Rigsby sisters file motion to dismiss two more defendants from Qui Tam case

Motions to dismiss Exponent, Inc., and the Structures Group as defendants in the Rigsby qui tam case were filed last week.  Both were expected after the Rigsby sisters stated the intent in their Response to the second set of dispositive motions.

In a related move, attorney Robert Gholson filed to make an appearance on behalf of Forensic Analysis Engineering Cooperation and subsequent filed a Joinder to dispositive motions filed by fellow defendants State Farm and E.A. Renfroe.

An interest side note is that while the group of defendants gets leaner, the Rigsbys’ legal representation was beefing up.  Gilbert Randolph has recently become Gilbert Oshinsky LLP according to this story in the Washington Business Journal.Oshinksy literally wrote the book in this industry. He is a co-author of the prominent 1998 legal manual “Practitioner’s Guide to Litigating Insurance Coverage Actions.” Oshinksy was one of the lead attorneys on the Keene Corp. vs. Insurance Co. of North America case, which led to insurance law practice groups popping up across the U.S.

As a former partner at Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin and Oshinsky LLP in Los Angeles, he founded its insurance coverage practice.

“With the addition of Jerry, we can now say that there rarely has been a coverage decision or settlement of any significance in the United States that did not directly involve one or more of our firm’s attorneys,” said Scott Gilbert, founding partner of the firm, in a statement.

The firm, which also has an active public interest practice, has 37 attorneys in its D.C. office.

I’ve been busy off-blog preparing to write a description of the scheme detailed in the Rigsbys’ qui tam claim.  It seemed like the thing to do after the MID report; but, I’m not convinced their investigators could have found it with a map – unless they had opened their eyes!

27 thoughts on “Rigsby sisters file motion to dismiss two more defendants from Qui Tam case”

  1. Back to some Qui Tam stuff… yeah! Nowdy, I was discussing this subject with someone that is -totally- out of the loop in re this case. I let her read the MID report, read the main ScruggsRigsbyGilbert filing (the first one laying out the scheme) and her first reaction was “NO F’ing way!” She is an insurance ignoramus so that issue didnt really come up. Her reaction and explanation was a lot more “simple minded.” I’ll give you all the gist. She said there would be no way that something as big and complex and as evil as what scruggs, rigsbys, et al allege to have happened could come about without a lot more of the independent claims people jumping on the bandwagon. As she said, especially when it seemed en vogue to bad mouth and jump on state farm. In her eyes, this large of a conspiracy would have fallen down the second one other ethical person knew what was being alleged was transpiring. She has a hard time believing every other independent adjuster down there just “swallowed it” as she put it. There were too many other firms involved and she (honestly and I,) cant see that state farm gave a “do it this way and keep quiet or else” talk to every single person except the two that “discovered” it. Since the gals were experienced adjusters and one a supervisor, whouldnt they have been given this same threat? They would not have had to discover the evidence after the fact, they would have seen what was going to happen at the beginning before the deed was done. At least the supervisor (Cori?) would have been told ” this is how your people will adjust claims. If they do otherwise, correct them or fire them.” or something to that effect. What my lady friend says (again very very simplistically, ) the fact that so many claims from so many different adjusters from different companies had the same results, how is it a conspiracy unless they were all told to do it that way and at least one of them would have balked.

    Ok, that’s it from her. I still am ready to see the trial! Like the OJ verdict though, I wonder how everyone will take the end result? TTYL

  2. The slab cases were given to the same few Renfroe adjusters who had worked closely with Lecky King in the past and had received their flood training from her.
    No independent adjusters who were strangers to King got anywhere near a State Farm slab.

  3. Where is that information in the record? I havent heard that fact before. ONLY Renfroe adjusters did state farms slabs? Find me that piece of information and I my lady friend may rethink her conspiracy stance. Basically Mr. Martin you are saying that all the Renfroe people were on the take with state farm except the Rigsbys. Correct?

  4. I’m going to leave the answering to Brian, Proximo, and just make comment that I don’t believe an adjuster would have to be “in the know” to participate in the conspiracy – just more accepting of direction without asking questions like the Rigsby sisters did.

