Maybe this motion isn’t as unusual as it seems; but, it has an air of the chicken-salad set about it that seems out of place to me. For all you lawyers unfamiliar with the term, the chicken-salad set are those who whisper things like, I think Mary brought store-bought brownies to bridge club last week.
I suppose that translates to a presumption of privilege when applied to this Response to “Unopposed” Motion to Sever filed today in Shows v State Farm et al, the Katrina RICO case, clarifying Renfroe’s position.
During the case management conference, counsel for Renfroe stated that it did not object to the proposed severance and would not oppose plaintiffs’ motions to sever.
Renfroe wants to make clear that its position is based on its understanding that the severed plaintiffs, Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson, do not intend to name Renfroe, Gene Renfroe, or Jana Renfroe as parties to their claims or to file a RICO or civil conspiracy claim.
Renfroe based its position on the fact that neither it nor its principals would be parties to the new, severed cases and that, because Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson would solely be pursuing “wind versus water” claims against State Farm pursuant to their respective State Farm insurance policies, such suits would differ materially from the RICO and other conspiracy claims asserted by the remaining plaintiffs in this action. There would, therefore, be a substantial distinction between the severing and non-severing plaintiffs’ claims that justified severing the actions…
Based on the foregoing, Renfroe respectfully requests that the Court enter an Order in the form attached hereto as Exhibit A, granting severance of the Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson claims provided that Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson do not name Renfroe, Gene Renfroe, or Jana Renfroe as parties to their claims and do not file a RICO conspiracy or civil conspiracy claim.
What Renfroe is asking is definitely in their best interest; however, the motion presumes a lot as this footnote indicates:
Granting such a conditional severance will not redound to the detriment of any of the plaintiffs to this case. For the Summers and Simpson plaintiffs, they have until August 29, 2008 to decide against whom and on what grounds they will file a complaint, as the statute of limitations runs on that date. For the Provost plaintiffs, there is no operative complaint as yet in the case, and they will be filing their complaint pursuant to the Court’s Order on August 29, 2008.
If you recall the recent post about scheduling calendars that were set for Shows and the Rigsby’s qui tam case, you may recall mention that several Shows plaintiff’s had retained counsel other than Provost-Umphrey and there would be related motions to sever.
The Summers are represented by Merlin Law Group and Tina Nicholson is handling their case. Sandra Simpson selected Owen, Galloway, Myers and I believe Joe Sam Owen is representing her. Attempting to restrict the options of the clients of either of these two is pretty bold IMO.
It could be that State Farm and Renfroe have focused too much attention on Scruggs and the Rigsby sisters and too little elsewhere. Nine more days and we’ll know more but RICO has a different Statue of Limitations and we still may not know it all.