You go girls – Rigsbys answer State Farm’s counterclaim

Relators deny that information about a criminal enterprise and rampant fraud against the United States taxpayer is in any way commercially sensitive, confidential, or private information.

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Now do u c it?

As someone with no law degree writing about Katrina litigation, I’ve often thought of the litigation process as justice at dance.  All parties begin with feet together; every move thereafter choreographed by the Rules.

Complaints, step one in this ritual, require a corresponding Answer.  A well written complaint tells the plaintiffs story in an engaging way.  However, a well written Answer, or so I’ve gathered, can be an endless list of some variation on the dry as dirt “deny paragraph”.

Thereafter, however, the litigation process is a series of moves by one party and corresponding moves  by the other with the moving party always in the lead – although the matter in  litigation defines the process as a waltz, a tango, or, as is the case in ex rel Rigsby v State Farm,  a bombom, doo wop doot doot because State Farm answered with a counterclaim.

State Farm’s counterclaim formalizes the various accusations hurled at the Rigsby sisters in it’s coordinated legal and media campaign to discredit their qui tam claim. The Company claims damages and seeks various relief including an unbelievable permanent injunction to prohibit the Rigsbys from further using or disclosing in any manner whatsoever evidence of State Farm’s criminal enterprise and rampant fraud against the United States taxpayer.

As they have done consistently throughout their representation of the Rigsbys, Counsel for the Relators transcends accusations intended to inflame and addresses legal arguments to legal arguments in the Relators’ Answer to State Farm and Casualty Company’s Second Amended Counterclaim.

The Rigsbys’ set out 17 Affirmative Defenses that provide context and clarity for various events and/or actions and Defenses I through V make it clear Relators were privileged to make copies of information in order to report criminal activity; that they were:

contractually required to act…[and]…

To the extent that State Farm seeks to assert a cause of action on the basis of this contract, the cause of action is barred by the doctrine of impossibility of performance…[and]…

Permitting State Farm to shield its criminal, unlawful and fraudulent acts in violation of 31 USC § 3729 from public view by enforcing State Farm’s access agreement would be unconscionable and in violation of the public policy associated with immunity for truthfully reporting criminal activities of others…

Here, State Farm seeks injunctive and other equitable relief not because it has been injured financially, but as yet another way to shield its criminal and civil fraudulent conduct from the sunshine of public inspection and judicial scrutiny. State Farm asks for injunctive relief not to further equitable ends, but to keep hidden its unlawful conduct.  Willful misconduct is to be condemned as wrongful by honest and fair-minded men, and courts of equity do not give countenance to inequity nor give it sanctuary…

Because State Farm does not have clean hands in any respect, and because a party seeking equity must do equity, State Farm’s counterclaim should be dismissed.

Affirmative Defense VI through XIV assert State Farm fails to state a claims under various Rules applicable to the Company’s Counterclaim I through IX .  The three additional Affirmative Defenses (XV, XVI, and XVII) conclude the Rigsbys’ Answer.

Since at least September 3, 2005, State Farm and its other many co-conspirators have been engaged in a concerted effort to defraud the United States through its National Flood Insurance Program…

State Farm cannot pawn off on the Relators the costs relating to the defense of their own criminal conduct by claiming that the damages relate to the access of its computer  systems.  Neither can State Farm make out a claim that a systematic plan to cheat the federal government, the roughly 173,000,000 United States taxpayers, and the Mississippi policy-holders out of billions of dollars is a “trade secret” as that term is commonly understood.

All of State Farm’s damages were caused directly by its conduct and are not the responsibility of the Relators…By the clear terms of its promise to Relators in the Code of Conduct, State Farm’s claims against Relators are barred by the doctrine of estoppel.

State Farm’s claims fail to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted because they are all barred by 31 USC § 3730(h) in that they are asserted for the purpose of vexation and delay…

The acts of the Relators were lawful in that they were aimed at exposing criminal wrongdoing and civil fraud under the explicit terms of the False Claims Act.

State Farms claims in all counts are in express violation of 31 USC § 3730(h) and are further proof of the defendant’s own retaliatory conduct in this matter.

Until SLABBED updates the qui tam legal file, both versions of State Farm’s Amended Answer and Counterclaim are available in previously published posts and accessible via the site search (upper right of page).


7 thoughts on “You go girls – Rigsbys answer State Farm’s counterclaim”

  1. Do the Judges down here recognize the doctrine of estoppel Nowdy? Ozerden’s and Senter’s rulings on replacement cost in Fowler and other similar cases indicate to me this part of the law is missing from the law school curriculums here in Mississippi. Just saying.

    sop

  2. Ozerden didn’t go to law school here so maybe it’s just that it’s hard to figure out what will “stoppel” State Farm from trying every door.

    and, no, Steve, the underlying case is a very complex scheme but the counterclaim is an example of creating strawmen to make simple litigation seem complex.

    Rigsbys’ counsel did an outstanding job of maintaining focus on the provisions of the FCA.

    They even picked up on a State Farm statement that was a judicial admission the Rigsbys were State Farm employees.

    IMO, the employment relationship of State Farm to Renfroe can be described as “co-principal” re: the Mississippi Supreme Court in Fonte v Audubon.

    Thus, if a jury determines that Audubon was a co-principal with MWUA rather than an agent of MWUA, Audubon can be liable for both negligence and gross negligence.

  3. Good because I was about to declare my mother a complex litigation expert. Her only comment about the case was—

    “The Court shouldn’t blame the whistleblowers” Myrtle

    Of course the moral hazard is to prevent anyone from ever coming forward in the future and to encourage every “too big to fail” company in the Nation to rob the US Treasury. Opps. Too late on that last one.

    I think the current case should have been finished before any other Court addressed ANY claims by State Farm or its service providers. You shouldn’t get a free shot at the whistleblower and their info is my opinion.

    You are right the brief was great. I think State Farm has real problems. The Court would do good to attend a Town Hall meeting and see what the “people” think about big business raiding the US Treasury. They don’t like.

  4. Your mother is correct and that’s really all that matters. You, too, are correct IMO – much of what State Farm has done and/or caused to be done to the Rigsbys was and is intended to intimidate other employees and contractors from coming forward.

    I understand the desire for the court to see what people think about big business raiding the US Treasury; but, what we really want is for the court to consider nothing but the law – and not consider a different version of the story State Farm sold/sells. The law IMO has always been on the Rigsbys side.

  5. “The law IMO has always been on the Rigsbys side.”

    Get out! I read Rossie, Folo and then NMC for the past 18 months or so and the impression Goodrich, Rossie and Freeland conveyed was that Cori and Kerri were sleazy. Go figure.

    Your problem Nowdy is you aren’t a tool, shill or have a hidden agenda. JMHO.

    sop

  6. Who would have ever thought that would be a problem, Sop!

    It’s precious little comfort to think so many supposedly educated people have a reading comprehension problem.

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