  5. Well, that’s the point isnt it? I mean if this is the “crime” alleged, and it was so blatant and out in the open, why were there not more whistleblowers? That is the point my pal made. There were more supervisors involved, a lot more adjusters, how could so many, be led by so few, and not have already come forward? I havent seen any other adjusters even say that the way they handled the claims was wrong. Have you? The report showed there were errors, misunderstanding of ACC, etc. but the premise remains, how did so many participate in the crime and not say anything about it. SOOO, if they were ripping those people off down there and KNEW it but didnt say anything about it, were THEY on the take as Mr. Martin appears to believe? Were their supervisors? If only the Renfroe bunch did, as Brian said, then I believe we really can start seeing the organized crime part of the whole RICO charge. Otherwise, this is a tempest in a teapot about a bunch of errors being made but no crime committed. BRING ON THE TRIAL!!! Let’s get them ALL on the witness stand! Get every adjuster, manager, engineer, etc. to get on that stand and tell us what they were told to do and if they thought it was criminal and if so, they are accomplices after the fact.

  6. Not to get too involved Proximo, but when State Farm ordered the engineering firms to change the reports and they did, is that not organized crime? Also do you think those 200k-300k a year adjusters cared what was happening on the second floor. just saying

  7. I think largely the same cast of characters were involved with Lecky King in Watkins, the major case involving 1999 Oklahoma City tornados. In that case State Farm actually denied obvious wind damage (no flooding to blame).

    Over time we see a discernable pattern involving State Farm and Lecky King. State Farm policyholders never had a chance with her in charge. The weak were fleeced while those that dared to litigate were fought tooth and nail.

    Proximo are you familar with the name Tim Marshall? He is an engineer with Haag, a firm State Farm used in Oklahoma City and initially after Katrina. Given the findings in Watkins I’m surprised Marshall had the audacity to show up here during Katrina. Anita Lee made sure Watkins didn’t remain news in just Oklahoma.

    The funny thing about being someone else whore, when time comes to cut losses the whores always end up thrown out first. The major casualty in Watkins ultimately turned out to be Marshall and Haag. With Chaney’s MID Market Conduct study it looks to me like EA Renfroe is being thrown under the bus now.

    This is what an impartial jury found about State Farm, Haag and Renfroe.

    We do find by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant, State Farm, recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with class members in its use of Haag Engineering Company.

    We do find by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant, State Farm, intentionally and with malice breached its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with class members in its use of Haag Engineering Company.

    We do find by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant, State Farm, recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with class members in its use of independent adjustors from E. A. Renfroe Company.

    We do find by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant, State Farm, intentionally and with malice breached its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with class members in its use of independent adjustors from E. A. Renfroe Company.

    I guess we could ignore Watkins but that ignores the reality with Lecky King and her merry gang of so called “independent adjusters” and engineers. After all even Mike Chaney could not hide the extent of what State Farm did down here.

    sop

  8. I always read Proximo’s posts with interest. But with due respect, he and his gal pal really don’t understand this at all. Let me make it clear that I have been very careful not to accuse anyone of crimes (and this is necessary because like Mr. Martin, I always post under my real name). But, bad faith claims adjusting and unfair claims practices often are not defined to meet the level of a “crime.” Is it realistic to believe that not a single insurance company employee or executive engaged in what the industry so often accuses claimants of, “insurance fraud,” or can insurers not engage in fraud? I don’t know of a single insurance company employee who has even been arrested, much less convicted, of any crimes resulting from Katrina.

    What much of this boils down to with State Farm is the application of the “Wind/Water Claim Handling Protocol” CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR HURRICANE KATRINA ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2005. According to SF’s corporate representative in Katrina litigation in Louisiana, this protocol was to be applied by all adjusters to all wind/water claims. The damning section of the protocol, which I have read probably several hundred times, but never loses its shock value, states:

    “Damage to Property Caused by Flood Waters with available Flood Policy

    Where wind acts concurrently with flooding to cause damage to the insured property, coverage for the loss exists only under flood coverage, if available. The flood damage claim should be handled consistent with the terms of the flood policy providing coverage as outlined in Operation Guide 71-06.”

