Where shall we put the tree, Sop? How about it, Bellesouth, should we hang stockings? Guess you can tell It looks as if we’re going to be here a while. There’s so much work to be done on these cases and not nearly as much time as one would think is needed. In fact, as I read the two scheduling orders, I began to think that those who work in the Southern District Court must feel like they’re working the only open register at Wal-Mart on a Friday night – the one with a line that goes all the way to the back of the store.
Shows, the Katrina RICO case, and Rigsby, the qui tam, are big cases in every way and both have new counsel that must be working round the clock.
Magistrate Judge Anderson, who keeps cases moving for Judge Barbour, issued her second amended case management and scheduling order with two more to come as Provost Umphrey files motions to sever Plaintiffs that retained other counsel after the Katrina Litigation Group was disqualified and adds new Plaintiffs representing approximately 22 properties insured by State Farm.
Judge Senter does his own scheduling and it’s hard not to smile at the thought as you read his Rigsby qui tam scheduling order. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the new legal team for the Rigsby sisters all goes out and buys new running shoes this weekend.
Now that the relators have retained new counsel, I would like to reach the merits of all the pending motions as soon as it is practical to do so. I realize that newly retained counsel will need a reasonable time to familiarize themselves with the facts and law that apply to these motions. There are currently eleven dispositive motions…on the docket…
Relators’ responses to the pending motions and supporting memoranda will be due…September 1…September 15…and September 28…Movants’ rebuttal memoranda shall be due within ten days of the filing of each of the Relators’ responses…
Senter grouped the motions into three sets and then added, needlessly, it is my intention to decide the merits of these motions expeditiously. I wouldn’t expect anything less given the pace he set with those deadlines.
What concerns me is discovery – and I freely admit that may very well be because I’m not a lawyer; but, State Farm has been conducting discovery on the qui tam for two years through other cases. However, the Rigsby sisters were only allowed discovery this past spring and before it ever began, Judge Senter disqualified their legal counsel.
If counsel represents to the Court that it will be necessary to take discovery in order to prepare responses, rebuttals, or supporting memoranda, I will require that the discovery requests be specific and that they be directly relevant to the issues framed by these motions.
How could they possibly present their case without discovery when State Farm has discovered anything and everything, probably including their tonsils? Remember the picture of the dog State Farm whipped out at one of the depositions? I do. I just can’t remember its name or if it was Cori’s or Kerri’s.
Shows is moving somewhat slower but understandably so as there’s no telling just how many plaintiffs there are or how many will be added these next few days. Provost Umphrey has until August 29 to submit the third amended complaint; and the fourth is due September 30, a month later. The defendants have until November 14 to answer and on December 2, plaintiff’s responses are due with the dealine for rebuttal from the defendants due by the 19th of the month.
This case is not currently set for trial. The trial date shall be set following rulings by Judge Barbour on the motions to dismiss, for judgment on the pleadings and/or summary judgment…All discovery shall be stayed until such time as Judge Barbour has ruled on the motions to dismiss, for judgment on the pleadings and/or summary judgment.
Goodness knows how many more Katrina cases there will by the end of the month. About the only thing that I know for certain is Santa needs to bring me something to speed up my typing!