Breaking News – Judge Walker Orders order in Rigsby qui tam!

Judge Walker beat me to the punch with Orders on two of the events I’d just woven into a soon-to-be-published update on the Rigsby qui tam case:  State Farm’s and Non-Party Witness Mark Drain’s Motion to Quash the Deposition Subpoena to Kenneth Mark Drain; and, the Company’s most disgusting motion to date State Farm’s Motion to Compel Patricia Lobrano to Comply with Subpoena Duces Tecum.

A quick bit of background for those who are new to Katrina litigation:  Pat Lobrano is the mother of the whistleblowing Rigsby sisters and Dick Scruggs represented Dr. and Mrs. Lobrano in the litigation of their State Farm homeowner’s claim.

Frankly, State Farm is hoping the cottonwoods that whispered the scripted response for Tammy Hardison to repeat in her deposition will come through again.  However, those who took the time to actually read the transcript of Hardison’s performance clearly  hear Tammy echo “the ole hooty-owl hooty-hoos” and wonder just which “whippoorwill” put her in the position where she can’t let go!

The Relators step up for their mother in a Response in Opposition that begins by stating “State Farm greatly exaggerates the parties’ dispute as to Ms. Lobrano’s subpoena”:

As Ms. Lobrano’s original objections and her recent deposition testimony confirm, there simply are no responsive materials to the vast majority of State Farm’s requests.

State Farm threw 90-pages of s#%$ on the wall to see if any would stick; but, Judge Walker wasn’t fooled and, IMO, did  a masterful job on his Order :

The question presented by this motion is the extent to which Lobrano possesses relevant and discoverable documents and whether Lobrano should be compelled to attend a follow-up deposition…

The Court finds that State Farm is entitled to any documents reflecting communications with the Rigsbys regarding the McIntosh property, Lobrano’s own claim, or the  subject matter of the instant lawsuit. The discovery is limited in scope to the time prior to the McIntosh claim being closed. If there are no responsive documents in her possession or control, then Lobrano is directed to execute an affidavit stating such.

The Reader’s Digest version is Walker appears to be making a real effort to support Judge Senter’s decision for a trial limited to the merits of the Rigsbys’ claim.

More on this Order will follow in the Rigsby update I’ve sloooowly been putting together this past week; but, for now, let’s move on to the Rigsby’s Opposition to State Farm’s attempted “quashing” of the Mark Drain deposition subpoena: Continue reading “Breaking News – Judge Walker Orders order in Rigsby qui tam!”

Kathleen Koch chronicles her Katrina experience: Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered

It was my pleasure to renew acquaintances with Kathleen Koch yesterday afternoon as we chatted about her upcoming book, How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered. Kathleen is a Bay St Louis girl made good who ended up at CNN as a general assignment reporter covering aviation, the White House, Congress and the Pentagon during her 18 year run with the network. I went to school with Kathleen’s kid sister and my siblings were all around the same general age as the Koch kids so she was happily surprised to find out Sop was someone with whom she was familiar from back in the day. It was neat to catch up.

This brings us to the topic of today’s post, Kathleen’s upcoming book. Assigned by CNN to cover her hometown in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, the experience as any Slabber can attest, is life changing and such was certainly the case for Kathleen. This excerpt from the book’s press release sums it up:

As CNN correspondent Kathleen Koch covered the Katrina aftermath on the Gulf Coast, she made a promise to the hurricane victims in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The day she left, she told them, “I promise I won’t let anyone forget what happened here.” The pledge would be difficult to keep, as most Americans didn’t realize Mississippi caught the brunt of the storm. Continue reading “Kathleen Koch chronicles her Katrina experience: Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered”

Let's take a second look at one of the politicians that hatched the sand berm scheme in Billy Nungesser

Folks Billy Nungesser is a cowboy who I wouldn’t trust out of my sight. Follow the money on those sand berms folks. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor has some unique insights into how business in Plaquemines parish is conducted and they made the Times Picayune. Here is a snippet from Jenny Hurwitz’s report:

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser may have violated the parish charter and local law when he independently entered into two hurricane recovery contracts in early 2007 without securing the parish council’s approval, according to a legislative audit report.

In addition, the report identified three other potential legal and ethical violations by Nungesser’s administration, including the hiring of a parish attorney without properly notifying the council; a decision to exclude certain Federal Emergency Management Agency grants from the parish’s budget; and a possible state ethics violation by Nungesser.

Rob, you have any questions on why Jindal and pals don’t need coastal scientists consulting on the sand berms?

Meantime the good folks over at the Lens were down at East Grand Terre Island and this is what they said (H/t Editilla): Continue reading “Let's take a second look at one of the politicians that hatched the sand berm scheme in Billy Nungesser”

Slicked and Slabbed the BP Disaster Part 7: Magnum J.D. and Bull Durham lay it on thick with the pols. (Formerly titled There are too many pigs for the teats.)

There are too many pigs for the teats.
Abraham Lincoln on the problems with the spoil system

I had to chuckle listening to WWL radio on my way back from Jackson earlier this week as they gave more free publicity to John Houghtaling aka Magnum J.D. and his celebrity spokesman Kevin Costner aka washed up movie actor and his oil-water separating machine that we profiled a couple of times on Slabbed including this post, which has a video embed of showing Magnum, Kev and the rest of the Jefferson Parish power structure at the first dog and pony exhibition of the machine which is being billed as a miracle answer to the spill.

The blackened recipe here is tried and true. First you hatch a plot to cash in on something, in this case the oil spill. Then you hire a washed up celebrity to hawk the scheme which invariably garners free publicity from the media. Once the scam has been legitimized via the media coverage you cash in the political connections in an attempt to cram it down someone’s throat. That someone is usually the taxpayers but in this case it is BP.

Folks I’m just a small time CPA in Soggy Bottom but where I come from, inventions are judged by the marketplace. Those that have profit potential are rewarded and those that don’t die. It is called entrepreneurship and our entire economy is based on it. Continue reading “Slicked and Slabbed the BP Disaster Part 7: Magnum J.D. and Bull Durham lay it on thick with the pols. (Formerly titled There are too many pigs for the teats.)”