State Farm’s Reply claims the Scruggses’ response is written as if this case were a blank slate with no past history and no prior rulings from this Court and the discovery process is designed to seek the truth – and applauds its own integrity noting since the lawsuit was filed, State Farm has worked to bring the true facts to light.
I’m going to forgo a point by point comparison of the State Farm reply to the Scruggs response and focus on one aspect that indicates just how far off base State Farm’s defense is in this case. The closest thing to sex that’s relevant is the blow job Katrina did on the coast and how it was addressed in claims handling, the McIntosh claims in the instant case.
On the first page of their response, as their isolated lead-off cherry-picked example, the Scruggses attempt to shock, distract, and prejudice this Court with unfounded assertions that State Farm merely seeks to harass them with questions about the possibility of an affair with Kerri Rigsby… What the Scruggses fail to mention is that Kerri Rigsby has admitted having affairs with married men involved in handling Katrina claims and that there has been talk of an affair involving one of the Scruggses.
Who in godsname asked Kerri Rigsby such a question? The people who trusted State Farm to handle their claim promptly want to know what State Farm did and didn’t do. The reply states, if the answer was “no,” then that was all that need be said; but the truth is that nothing should have been said, the subject had no place in the discussion.
It is axiomatic that evidence of such an affair is admissible for purposes of demonstrating motive and bias. It is difficult to imagine more relevant evidence of bias than informing a jury that the testimony about another person is being provided by a witness with whom she had an affair.
Well, it’s axiomatic in my book that a jury member hearing McIntosh has more important affairs to consider starting with the business affairs related to the McIntosh claim and ending there.
Evidence as to “a witness’ motivation for testifying, as well as any other potential incentives for falsification, are always relevant lines of inquiry….[P]roof of bias, that is, any evidence of a relationship, circumstance or motivation which might lead a witness to slant, unconsciously or otherwise, his testimony is almost always relevant.
Claims documents as an aphrodisiac? Probably not. However, if that’s what turns on State Farm lawyers, they’ve got bigger problems than McIntosh.
“Courts generally are ‘liberal’ in admitting evidence of bias because a jury ‘must be sufficiently informed of the underlying relationships, circumstances, and influences operating on the witness to determine whether a modification of the testimony reasonably could be expected as a probable human reaction.’”
That is because “[a] successful showing of bias on the part of a witness would have a tendency to make the facts to which he testifies less probable in the eyes of the jury than it would be without such testimony…[T]he exposure of a witness’ motivation in testifying is a proper and important function of the constitutionally protected right of cross-examination.”
Courts may be “liberal” but they’re not kinky – and IMO no other word describes twisting case law in an attempt to justify otherwise irrelevant questions to make sex an issue. The issue before the court is did State Farm f#%* with the McIntosh claim or not.
The Scruggses cannot seriously dispute that questions designed to discover information about possible bias or motivation are not relevant.
I certainly can’t speak for the Scruggses; but, the questions should be designed to discover bias or motivation in State Farm’s handling of the claim – thus the only relevant affair to my thinking would be one involving Lecky King.