    We have had SF adjusters and supervisors testify that if the winds of Katrina blew an elevated house off its foundation into the waterway (canal) by which the home stood, it was a flood claim (Louque v. State Farm). Does this make sense to any of you?

    So, the reality of the situation is that aside from the manipulation of engineering reports which you have been discussing here, the independent adjusters don’t need to utilize their discretion in unjustly depriving premium-paying policyholders of compensation. They merely applied the protocol, which many homeowners and their attorneys contend, was unfair from the outset.

  9. I’m not saying anything regarding their guilt or innocence because I think there NEEDS to be a trial. But, nothing you folks said convinces me (or will convince some of the others up here in the frigid north) that such a HUGE conspiracy with SO MANY PLAYERS would have remained a conspiracy except for the actions of these women? How many dfferent engineering firms were hired? How many different adjusting firms were hired? If an insurer, even one as big as state farm, told engineers to change reports and did it with no more reason than “because we said so” wouldnt those firms have told them to take a hike? Is the whole world under that insurance company’s control? The point remains – how did so many participate in this crime and only state farm is to blame? Why are the Rigsby’s letting people out of an action where it appears the people being let go of were accomplices to the crime? If I tell someone to rob a bank, and they do it, arent they at fault? If sf tells an engineering co to change a report and they do it, who is at fault? The engineering report changing is a red herring to me anyway because didnt ms rigsby (cant remember which one,) say that the report needed to be changed and that the second report was the accurate one? Cant remember where I saw that but I think it was also in the doi report. Wasn’t it?

  10. Good reply Mr. Trahant (we mustve been typing at the same time.) But isnt that what I was referring to. If your employer tells you to do something bad, and most of these adjusters had to KNOW what they were doing would be construed as fraud and make them culpable as well, and you still do it, isnt your neck in the noose with the company? By the way, I still do not see anything wrong with the company giving them directions that basically states what the courts have said was correct. Concurrent causes are excluded, independent wind damage needs to be paid for, flood damage goes under the flood policy. I and others who are not lawyers or claim people have looked at that document and it is a very plainly typed set of instructions for what had to be a bunch of less experienced adjusters. NOW, the fact that the company expected everyone to know what concurrent means is a whole other matter. EVERYONE has seen state farm didnt do a good job educating its own adjusters about that word and clause let alone all the folks in the adjusting companies they hired. But is that criminal? Is the underlying crime that state farm intentionally hired inexperienced people to handle claims knowing they wouldnt object to being told how to handle them wrong on slab claims?

  11. By the way, I guess I keep thinking CRIME because of the RICO lawsuit and it is fashioned the same way and makes the same allegations as the qui tam doesnt it? I guess I am getting the two confused…happens on Mondays…. ALOT.

  12. Proximo:

    But that’s not what the courts have said, even Leonard and Tuepker. The sworn testimony in Louque v. State Farm that I referenced shows not an intent to pay for segregable wind damage, but a company wide policy that mandates: if flood water touches a total loss/”slab case,” we have no obligation to pay, even if the structure was destroyed by wind before the remnants were washed away by surge. That’s not what the courts have approved with respect to the ACC. I am afraid to get into the particulars of pending SF cases because you never know who monitors this blog, but I would love to send you some testimony that might change your mind.

    There are at least 3 cases before the U.S. 5th Cir. (that I know of) right now that might shed some more light on this.

  13. Proximo:

    One thing I left out was that the WWP did not even require the wind and flooding to cause the damage to the SAME parts of the structure. That’s what the courts have approved, but they have approved nothing like the exact language I have cited from the WWP, which is not even the same as the language of the ACC. That’s the problem.

  14. Richard,
    I have gotten pacer access since becoming a qui-tam junkie (and coast cases in particular) so give me the case numbers and I’ll dl them. The places I have seen sf get in trouble is where they did not offer anything for wind damage that they should have been able to at least approximate. I agree that they handled the windwater thing WRONG when they didnt even extend an offer for SOME damage. Mr. Taylor, Mr. Martin, and most others down there KNOW the hurricane winds blew long enough to do damage before the waters. The company was too dumb in its decision to not at least take a guess at what was done before denying everything. That is why I think the Broussard decision made sense although not from a damages point of view. If you can get on a stand and say there was a 25% change of 15-30% damage to a roof, then by God ya better be making the offer. What I guess we are saying up here is, the whole conspiracy thing looks like a sham to get the sistas and dickie boy out from under the gun for stealing documents used to line their pockets. The concurrent cause language and the flood excl for sf was upheld in the 5th wasnt it? Was that what you were referring to with tupker and leonard?

