We’re back at the fork of the road and continuing with the second part of Forked! “Bifurcation for Dummies”… Our first source document is the 53 pages of correspondence between State Farm’s Butler-Snow attorneys Bob Galloway and Jeffrey Walker and August Matteis attorney for the Rigsby sisters, exhibits from State Farm’s 420-page Motion to Compel.
In the first of this two-part post, we learned State Farm translates “bifurcation” as we go our way and you go both ways” and Matteis takes Judge Senter as a man of his word. In the remaining two letters, Jeffery Walker fills in for Galloway. Although no small feat considering the size of Galloway’s e-pistol, Wright condenses Galloway’s points into four pages and fattens the straw man. Clearly, State Farm refuses to bifurcate Scruggs while Matteis presses on with his insistence the first trial is all about the McIntosh claim.
Matteis is so consistent with his fidelity to the Court’s direction that we will also take a look at the Relators’ Expedited Motion to Compel Haag Engineering Co. to Produce Documents and Answer Interrogatories Prior to the Depositions of Tim Marshall and Paul O’Connor and the role roles played by Haag’s counsel, Larry Canada – but first, we close the chapter on Walker’s follow–up correspondence with the reply from Matteis.
…First, most of the contested discovery relates to personal information about the Relators that has nothing to do with the McIntosh flood claim. Although you have withdrawn your request for the Relators’ passports, you still seek their complete credit card statements, bank statements, and tax documents. We asked you to provide some justification for the breadth of this discovery, particularly in light of the information already in State Farm’s possession. To date, you have not. Thus, we are unwilling to provide most of the information State Farm seeks because it is of no probative value and unreasonably duplicative.
Second, we have objected to several discovery requests that would require the Relators to obtain documents in possession of their former counseL. Although your March 9 letter stated that you know of no reason why we cannot request materials from previous counsel, you previously opposed Gilbert LLP’s request to confer with the Relators’ prior counsel on the grounds that it would “inevitably spread an indelible taint.” (207) at 2. The Court also recognized that “(c)onferring with disqualified counsel carries a substantial risk of engendering additional litigation related solely to that interaction and thereby distracting both parties and the Court from the merits of this case.” (210) at 2. Following the Court’s Order, the Relators’ current counsel have pursued this litigation with the benefit of only extremely limited interactions with the Relators’ prior counseL. Accordingly, we object to State Farm’s discovery to the extent it would require further interactions with the Relators’ prior counsel…
…The communications you have attached relating to the employment relationship the Relators had with their prior counsel do not warrant further discovery, since the Relators have testified about this relationship multiple times…We are wiling to discuss modifying the protective order in McIntosh subject to our reservation of rights to object to the admissibility of any materials produced in that case, and subject to you agreeing to provide us with complete copies of all materials the Relators provided you in McIntosh. The Relators and their current counsel do not have copies of the materials the Relators provided in McIntosh, and as such, the Relators cannot make any sworn statements about the completeness of those materials…
Some might say Matteis took a velvet hammer whack at State Farm with that offer; but, if you turn the SLABBED clock back to August 9, 2008, and Like buckin’ fuzzards, State Farm goes after Rigsby qui tam, you might think of Matteis as a highly skilled marksman pulling a velvet trigger.
State Farm pulled out all the stops to make certain the Rigsby sisters limped into the pretrial hearing empty handed; but the buzzard balls were no match for a man who ended his letter of reply:
We hope that we can reach a mutually acceptable resolution of these disputes, given the Court’s rulings to dates. However, we have signed and enclosed a Good Faith Certificate to allow you to take whatever actions you deem necessary in the event that we are not able to reach an agreement.
August J. Matteis, Jr.
Despite Matteis’ offer to work toward “a mutually acceptable resolution”, it’s the nature of buckin’ fuzzards to swoop down and file a motion to compel the Rigsby’s to produce what the fuzzards took from them and hid in their nest.
Speaking of fuzzards, is there any reason to think Haag attorney Larry Canada drained the blood out of defendant Forensic when he represented the Company in McIntosh v State Farm? We’ll save the answer to that question for a future post and move on to how Haag is trying to “fork” the Rigsbys in our next Rigsby qui tam update.
The full text of all four letters is in the 53-pages of correspondence linked at the beginning of this post.
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