Catch-all update on Shows, McIntosh, and the Rigsby qui tam claim

Along with the truckload of State Farm motions in the qui tam cases that I’ve yet to post and the orders in McIntosh that I’ve just posted, there are a handful best tossed in a single catch-all post.

In Shows v State Farm, Magistrate Judge Linda Alexander issued an Order granting the pending Motions to Sever, incorporating the language requested in Renfroe’s related unopposed motion, and authorized the transfer of these cases to Judges Walker and Senter.

The motions are unopposed by any party, subject to the understanding that E. A. Renfroe & Company, Inc., Gene Renfroe, or Jana Renfroe, shall not be named as defendants in the amended complaints filed by the Summers and Simpson, and that the amended complaints do not include a RICO conspiracy or civil conspiracy claim relating to their Hurricane Katrina insurance claims. The Court finds that the motions are well advised and should be granted.

Is the ease with which it appears these plaintiffs dropped claims against Refroe an indication of anything other than the nature of the claims? Something to think about – particularly if you’re one of the Renfroes.

The leading candidate for snark-of-the-week thus far is State Farm’s Response to the Rigsby’s motion requesting an extension of time to prepare a response to various State Farm motions.

…no discovery is necessary “in order [for the Rigsbys] to prepare responses, rebuttals, or supporting memoranda,” to the pending dispositive motions. Continue reading “Catch-all update on Shows, McIntosh, and the Rigsby qui tam claim”

Breaking: Judge Walker denies Motion to Compel Scruggs, Motion for Summary Judgment, Renders others Moot and McIntosh moves on!

State Farm’s my-way-or-the-highway approach to the depositions of the Scruggses hit the road today in Southern District Federal Court with Judge Walker’s Order denying their motion to compel the Scruggs to testify.

Walker’s denial renders moot the Motion to Strike filed by the Scruggs reported here and the Motion for Protection filed by McIntosh Counsel Tina Nicholson. (text only order)

Walker also issued an Order denying State Farm’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

As you will see in the text of the orders, these motions were ill advised from the get go – defense mechanisms in otherwise indefensible motions IMO.  First, take a look the Order denying the Motion to Compel. Continue reading “Breaking: Judge Walker denies Motion to Compel Scruggs, Motion for Summary Judgment, Renders others Moot and McIntosh moves on!”

With two states of ambiguity, whose side is Nationwide on?

I’ve been watching the number of insurances cases filed in the Southern District Federal Court during August and was surprised to find Nationwide in the lead last time I checked with over 20 new cases filed this month – now, up to 30 as of a moment ago.

Since all new cases may not be Katrina related, I was also surprised the two I randomly plucked from the list for review were both Katrina related and virtually identical in key issues. Plaintiff’s in both had policies with Hurricane Coverage and Deductible Provision Endorsement – and, in yet another surprise, plaintiff’s claims had also been denied on the same basis in both cases:

Ultimately, Nationwide denied the Plaintiffs’ claim not because it determined Plaintiffs’ home and property were completely destroyed by an allegedly excluded peril, but because Nationwide determined it could not find evidence of wind damage

However, the more compelling reasons for my surprise at seeing so many newly filed suits against Nationwide are two-fold.  First, my research has lead me to understand there are two states of ambiguity at play in these wind and water cases.  Secondly; Nationwide was the Defendant in one of the landmark Katrina cases, Leonard, successfully appealed to the Fifth Circuit – a ruling it appears everyone but Nationwide understood was flawed.

The validity of the ACC clause is the key interpretive battleground of this appeal…

…Before trial, Nationwide moved for partial summary judgment, arguing that: (1) the ACC clause and water-damages exclusion unambiguously precluded coverage for any damage not solely attributable to wind…

The district court’s unsupported conclusions that the ACC clause is ambiguous and that the policyholder can parse out the portion of the concurrently caused damage that is attributable to wind contradict the policy language. (emphasis mine)

David Rossmiller posted the Leonard decision and comment on his insurance law blog. However, it was not Rossmiller’s post on the wind and water issues of Leonard that I found most enlightening on the ACC clause; but his post on a Canadian case where the issue was mold damage. It’s a shame the Fifth Circuit Continue reading “With two states of ambiguity, whose side is Nationwide on?”

OK Folks the New Jim Cantore Rumor Goes Like This….(Updated)

I heard this from a friend, who heard it from his brother who knows someone in Janitorial at the IP. Jim Cantore is still in Atlanta but he made reservations to come to the IP in 5 days because the coast will get creamated by Gustav. It’s true according to Lotus at Folo.