    By the way, in your example, if the adjuster says the wind blew the house into the water but the wind did no damage before doing so, then what caused the damage. Guess what I am gettin at is this: if the house were blown into a deep canal and sat there, then scuba tank wearing adjusters and engineers look at the house inside and out and find every shingle in place, not a window broken, etc. What is the damage and what caused it. (gotta love the stuff that pokes into my head during the middle of the day!) Have a great one and give me those case numbers..feed my habit.

    P

  15. Proximo:

    Look on Pacer at Ed of LA #07-4371, Doc. #58, Exhibits 6-11. These are excerpts. I am associated co-counsel on this case so I don’t want to post anything here. If you are interested and would like the entire transcript, maybe we can find a way for you to get it.

  16. The testimony is that the flood/wind claims were handled out of the Gulfport office and the wind only claims were handled out of the Biloxi office.
    Lecky King and Mark Drain were the State Farm overseers in Gulfport. Renfroe and Pilot each had a trailer of adjusters in Gulfport and the adjusters from those two companies handled almost every State Farm flood claim. The Renfroe adjusters appear to have handled the highest profile cases. The same Renfroe adjuster handled Lott’s claim and Taylor’s claim, for example.
    Most of the Renfroe adjusters have testified that they received their training from State Farm seminars and from Lecky King and Mark Drain and Dave Randell.
    Several of the Renfroe women had been recruited by the Rigsbys and worked as assistants for them in previous disasters until they had enough experience to take their own claims. They were all trained to ask, “What would Lecky do?”

  17. Proximo:

    Our cases have nothing to do with Scruggs or the Rigsby sisters. But you brought up a good point earlier. Do you think maybe the reason more employees do not come forward to blow the whistle has anything to do with the life-ruining, character assassination the Rigsby sisters have endured? Remember, they were of good enough morals and character to have handled some pretty important State Farm claims for years. But of course now, according to State Farm, they are pathological liars. This must be a character trait they only acquired after doing many claims for State Farm.

    If someone would have made the claims against Enron, for which several of its executives were ultimately convicted, a year before it imploded, the words “sham” and “conspiracy theorist” certainly would have been used to describe that person.

  18. Katy you mean something specific like: DO NOT DISCUSS DO NOT PAY.

    Seems to me the insurance apologists have run out of other people to blame for the screwing State Farm put on it’s customers here on the Gulf Coast. Scruggs is gone, the State Farm shills and corporate apologists are gone but we’re still here.

    Brian won’t tell you this Katy but I will – I’m hearing the new Congress will be taking an interest in these matters, and State Farm won’t have George Bush to hide behind at the Federal level. Mike Chaney and Lee Harrell won’t be able to help them either.

    In the meantime lets enjoy watching the Farm putting their former do bitch hooker friends at EA Renfroe under the bus.

    sop

  19. Katy:

    The name Lecky King is not mentioned in any of my posts above. In fact, I don’t “need a name to focus on” as you suggest.

  20. This scheme was hatched in Bloomington well above Lecky King. My point about her was to answer the question about how they kept the flood claims in the hands of captive adjusters.
    All the investigations, GAO, OIG, MID have described fraudulent practices but then for their own political reasons they refused to call it fraud. Establishing a corporate practice to pay policy limits on flood and nothing on wind without conducting adequate investigations of the losses is fraud.

  21. Thank you for that, Brian. I must have read every definition of fraud on the web – finally decided the word described the reports as well since they could not have missed the fraudulent practices without trying.

  22. Frankly folks I have a hard time with anyone showing up here complaining about us mentioning one of the perps in Lecky King. Thanks to Lecky’s employer, we know all about Cori and Kerri Rigsby’s sex lives, pets. etc etc etc.

    Before Ms King fucked people here, perhaps she should have considered her glass jaw if the blowback is too great for her now.

    State Farm does not exist apart from the actions of the players.

    sop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *