Given the strength of their arguments thus far, there was little left for the Rigsbys Qui Tam attorneys to say but what part of of ‘no’ do you not understand in Response to the 11th dispositive motion.
While Renfroe’s motion is fashioned as a summary judgment motion, it asserts the same arguments made in State Farm’s Memorandum in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction that under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), this Court has no jurisdiction over this matter because (1) the allegations of fraud were publicly disclosed; (2) this action was based on public disclosures; and (3) the Relators are not original sources.
Relators already have responded in full to State Farm’s arguments. Accordingly, pursuant to the Court’s Scheduling Order, Relators incorporate by reference Relators’ Response to State Farm’s Motion in its entirety.
While Relators’ Response to State Farm’s Motion is sufficient by itself to defeat Renfroe’s Summary Judgment Motion, set forth below are several additional points that specifically address Renfroe’s arguments. (emphasis added)
One of the “additional points” the qui tam lawyers made was a knock-out!
Go ahead and scroll down to the punch line if you can’t resist, just come back and read from the top to understand the potential impact.
Renfroe makes one additional argument that State Farm did not raise in its Motion to Dismiss: that in E.A. Renfroe & Company, Inc. v. Moran Kerri Rigsby admitted that “her knowledge of the allegations in this case” is based upon publicly disclosed sources. Renfroe’s argument is meritless and Renfroe’s description of Kerri Rigsby’s words is misleading.
In the Renfroe matter, Renfroe argued in a motion that Kerri Rigsby should be held in contempt of court because statements she made in an April 2007 television advertisement violated a preliminary injunction that was entered by Judge Acker. The preliminary injunction barred the Rigsbys from using certain documents that they obtained while they were employed by Renfroe and State Farm. In the television advertisement at issue, Kerri Rigsby stated, “I know first hand how far [insurance companies] will go to avoid paying your claim” and she mentioned insurers shredding documents and changing engineering reports.
In its Motion to Show Cause, Renfroe took the position that the television advertisement violated the terms of the injunction because, “Ms. Rigsby and her sister were the originators and suppliers of all the knowledge of the issues she referenced in this ad” and that “Ms. Rigsby is the original source of the information about the changing engineering reports.”
Essentially, Renfroe argued that because all of the knowledge of State Farm’s fraud was originally supplied by the Rigsbys, any mention of that fraud would necessarily violate the injunction…
Now, Renfroe criticizes Kerri Rigsby for failing to acknowledge that “her knowledge of the allegations in this case is- when it suits her purposes- based on publicly disclosed sources.”
But Kerri Rigsby’s position has always been consistent and clear.
This case, which was filed in April 2006, is based on the Relators’ direct and independent knowledge. The television advertisement, which was made a year later, was not based on documents that were subject to the injunction in Renfroe, but rather on Kerri Rigsby’s direct and independent knowledge apart from those documents and on information from public sources that were created in April 2007.
Thus, Renfroe’s additional argument fails to demonstrate that this action was “based on” public disclosures…
Even if this lawsuit were based on public disclosures, Renfroe fails to show that Relators are not original sources of the information they provided to the government.
...the Court need not look beyond Renfroe’s Motion to Show Cause in the Renfroe matter to reject Renfroe’s argument that Relators are not original sources. As described above, Renfroe concedes in that motion that: “Ms. Rigsby and her sister were the originators and suppliers of all the knowledge of the issues she referenced in this ad” and that “Ms. Rigsby is the original source of the information about the changing engineering reports.” Indeed, it is not Relators who have taken inconsistent positions in this litigation.
Sop, bellesouth, and I have been saying as much for months now and I feel confident they would join me in suggesting the Court look deeper into everything before looking beyond anything – and that Discovery for the Rigsbys is long overdue, another point proven by Renfroe yesterday in the Rebuttal they filed to an earlier Rigsby Response.
If Relators are, in fact, the insiders they claim to be, it simply strains credulity that they would not have had access to the facts relating to the fraud they have alleged.
Is credulity not more strained by making that argument to the Court knowing the Relators have not been allowed to conduct discovery or just par for an ethically-challenged defense?