USA Ex Rel Rigsby v State Farm: An analysis of the McIntosh Claim: Updating the original post Not to belabor the point

In response to the re-run of our archival post not to belabor the point, which originally ran on April 7, 2009 a reader sent in some observations referring us to documents we already linked which gives us the correct flood level at the McIntosh property.  I actually did the research on the official flood levels for a companion post to the original (which never ran) so I am happy for the steer, especially since we had all the data.

Before we get to the pictures it and the original text of the post (as corrected) it would help to revisit with State Farm’s own experts, a dubious lot as a whole that often has trouble keeping their lies straight. In particular we are going to focus on one “rent-a-doc” in University of Florida Engineering professor Robert G Dean. It is with Dr Dean’s own report, which we linked originally in this post that we begin:

As seen in this figure, the elevation of the McIntosh property is approximately 14 feet. Menhennett (2007) conducted a survey at the McIntosh property and found that the adjacent ground elevation ranged between 12.5 ft and 15.4 ft, the top of the bottom floor of the residence was 16.5 ft and the slab of the connected garage was 14 ft. Figure 4 presents the FEMA-developed Advisory Base Flood Elevations and any High Water Marks (HWMs) in the general vicinity. Two HWMs are identified in Figure 4 and adjacent charts that are in reasonable close proximity to the McIntosh residence and their elevations as determined by survey and other characteristics are summarized in Table 2.

Dean’s choice of watermarks is interesting as one of the official measurements was taken literally within feet of the McIntosh property which in my mind makes his second choice, from over a mile to the south irrelevant. Already having one data point, which is the elevation of the McIntosh house at the top of their slab, all it takes is a trip down Dr Dean report to the official watermark measurements to find the flood level on the ground at water mark reference KMSC-02-21 was 18.6 feet which means there was 2.1 feet of water on the outside of the McIntosh residence above their slab. That is important because it would include any wave action. I am told the proper forensic engineering technique is to take inside water mark measurements.  You won’t see any such reference to that data point in Dr Dean’s report. With that point made here is the text of the original post as corrected.

….Pictures are truly worth 1000 words. For instance take these from our archives of the McIntosh residence which is one of the focal points in the False Claims Act lawsuit against State Farm. There was around 4 2 feet of water inside the residence when the storm surge peaked in the Biloxi Bay several hours after Hurricane force winds began blowing.

mcintosh-exteriorRemember the neighbors said the house next door blew apart and into the McIntosh residence which in turn breached its structural integrity. I wonder whose roof trusses are in the picture? The McIntosh residence still has its roof and there is no house between them and the water.

mcintosh-exterior-aHere is another shot showing the trusses. Did they happen to float there or did they come from the neighbor’s house as the eye witnesses said.

mcintosh-exterior-bHere is another shot of the exterior from a different angle. I’m not an engineer though I did receive a storm surge Phd from the school of hard knocks. This is obvious wind damage. The first engineer sent by State Farm, the one who didn’t realize assigning obvious wind damage to the proper cause would get them fired, reported the exact same thing. I’ll go a step further and say there was no flood damage to the McIntosh residence within the meaning of the insurance policies State Farm’s lawyer’s prepared. Why did State Farm tender the flood policy paid for by the taxpayers and deny obvious wind damage that would have come from Ed Rust’s pockets?

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7 thoughts on “USA Ex Rel Rigsby v State Farm: An analysis of the McIntosh Claim: Updating the original post Not to belabor the point”

  1. Some of your readers may not know or remember that the McIntosh house was not near the beach and was not on the Biloxi peninsula. It was north of Biloxi Bay between the bay and the Tchoutacabuffa River. It did not receive anywhere near the tidal and wave force that hit the houses from the beach to the CSX railroad. The north side of the bay had high water that was pushed into the bay by several hours of hurricane winds from the southeast. That far up where river met the bay, the waves and the force were caused by high winds. It really isn’t logically possible to claim that there were high waves and powerful surge there unless there were also very high hurricane force winds causing the waves. It really should have been indisputable that the house had suffered severe damage by wind, rain, and wind-driven debris before the 2 feet of water got the floor wet and moved the debris around.
    Also, one of the photos I remember was one showing that a large section of the ceiling had fallen in from wind and rain from roof failure and left a ceiling fan hanging with no ceiling. Yet even State Farm’s exaggerated water level estimate was only four feet.
    The first engineer who said major damage was caused by wind spoke to neighbors who were eyewitnesses to the high winds and wind-driven debris before the water came up. The second engineer sent specifically to assign all the loss to flood insurance did not talk to the eyewitnesses. Instead he talked to the guy who was clearing the debris from the yard and noted that the yardman said the damage was caused by flooding.

    1. But wait, didn’t the McIntosh’s lawyer concede that the claim was adjusted fairly? Who was that lawyer again, and was he the McIntosh’s lawyer or State Farm’s lawyer?

      1. McIntosh’s accepted the flood check and waited for the homeowners claim. The first engineer concluded wind damage but State Farm buried that report and sent a second engineer to blame flooding. After the Rigsby sisters blew the whistle on the fraud, McIntosh sued. State Farm offered a partial settlement that was rejected. Then State Farm started arguing that McIntosh committed fraud if he took the flood check for a total loss but did believe flooding caused all the damage.

        In the meantime the 5th Circuit made several rulings that in essence supported the practice of State Farm and others to deny and delay payment of wind damage indefinitely without proving the cause of the loss.

        With no prospect for punitive damages and the probability the federal court would continue to be in State Farm’s pocket, McIntosh took the State Farm settlement. One provision of the settlement was to sign that the flood claim that McIntosh had accepted was a legitimate claim. It was a coerced declaration designed specifically to be used against the Rigsby qui tam case.

        1. I know; my questions were dripping with sarcasm. You and I knew this long before it happened, especially when we visited on the Hill.

  2. The same thing happened to us with SF paying the flood but we told them we had not filed a flood claim and that ours was a wind loss. We held the flood check for well over 4 months. We consulted with numerous attorneys and a retired judge. All told us to deposit the check that it could not be held against us- admitting flood – in the lawsuit. But guess what. First the the wise Fifth Circuit ruling and then Magistrate Walker- saying we could take the settlement right then and there. or risk going to court and SF was going to allowing to use the flood payment as an admission against us,

    1. There goes someone dropping that Magistrate Walker name again. 😉

      Over in the LAED Judges Feldman and Berrigan were the Hatchetmen for the insurers.

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