I was up almost all night finishing Kathie Koch’s upcoming book, Rising from Katrina but I noted a couple of blog entries from Anita Lee’s blog which I need to highlight.
First up is Magistrate Walker again protecting his buddies at State Farm by letting State Farm’s legal team lie and stonewall about which documents they have in response to subpoenas. The trick is you let all the depositions occur and then drop subpoenaed documents on the plaintiffs right at the discovery deadline so as to prevent salient questions from ever being asked. This is a time-honored tactic that State Farm could not pull off in non magic jurisdictions which take the federal discovery rules seriously. Anita boils down the larger issues in Walker’s ruling in a recent blog entry:
Walker has decided State Farm should not be required to turn over the reports to former insurance adjusters Cori and Kerri Rigsby, who filed the lawsuit alleging State Farm committed fraud in adjusting Hurricane Katrina claims. The company denies minimizing wind losses by blaming damage on tidal surge covered through federal flood insurance.
The Rigsbys’ case is limited to one Biloxi policyholder’s claim because the sisters have personal knowledge about how it was handled, a requirement of the whistle-blower law. The Biloxi claim of Thomas and Pamela McIntosh included two engineering reports: The first cited wind as the main cause of loss, while the second concluded tidal surge was responsible.
The Rigsbys subpoenaed other altered reports State Farm might possess, but State Farm objected, leading to Walker’s ruling.
Because the trial, scheduled for late 2010, will be about the McIntosh claim, Walker reasoned State Farm should not have to turn over engineering reports about other claims. The Rigsbys had hoped to establish a pattern of fraudulent claims handling, an allegation State Farm denies.
The Rigsbys maintain in court records that the engineering company responsible for the McIntosh reports, Forensic Analysis and Engineering, has turned over 19 other altered reports.
My suspicion is we have not heard the last of this topic. Those wanting the latest from Team State Farm should check out Yallpolitics which continues to foster the meme State Farm’s fraudulent conduct is a figment of Dick Scruggs’ imagination. This is a hint of things to come because State Farm can’t justify their conduct in adjusting McIntosh, who had less than 2 feet of flood water so they will be attacking the messengers in Cori and Kerri Rigsby.
Speaking of messengers, Alan Lange, the owner of Yall no doubt makes money from the firms representing State Farm via his legal temp service. Here at Slabbed we have no monetary connection to any of the combatants, former or present in either of the False Claims Act cases. We’re interested in seeing justice done on behalf of the American taxpayers that were defrauded to the tune of billions of dollars by insurers dumping their contractual obligations on the National Flood Insurance Program.
Next up is a tribute to Anita Lee’s reputation as a straight shooter in the journalism as she receieved a letter from Kirksey McCord Nix, the Dixie Mafia boss now in prison for ordering the hits on Judge and Mrs Vincent Sherry. Nix posited an interesting idea from behind bars at the supermax federal prison in Marion Illinois as Anita explains:
We have corresponded sporadically through the years, but it’s been awhile. I was surprised to receive a letter from Nix this week.
He’s a pretty smart guy, actually. He certainly knows a thing or two about con artists and scams. Nix has run scams in and out of jail. In fact, the federal government maintains it was a scam he ran from Angola, with the help of Vincent Sherry’s former law partner, Pete Halat, that led to the Sherry murders.
Anyway, he’s got a pretty good bead on Congress.
“Miss Dixie,” the letter begins (Nix calls me this because of a long ago Dixie Mafia series I co-authored.).
He goes on to suggest that Congress donate the “Big Oil campaign donations” they received in exchange for lax drilling regulation to the families of the 11 workers who died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion and to the wildlife of the Gulf Coast being oiled.
Not a bad suggestion. Maybe he’ll start a petition drive from prison.
Indeed, not a bad idea at all. Nix’s timing was impeccable as I was very recently part of a group discussion on the topic of the Sherry murders and the now imprisoned Pete Halat, former Mayor of Biloxi. The original book on the subject, Mississippi Mud tells the story from the perspective of the Sherry’s daughter but was never updated to cover the second set of trials which sent Halet to prison and identified more of the murder conspirators including the real trigger man. The book is still worth reading provided the reader understands going in it is just half the story. Vincent Sherry was dirty, even worse he was a dirty Circuit Court judge which fits in with one of our more recent themes here on Slabbed. Times flies as Pete Halat will be out of prison in less than 3 years. Time matters not to Nix.
The more complete picture (and other half of the story) is in Chet Nicholson’s recently released book, The Dream Room, which topped the local best seller’s list for months down here late last year.