Rip Van Winkle fills and files “kitchen sink” in Rigsby Qui Tam

Honest to goodness, if Rip Van Winkle didn’t wake up and file the Amended Answer for defendant Forensic Analysis and Engineering, it’s difficult to account for many of 67 defenses (yes, 67!).

New to the case or not, any Statue of Limitations that might apply would not consider the date an attorney makes an appearance; but, that’s only date that might, just might, be beyond some limit.

FIFTH DEFENSE

Some or all of the claims may be barred by the applicable statutes of limitations.

Like many of the defenses, the fifth had no supporting citation.  In those defenses with a citation, the reference was broad with no information on how it might apply.  For example:

THIRTY-SECOND DEFENSE

Some or all of the claims are barred by public policy.

A particularly bewildering defense are the many related to punitive damages beginning with defense thirteen and continuing through defense twenty-six save the one exception, defense twenty-five.

THIRTEENTH DEFENSE

Punitive damages violate the due process, equal protection, and excessive fines clauses of the constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Mississippi.

What makes the twelve punitive damage defenses so bewildering is that no punitive damages are sought.

WHEREFORE, Relators demand judgment against the Defendants jointly and severally in the amount of three times the overcharges submitted for payment to the United States Government, for a civil penalty against the Defendants each jointly and severally in an amount between Five Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars ($5,500.00) and Eleven Thousand Dollars ($11,000.00) for each violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3729, etseq., for the maximum amount allowed to the Qui Tam Plaintiff under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d) of the False Claims Act or any other applicable provision of law, including any alternate remedy provisions, for its court costs and reasonable attorneys fees at prevailing rates, for expenses, and for such other and further relief as this Court deems meet, just and proper.

The False Claims Act establishes the penalty at three times the amount of each infraction.  Consequently, the qui tam claim filed by the Rigsby sisters simply requests a judgment consistent with the law and not requesting punitive damages –  which brings up the law established by the Act and another of the defenses.

FORTY-SEVENTH DEFENSE
The False Claims Act and this Action are in violation of the United States Constitution’s Appointments Clause and the Take Care Clause of Article II.

Count Five of the claim seeks the additional penalty for Retaliation but their request is for compensatory damages and costs.

WHEREFORE, Relators demand judgment against the Defendants jointly and severally for a fair and reasonable amount to be determined by a jury, for its court costs and reasonable attorneys fees at prevailing rates, for expenses, and for such other and further relief as this Court deems meet, just and proper.

Having filled the sink with 67 defenses, the brief the brief turns on the water and attempts to float 44 answers. en moves to answers. Two are particularly noteworthy:

3. It is admitted that FAEC conducted some limited business in this district immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Subject to the other defenses pled herein, FAEC admits only that it is properly before the court and that venue is proper in this district. Otherwise, paragraph 7 of the Complaint is denied.

However, the contact page on the Forensic website lists an office in Ocean Springs, Mississippi – and surely it takes more than “some limited business in this district” to maintain an office.

5. In response to paragraph 17, it is admitted that FAEC is in business to provide engineering services to its clients, which sometimes include insurance companies.

The insurance companies listed on the client page of the Forensic website represent 57% of the company’s total clients listed and include:

Allstate Insurance, Amica Mutual Insurance, Bituminous Insurance,Cigna Property & Casualty,CNA Insurance, Erie Insurance, Farmer’s Insurance,Fireman’s Fund Companies (Atlanta), GEICO, Golden Eagle Insurance (Los Angeles),Home Insurance (Jacksonville), Kemper Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Lloyds of London, Nationwide Insurance, North Carolina Farm Bureau,North Carolina Grange Mutual Insurance Company, Penn National Insurance, Phillips Petroleum, Reliance Insurance Group, Safeco Insurance, Selective Insurance, St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance, State Farm Insurance,Texas Workers’ Compensation Fund, TIG Insurance (Honolulu), and USAA Property & Casualty Insurance

One can’t help but wonder how Judge Senter will drain the sink; but, when it comes to the Rigsby qui tam claim, the unexpected is always expected.

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