Counsel for the Rigsby sisters seem to always make their point with fewer words than most attorneys use to introduce their argument – but why waste words when State Farm’s counsel seems to love playing dumb.
The Farm’s dumb blond attempt at a cover for their release of the confidential Renfroe-Rigsby settlement agreement made State Farm the Dolly Parton of insurance IMO – not dumb and not blond either.
However, their futile and frivolous claim about the settlement agreement is not as dumb as their argument that they unknowingly committed any fraud in the McIntosh claim but, if they did, their little bit of fraud was reasonable.
State Farm’s Motion to Amend should be denied because the motion is futile. Generally, leave to amend pleadings should be “freely given when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). However, “leave to amend is not automatic,” and leave can be properly denied “when amendment would be futile.” Avatar Exploration, Inc. v. Chevron, U.S.A., Inc., 933 F.2d 314, 320-21 (5th Cir. 1991)
State Farm seeks leave to amend its answer to assert an affirmative defense that the Relators have released all claims against State Farm by virtue of the settlement agreement they reached in E.A. Renfroe & Company, Inc. v. Moran… But State Farm was not a party to the Renfroe Settlement. Nothing in the Renfroe Settlement binds, releases, or in any way affects State Farm or the Relators’ claims against State Farm. Moreover, consent of the United States government is required to release qui tam claims, the Renfroe Settlement could not have released State Farm absent the government’s consent on the record; no such consent has been given.
Accordingly, because the Renfroe Settlement has no effect on State Farm, State Farm’s Motion should be denied because it is futile and frivolous.