what happened – an 8-29 commission that Editilla and our other brothers and sisters in Louisiana demand. Not just for levees but everything from the botched government response to insurers who took liberty to rape people who lost their homes. What has happened here can never be allowed to happen to any citizen in this great country again ever.

    sop

  40. Thanks, Beau, I’ve just finished what is known as a bitch of day and I needed that. : )

    Cat Adjuster it took a lot longer to have my really bad day that I’d planned but it’s done and I’m out from under it and starting on a post that I hope will add to the conversation in a helpful way.

    If I write more now, I’ll confuse my thoughts so I’ll just say “later” and hopefully not much.

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