SLABBED Monthly – September (catching up on Rigsby, Bossier, Robohm, Anthony, Harris, Montet, Lizana, and New Light Baptist v State Farm)

Thirty days hath September; but, this September it would take 60 to get everything done – and I’m not the only one wondering if the season is called “fall” because those who don’t fall behind are about to fall over.  Sop sends me text messages as he and little Sop make their way from football practice to a soccer game; and, I text back as soon as I find a place to pull over.  Since we can’t begin October without September done, I’ve grabbed a handful of incomplete posts and tossed the basic information into this update.

Rigsby v State Farm:

NOTICE of Hearing: Telephonic Status Conference set for 10/13/2009 01:30 PM before Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker to establish a scheduling order for the discovery and trial of the Relators claim. One week prior to the conference, counsel are to submit, via email, a confidential memo in PDF format, detailing anticipated discovery by each party (including the number and names of deponents) and a requested time frame for discovery.

Bossier v State Farm

Several interesting developments here including this surprising one – Judge Walker issued an Order denying (yes, denying) a State Farm motion!

The evidence presented to the Court is uncontested that Fountain prepared the affidavit; that the affidavit included only part of what Ziz told Fountain; and that it omitted information about the rapid rise of flood waters from the Bay of  Biloxi. This Court finds such evidence insufficient to warrant disqualification of counsel. It is therefore, ORDERED that the motion to disqualify Attorney Stanton J. Fountain , Jr. as counsel for Plaintiff is denied.

Bossier’s counsel, coast attorney Judy Guice aka Seabiscuit (Judybisquit) withdrew the motion to expedit a  hearing on sanctions against State Farm for violation of the court’s September 3 order pending review of the documents belatedly provided by State Farm. (emphasis added)

On September 24, 2009, at approximately noon, counsel for Plaintiff received four discs represented to contain claims files ordered by this Honorable Court on September 3, 2009. Said discs appear to contain documents relating to approximately 150 claims files. (emphasis on 150 added!)

Meanwhile, State Farm has filed a motion for leave to file a sur-reply to Bossier’s Reply in Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Dwelling Extension and Bossier, in turn, has filed a Response.

In its response to Plaintiff’s [82] Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Dwelling Extension, Defendant contended, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, that Plaintiff was not entitled to recover for personal property lost during the storm because of an alleged insufficient contents list. Given the late assertion of this contention, Plaintiff’s first opportunity to address same was in the reply brief. State Farm’s complaint that Plaintiff’s defense is a “new legal theory” is a transparent effort to obfuscate its own dilatory conduct…

State Farm has not shown good cause for filing a sur-reply. Accordingly, the motion should be denied. In the alternative, if this Court should grant State Farm’s motion, then Plaintiff would request that he be granted leave to file a sur-rebuttal, a copy of which is attached hereto.

Bossier’s Sur-Rebuttal, found in the exhibits of the above-linked motion, makes the point.

Defendant’s meritless argument is based on the unproven and incorrect assertion that submission of a contents list in a particular form or fashion is a requirement to coverage. In fact, neither the policy nor Mississippi law supports such a conclusion.

Robohm v State Farm and Anthony v State Farm

It’s been a while since SLABBED reported on either Robohm or Anthony but not for lack of interest on our part.  Instead, both have been hanging, so to speak, with an offer of judgment pending:

Under this rule, if a settlement offer designated as an offer of judgment is made in civil litigation, the offer is rejected and the final court decision is less favorable than the final offer that was made, then the party who rejected the offer is subject to certain penalties.

Much to my surprise, it appears that  both Robohm and Anthony are pressing on.  We know that somewhere out there is another Dr. Weiss – someone angry enough at the way he was treated to take their case all the way.  Robohm? Anthony? Maybe.

Harris v State Farm, Montet v State Farm and Lizana v State Farm:

All three of these cases settled this week.  Harris on Monday:

Set Hearings: At the request of the parties and having confirmed their availability, a Settlement Conference is set for 9/28/2009 9:30 AM in Courtroom 2, United States Courthouse, 701 N. Main Street, HATTIESBURG, MS before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker.

Montet and Lizana settled without a clue on the docket; but, Harris not only published notice, it settled with a series of motions that indicate State Farm folded on this one.

The matter at issue in the last series of motions was what Harris claimed as an error in State Farm’s calculation of lost business income.  Harris filed amotion to supplement the report of their expert with an analysis of the calculation error in the expert report filed by State Farm and explains in greater detail in a Rebuttal to State Farm’s opposing response.

State Farm’s retained expert, Mr. Hines, apparently misunderstood or failed to read…the total amount of “loss of business income” concluded by Koerber is $266,611 – the first report merely includes “extra expenses” in this figure, while the Supplemental Reports breaks out and separately indentifies the “extra expenses” to rebut State Farm’s expert’s erroneous conclusion that “extra expenses” are not included the calculation of loss of business income set forth in Koerber’s first report….

Harris even filed what proved to be the final shot in the litigation on the day of the settlement conference no less.  My guess, settling this litigation cost State Farm a lot! – and you know Merlin and Trotter didn’t settle Montet and Lizana for pennies either.  The last days of September were, no doubt, very expensive for State Farm, as well they should be four years after their all-risk policyholders experienced the loss!

New Light Baptist Church v State Farm

The docket notes a hearing today on Oh my God! State Farm files motion to compel New Light Baptist Church to supplement discovery!

SLABBED will report the outcome of this meeting between an insurer that acts like god and the agents of the God  at New Light – assuming lightening doesn’t strike and end the hearing!

On to October!

That clears the backup in the pipeline for a post I’ve been writing on – and – off for a week and brass ballsone Sop mentioned on O’Keefe that one of us will post later today or early October! All I can add to Sop’s comment on SLABBED today is that although he’s not an engineer, I believe O’Keefe’s counsel  is a worthy candidate for Editilla’s award.

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