I was thinking it’s probably more a matter of Cantore/TWC’s making reservations than actually showing up onsite this far ahead. Not surprised he’s still in Atlanta at this point.

Beulah Balbricker strikes again, always great with spelling but a tad low on common sense.

The real scoop is that TWC corporate cut travel budgets so Cantore made reservations at the Motel 6. 😉

Update: Continue reading “OK Folks the New Jim Cantore Rumor Goes Like This….(Updated)”

Breaking: Lecky King Finally Talks to MID, Merlin to Depose Her

Anita Lee is one busy lady lately. She is reporting that Lecky King finally spoke with the MID on their long delayed market conduct study. She is also reporting Chip Merlin is trying to schedule her deposition for McIntosh. Given Lee Harrell’s prior public pronouncements on the MID State Farm Market Conduct Exam the public here still expects the report to be a whitewash.

Lee also ties in King’s conduct in Oklahoma to the story, after all, delay, deny and deceive did not originate in Mississippi. This is a must read for those wanting some basic background on claims handling tactics on the Farm:

After refusing to answer policyholders’ questions for almost two years, a State Farm claims manager accused of mishandling Katrina claims has talked to the Mississippi Insurance Department for a market conduct study of the company and also is prepared to testify in policyholder cases.

MID’s long-awaited and overdue market conduct study of how the company handled claims was supposed to be released before month’s end, but now won’t be ready until late September at the earliest. A source familiar with the study says follow-up is needed as a result of Alexis “Lecky” King’s responses.

An attorney in the contentious McIntosh vs. State Farm case, Chip Merlin, said State Farm has indicated King also will answer questions and is available for pre-trial testimony, called a deposition, in that case. Merlin said he is trying to schedule the deposition for early September in Pensacola, where King lives. Continue reading “Breaking: Lecky King Finally Talks to MID, Merlin to Depose Her”

Gustav Forecast Track Changes…..(Updated 3X)


I’ve been holding off posting on Gustav but the latest forecast track has caused quite a stir down in Bay-Waveland according to Steve who called me a few minutes ago.

Just a few years removed from the effects of Katrina the populace is understandably nervous.

I suspect the mood is similar with our neighbors to the west in Louisiana. Belle tells me friends of hers from the City are already making reservations with her in Natchez.

My own thoughts (and hopefully not just wishful thinking) is it is better to be smack in the middle of  the cone of uncertainty at this point than Sunday night. Throw in Ivan from 2004 and we really need this storm to track east of Fort Walton so the joy can be more evenly spread. And with $4 dollar a gallon gas a recent memory the oil rigs could stand the break too.  We’ll see soon enough. Continue reading “Gustav Forecast Track Changes…..(Updated 3X)”

Welcome to Slabbed Mr Moran and Our Condolences for the Way You Were Treated on the MID Farm…

Anita Lee has a way of finding the perfect example to illustrate the complex chain of events that has become the post Katrina experience on the coast. I have had far more ideas for posts than time to write them but I’ll lay my plans for this morning aside because Mr Moran’s story is too good to keep from our readers.

Before I get to the Anita’s report I’ll backtrack to set up the slabbed background for the story. It all started when Jim Hood announced he settled his State civil case against State Farm, kicking off the rather predictable shill response from the combo of partisan Jim Hood haters and insurance types. We weren’t shy about calling out the spinmeisters and their self serving revisionist history of those particular events by presenting less biased contemporary news accounts from the time.

What started as another Jim Hood cyber dog pile morphed to the ridiculous when former disgraced insurance commissioner George Dale and current commissioner Mike Chaney chimed in claiming Jim Hood deserved none of the credit for the second State Farm round of mediation and claims re evaluation saying the Mississippi Insurance Department deserved it.

The sheer stupidity of the pols claiming credit for what happened with State Farm after the storm lead us to visit the history beginning with the first MID mediation program which was deeply flawed and allowed for an officially sanctioned platform for insurers to fleece their policyholders. My remembrances from the time was the elderly were especially vulnerable to being taken advantage of by George Dale’s mediation process. Revisiting that issue also raised a legal question and Nowdy’s post and the resulting comments further illuminated why the slabbed largely viewed MID’s mediation as a sham. We continue to give George Dale and Mike Chaney at MID the credit they so publicly craved for helping a large insurance company screw the citizens of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

This leads us back to Anita Lee’s excellent account of Mr Roland Moran Continue reading “Welcome to Slabbed Mr Moran and Our Condolences for the Way You Were Treated on the MID Farm…”