It seemed this personal perspective on qui tam that I wrote for Katrina’s 3rd was a fitting introduction for a post letting the rest of we the people know that the Rigsbys legal team honored us all with their response to the first set of dispositive motions filed by State Farm.
qui tam translates to [he] who sues for the King and himself. In our country…We the people are King; and, our homes – humble, grand, or Katrina cottage – our castles. The proper title of the Katrina qui tam case would be Nowdy, Sop, Belle… ex rel Rigsby. Of course, it would have to include another 300 million plus names and that’s just not possible.
Consequently, we the people are presented by the single name USA.
Not only did the Rigsbys’ counsel honor all of us, they honored Judge Senter as well. They filed their Response with State Farm still holding all of the documents they requested through normal channels of discovery – holding on even after the Rigsbys’ counsel filed an emergency motion with a scaled down the set of documents requested!
Class versus Crass
If you recall, there were three sets of dispositive motions detailed in this earlier post. This Response is to the first set that seeks to dismiss the qui tam claim on the basis of lack of jurisdiction. One of the three statutory requirements related to jurisdiction is that the Relators must be an original source of the information provided the government.
Can you imagine having to make that case with the information still in State Farm’s possession?
I certainly can’t; not with a case this big; but, these guys are so comfortable with the knowledge base that this response reads like a conversation – not that they had much choice without documents. I’m guessing at least one member of the team has a photographic memory and just loves to read insurance case law.
They didn’t even mention not having the documents until the very last item of the very last section – one paragraph, copied below with all emphasis mine.
As the Relators discussed in their Reply in Support of Discovery, they are the original sources of documents and information that they no longer have in their possession. Docket entry  at 3-5. Although the facts and authorities described above demonstrate that the Rigsbys do not even need to be an original source, and, in any event are an original source for the allegations regarding the details of State Farm’s fraudulent scheme, which includes the McIntosh, Mullins, and Vela-related claims, the Rigsbys respectfully submit that they will be able to provide even more information that will further support their status as original sources when State Farm produces documents pursuant to the Rigsbys’ expedited discovery requests. Indeed, the Rigsbys believe that those documents will reveal further specific instances of fraud, as will general discovery that will be taken in this case.
Class versus crass
Read this response if you don’t ever read another document we link. It tells the story of a very complex scheme in considerable detail, yet in a very simple way.
It’s a story that I happen to believe is also a very simple truth – one that’s been purposefully distorted and skillfully manipulated to not only discredit the Rigsby sisters and their qui tam claim; but also, IMO, to secure favorable rulings from the courts here and in Alabama.
The reason you have to link and read is that the rest of this post belongs to Cori and Kerri – a little space – just one example – but enough to let you see how testimony the Rigsby sisters have given in depositions has been distorted and manipulated as I and others contend.
State Farm cites Kerri Rigsby’s deposition testimony in Marion v. State Farm, No. 06-cv-969, to argue that there was no fraud in the McIntosh case because she believed at the time that there was at least $250,000 of flood damage to the McIntosh home. Mot. to Dismiss at 16.
In that deposition, Kerri Rigsby testified that she believed there was a significant amount of flood/water damage to the McIntosh home from Hurricane Katrina.
But Kerri, who is not an engineer, also testified that she initially reached those conclusions at a time when she still believed State Farm’s carefully fabricated storm model.
Indeed, she testified that State Farm presented the Haag Report to its adjusters and claims handlers as scientific fact and claimed that the storm surge had preceded Katrina’s devastating winds. McIntosh Depo. of K. Rigsby, May 1, 2007, 239:16-240:7.
Kerri further testified that she “bought right into the presentation [of the Haag report],” and “believed everything they told [her].” Id. at 240:3-5.
Most importantly, Kerri admitted in her May 2007 deposition that she should not have approved the payment of the McIntosh flood claim. Id. at 238:6-17.
McIntosh is more central to and significant in the qui tam case than I realized. So the clarification achieved by putting testimony in context is important for purposes other than just setting the record straight as you’ll see in the response.
Class versus Crass
Click that link and start reading. Meanwhile, I can’t think of a better way to end than with the opening statement of the response drafted by the Rigsby sisters’ legal team.
The Rigsbys are quintessential whistleblowers who, as insiders with direct and independent knowledge, put the government on the trail of State Farm’s fraud. Accordingly, the Court should deny State Farm’s motion and turn its attention to the central issue in this case: State Farm’s fraudulent conduct.