11th Circuit overturns Scruggs contempt citation!

Renfroe’s suggestion of mootness by virtue of Scruggs’ satisfaction of the June 5, 2008, contempt judgment is unavailing… The satisfaction of a joint and several liability does not moot the appeal of the debtor satisfying the judgment. See United States v. Balint, 201 F.3d 928 (7th Cir. 2000) (citing Corley v. Rosewood Care Center, Inc., 142 F.3d 1041, 1058 (7th Cir. 1998)) (“Payment of the sanction does not moot the appeal because the appellate court can fashion effective relief to the appellant by ordering that the sum paid in satisfaction of the sanction be returned”)…

That interesting piece of information comes from a footnote in the 11th Circuit ruling vacating Judge Acker’s Order.

The Sun Herald has the story and the 11th Circuit’s ruling.  Way to go, Anita Lee!

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a federal judge who cited then-attorney Dickie Scruggs for contempt of court…Acker held both Scruggs and the adjusters, sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby, in contempt of court when the records were not returned to the Rigsbys employer, independent adjusting firm E.A. Renfroe. Acker levied a $65,000 fine to compensate Renfroe’s attorney’s fees in pursuing the records.

Scruggs paid the fine into a holding account and appealed Acker’s decision.

Renfroe, which supplied adjusters to State Farm after Katrina, had sued the Rigsbys in the company’s home state of Alabama for breach of contract. The appellate court held that Scruggs was not a party to the Renfroe vs. Rigsby lawsuit and, therefore, could not be held in contempt. The appellate judges also removed Acker from any further proceedings in the case.

The 11th Circuit ruling has Acker eating his own words:

…Based upon our review of the district court’s two contempt orders in this case, we conclude that Scruggs was not shown to have been an aider or abettor of the Rigsbys. Therefore, he is not subject to the jurisdiction of the district court nor its judgment of civil contempt.

First, it is clear from the earlier June 15, 2007, order that the district court found as a matter of fact that the Rigsbys did not have possession of the documents at the time their return to Renfroe was mandated. The district court stated:

But the fact remains that the Rigsbys themselves did not have possession of the documents on or after December 8, 2006, and this should preclude a jury finding that they knowingly or willfully violated the terms of the preliminary injunction.

Furthermore, in the June 5, 2008, order, the court found that the Rigsbys – who “still had some stolen materials in their possession [at the time the injunction issued] . . . quickly endeavored, if not with complete dedication or success, to comply with the clear mandate of the injunction.”

Their lawyer “promptly asked Scruggs to honor the injunction by returning the stolen materials, and he instructed the Rigsbys to deliver to Renfroe’s counsel all materials in their actual possession.” Thus, the district court itself found that the Rigsbys did not have the documents at the time the injunction issued, and asked Scruggs to comply with the injunction and return his copy.

Second, the district court held in its June 15, 2007, order that it was Scruggs who violated the injunction by giving his copy of the documents to Attorney General Hood. The district court made perfectly clear in this order that it considered Scruggs the principal in the injunction’s violation, referring him to the United States Attorney for prosecution for criminal contempt. The district court said of the Rigsbys:

They could be in criminal contempt only if held vicariously liable as agents or confederates of Scruggs. They certainly were not the brains of the injunction-avoidance schemes. After they gave the documents to Scruggs they were, in effect, controlled by him. (emphasis added) Thus, the district court found as a matter of fact in its June 15 order that Scruggs acted independently and on his own in delivering the documents to Attorney General Hood. It concluded t 3 hat the Rigsbys “were not as clever as Scruggs was.” They, unlike Scruggs, “quickly endeavored . . . to comply with the clear mandate of the injunction.”

The law is clear…

Yes, very clear – and that raises other questions…many other questions…and we’ve yet to hear the end of this story.

Hopefully, the next chapter will address Judge Walker’s reliance on Acker’s Orders and Opinions when the law was otherwise and clear – and the related impact on both the  McIntosh case and the Rigsbys’ qui tam claim.

Cori and Keri – acting for we the people – did not steal anything! (and that law is also clear)

13 thoughts on “11th Circuit overturns Scruggs contempt citation!”

  1. Alot of supposedly bright people bought into the line of bullshit State Farm and their Portland based lackey spouted but when you take just a short critcial peeksie under the Hood, the Farm’s house of cards, along with those who spouted it chapter and verse fold up pretty quick.

    I posted this once but the vid is appropriate on this thread.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6vm9ce0mos]

    sop

  2. In my opinion, the Alabama suit against the Rigsbys via Scruggs was a carefully orchestrated selective prosecution, written and directed by State Farm and Renfroe. Birmingham, wing nut epicenter of selective prosecution, was the perfect venue as SF has a huge divisional office there, and it

  3. Excellent analysis Juriscribe. Rossie had some help btw, since we’re not naming names I’ll identify them as the moneygrubbing Mississippi wannabe from Florida and the lawyer from Oxford that made her his tool.

    I don’t think the lawyer from Oxford liked the same type cyber mugging when it involved his client. 😉

    Mooooo

    sop

  4. sop81_1, I agree re your take on Florida and Oxford. Without nagging editors demanding truth-in-blogging, it’s pretty easy for some to write anything and act like it’s established fact. Over the last 3 years I saw many, many intelligent people, bona fide readers no less, ingest SF’s perverse deceit without a moment’s reflection.

