USA files Statement of Interest – supports Branch qui tam relators’ Motion to Strike defendant’s third party claims

Although the United States has declined to intervene and is therefore not a party to this action, the United States remains the real party in interest, entitled to share in any recovery that may be obtained in the qui tam action…The United States therefore has a substantial interest in ensuring that the FCA is interpreted correctly…The United States herein takes no position on the overall merits of any of the claims or third-party claims raised in this case or Fidelity’s opposition brief.  The United States submits that Relator’s motion to strike the third-party claims for overpayment asserted by defendant Fidelity against its individual flood-insurance policyholders named in Relator’s complaint should be granted, in keeping with well-established law prohibiting third-party practice in FCA cases.

In a June,  SLABBED reported the first Statement of Interest filed by the USA in the Branch qui tam case  Support for Rigsby qui tam found hanging on the Branch qui tam docket. Background on the issue prompting the USA to file a second  Statement of Interest –  defendant Fidelity’s assertion of third party claims – can be found in the recent SLABBED post, taproot – digging out the fact of Branch qui tam.

While a striking departure from the conduct of the USA in the Rigsby qui tam, these statements of interest reflect nothing than the need for the President to fill the vacant US Attorney positions in Mississippi – preferably with individuals who understand  the prosecutor’s special duty is not to convict, but to secure justice.

As was the case with the first, the US Attorney’s office in Baton Rouge has demonstrated  the competence and commitment necessary to fulfill a “prosecutor’s special duty” in this second Statement of Interest: Continue reading “USA files Statement of Interest – supports Branch qui tam relators’ Motion to Strike defendant’s third party claims”

White Knight takes issue with author of Kings of Tort

Given his history as former chief counsel to former Senator Trent Lott, others may not consider Jackson attorney Steve Seale a white knight for taking issue with King of Torts author and former AUSA Tom Dawson at the monthly meeting meeting of the Capitol Press Corps.  However, before Mr. Seale went to Washington, he was a member of the Mississippi State Senate who earned white knight status for the strength of character he regularly demonstrated in discussions of difficult issues. Given that history, Mr. Seale’s remarks are worthy of more consideration than the clarification published yesterday:

As Magnolia Marketplace reported here, Seale had some pretty strong words for Dawson, who was the lead prosecutor in the judicial bribery cases that led to Dickie Scruggs being hauled off to prison.

Anyway, Seale was a little upset because I didn’t talk to him afterward to get a completely clear picture of what he meant before I posted the original entry. Fair enough.

So after a 15-minute phone conversation with Seale, here’s what we know:

Seale said he has no problem with Dawson writing a book about the Scruggs cases per se. The issue is Dawson profiting from work he performed while he was a federal prosecutor. (Dawson has since retired from the post.)

“I think a prosecutor should be held to a higher standard,” Seale said. Continue reading “White Knight takes issue with author of Kings of Tort”

Newly published Order and Reasons – …if Plaintiff is able to prove that State Farm acted in bad faith and that this led to mold damage, then Plaintiff may be able to recover for this damage.

The newly published Order and Reasons of Louisiana federal district Judge Eldon Fallon (Carpenter v State Farm) gives homeowners’ lawyers across the Country support for arguments to defeat a Motion for Summary Judgment on the mold and ALE provisions of a policy. Judge Fallon also reasoned State Farm can not declare a home habitable and cut off ALE when policyholders attempt to live in horrible conditions.

“…After the Plaintiffs evacuated during Hurricane Katrina, they returned home in September of 2005 to find that their house had been damaged by the storm. The house had not flooded, but the Plaintiffs reported other damage including roof damage and a carpet that was wet and moldy. From the time that they returned home in September until sometime in December, the Plaintiffs lived in their damaged home. In December, the Plaintiffs moved into a FEMA trailer on their property until April of 2006, when they moved to West Monroe, Louisiana. The plaintiffs still reside in West Monroe at this time… Continue reading “Newly published Order and Reasons – …if Plaintiff is able to prove that State Farm acted in bad faith and that this led to mold damage, then Plaintiff may be able to recover for this damage.”