  5. I never thought I’d check the blog and find a comment that laid out the facts so well and so completely. Thank you Juriscribe – and thank you 11th Circuit for restoring my faith in the courts.

    Hopefully, the decision from the 11th has opened the door to a truthful accounting of what took actually took place in Oxford.

    As Juriscribe said, “nothing here is meant to excuse or exonerate Dick Scruggs” but whether those “obvious and admitted wrongs” amount to a crime with a five-year sentence is still subject to question IMHO.

    I would be hesitant to make such a statement had recent comments on Y’all not led me to Wikiscruggs where I read this May 20, 2009 post:

    Judge Henry Lackey: Entrapment – Judge Lackey sought the bribe.

    As far as one can tell the only reason why PL Blake is involved in the Scruggs Matter is that his name has been mentioned by Tim Balducci in grand jury testimony and with respect of the Lackey Matter (Scruggs I). It must be remembered that the so-called bribe came from Judge Lackey. Judge Lackey offered to be bribed for $40,000. He invited the bribe. P.L. Blake had nothing to do Judge Lackey

  6. Great comeback, Juriscribe! Your point about “truth-in-blogging” is well taken. I could not understand the total unwillingness to subject Judge Lackey’s conduct to the same scrutiny as all others until I read a Patsy Brumfield report in the Daily Journal.

    I suppose it’s only natural to hold him out above others if he was once your father’s law partner.

    That, plus the “perverse comments” of those who “ingested the perverse deceit” made me realize that “intelligence” here is like most everything else – relative.

    Nonetheless, it was a crushing disappointment to see how willing people were to submit comments that lacked common decency and respect for the basic human dignity of every man. When the mob turned on the Chancellor, I thought there could be no lower level, but, that was before Judge Biggers spoke and we descended into hell passed off as justice.

  7. The district court (Jdg. Acker) said that the Rigsby sisters (in it’s 6/15/07 Order) were NOT the:

    “…brains of the injunction-avoidance schemes.”

    Is Jdg. Acker saying/implying that these WOMEN are STUPID? Sounds like it. It’s obvious that the Rigsby sisters are SMART. The Judge could’ve been alot more “politically correct” w/this public record document. I mean, I realize it’s an Alabama case, but come on..show some respect and common sense!
    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

  8. Shirley Little Billy Acker has quiet a judicial history including protecting known klanner killers until the 11th Circuit threw him off that case. Frankly seeing these GOP appointed judges in action has practically guaranteed I’ll never vote for another republican for Prez ever.

    So to answer your question Little Billy Acker is precisely the type of ingrate who would think women are good for just a few things.

    sop

  9. Well, I hope Jdg. Acker gets just the type of woman he deserves. :)

    Regarding the Prez, I’m a registered Republican but didn’t vote that way this time around.

    SHIRLEY

  10. Shirley, I’d suggest that Judge Acker, carefully role playing within the script, was trying to say Scruggs is the real culprit. He knew the Rigsbys were mere collateral damage. To use an old civil rights phrase, SF, Renfroe and Acker at all times kept their “eyes on the prize” – Dick Scruggs.

  11. Juriscribe, you can see why Scruggs was such a threat when you read Katrina insurance “Complaints” — SKG did great work and the “Complaints” they filed in 2005 and 2006 show an amazing grasp of the situation. I recently re-read the Rigsby qui tam complaint and suggest that anyone who does will be impressed with how quickly and broadly Scruggs and the SKG legal team identified the fraud.

    I always felt like Acker was playing a role in a larger plan but I’ve never thought of Acker’s conduct in terms of a “script”. Interesting choice of words, however, and I think you hit on right one, “script” – not just a general plan to thwart the Scruggs/SKG effort but a very detailed plan with a lot of players all following a very precise script.

  12. Nowdoucit, I say “script” b/c the Alabama suit was a page taken straight from the State Farm playbook, “Chapter 1, slap suits” or “how to deal with defecting claims personnel.” Years back, claims vampires, spoiling to impress their hard-assed managers, came up with the idea of “slap suits.” These cases follow the old rule “the best defense is an offense,” and flip the victim-predator roles upside down. When a claims person gets a fit of conscience, maybe goes public, the idea is to magically convert predator to victim. The entire l’affaire Alabama, a preposterous “trade secrets” slap suit, was concocted by SF and Renfroe. Notice how this judge failed to conduct even a perfunctory inquiry of how a single page of the so-called “stolen” documents qualified as a trade secret. He would’ve been hard pressed to explain how records confirming federal gov’t fraud are “confidential and secret.” SF and Renfroe knew the case would never go there – Acker would stay in character, and play his designated role according to script. The amazing thing about these pseudo jurists is despite their sworn oath to uphold the laws of the US, they not only protect people who are committing gov’t crimes, they join in as activists on their behalf. (If you’re so inclined, I commend you to take a look see at how another Alabaman and Karl Rove insider got his post on the 11th Circuit (Judge Bill Pryor); and be sure not to miss the sordid Leura Canary (aptly named) story, a former US attorney in Alabama and wife of Republican operative Bill Canary). In short, Birmingham is a Rovian rat’s nest.

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