State Farm "dickin" around in Kentucky (part 2) – a Rigsby qui tam update

“SLF does not dispute that it made no attempt to retrieve the responsive documents that it sent to Don Barrett, a former member of the Scruggs Katrina Group who was also disqualified from representing hundreds of plaintiffs in Hurricane Katrina related cases against State Farm due to ethical violations…SLF sent the documents in question to Mr. Barrett, a lawyer who, due to unethical conduct, was disqualified from representing plaintiffs in Hurricane Katrina cases against State Farm.” (State Farm’s Reply re Motion to Compel Compliance, eastern district KY federal court)

State Farm’s attempt to cast Barrett in an unfavorable light in the Company’s most recent filing may hold sway with a Kentucky judge unknowing of the truth about Barrett’s disqualification stated in Judge Senter’s related Order in McIntosh v State Farm:

“When Scruggs and two other members of the Scruggs Law Firm withdrew as counsel of record in this case, Barrett, Nutt, and Lovelace regrouped and formed the Katrina Litigation Group (KLG)…State Farm and Renfroe have moved to disqualify the members of the KLG on the grounds that Scruggs, acting on behalf of the SKG, engaged in unethical conduct that is sufficiently egregious to justify disqualification of the other SKG joint venturers in order to preserve the integrity of the judicial process and to assure public confidence in the litigation of this case and the other similar cases now pending in this Court…I have determined that disqualification is required because Scruggs, acting in furtherance of the SKG joint venture, paid the Rigsby sisters a substantial sum of money (a consulting fee of $150,000 per year) despite Scruggs’s knowledge that the Rigsby sisters were material witnesses in connection with many hurricane damage claims that were likely to become the subject of litigation.” (emphasis added)

Frankly, as much as I admire Judge Senter, I firmly believe the disqualification of the SKG/KLG member firms was and remains a great injustice – one likely attributable, at least in part, to the influence of a blog-reading law clerk.  Before the indictment of Dick Scruggs, Judge Senter, knowing of the payment to the Rigsby sisters, denied State Farm’s first motion and was upheld by the 5th Circuit when State Farm appealed.   Had the court’s clerk(s) read case documents instead, it is likely there would have been a different outcome.  For example, I pulled this text from a document on the McIntosh docket as a reminder for follow-up research on both the disqualification and the payment of the Rigsby sisters:

“SF’s Motion to Disqualify is utter hypocrisy, because SF has repeatedly paid fact witnesses in Hurricane Katrina Litigation. In the Bridgewater v. State Farm case, U.S.D.C. for So. Dist. of Miss. docket number 1:07-cv-1273-HSO-JMR, the plaintiffs’ property had been inspected by The Structures Group, who thus became a fact witness. Once in litigation, SF hired The Structures Group to be its paid consultant/expert. See SF’s Expert Designation, Austin, et al v. State Farm, U.S.D.C. for So. Dist. of Miss. docket number 1:07-cv-007-LTS-RHW.

Under its own theory of the law, SF has bribed a fact witness and, in so doing, Continue reading “State Farm "dickin" around in Kentucky (part 2) – a Rigsby qui tam update”

"Apparently BP is no more adept at doctoring photos than it is at plugging deep-sea oil leaks"

An inquiring mind (AKA: SLABBED reader) send an email asking, “Why is this not the biggest news in the Country right now?”  Well, one answer could be that Lindsay Lohan’s trip to the pokey has dominated the news and BP isn’t blond.  Another could be that the MSM was relucant to report, “A blogger has noticed that the oil giant altered a photograph of its Houston crisis room, cutting and pasting three underwater images into a wall of video feeds from remotely operated undersea vehicles”.

However, now that the Washington Post has the story, it’s legs are growing:

The altered photo is displayed prominently on the company’s Web site.

An enlarged version of the photograph reveals flaws in the editing job. One of the 10 images sticks down into the head of one of the people sitting in front of the wall, while another piece of the image is separated from the other side of the head by jagged white space. The right side of the same image also hangs down below the area on which the video feeds were projected.

John Aravosis pointed out the alterations Monday evening on his Americablog.com and observed, “I guess if you’re doing fake crisis response, you might as well fake a photo of the crisis response center.” The photo doctoring comes as BP has promised transparency in a bid to regain the public’s trust.

My well-intentioned brother-in-law once used photoshop to trim down a rather plump young family friend whose size was even more pronounced in a group shot of my daughter and similarly slim college friends.  Amazingly, she looked at the finished product and exclaimed, “OMG, I look anorexic!”  IOW, not everyone appreciates the courtesy of a photoshop-altered reality as Wa-Po points out: Continue reading “"Apparently BP is no more adept at doctoring photos than it is at plugging deep-sea oil leaks"”

SLABBED (sorta) Daily – July 21, 2009

Another collection of “news you can use” with the first two items courtesy of observant SLABBED readers:

  • First up, Fish wash up in Gulfport from Monday’s Sun Herald that came with this note – “Maybe some fish got killed, but it’s nothing compared to what the English language suffered” – and this quote“We responded to a fish kill across from the Marriott in Gulfport of pogeys,” said Robbie Wilbur, DEQ communications director.
  • Next.  In the continuing saga of the “sticky note”, the grapevine reported a motion filed by State Farm in the case known as Scruggs I.  Apparently, the “good neighbor” has decided the report might have been among the files removed in the raid of Dick Scruggs’ law office and asked the government to join in the Company’s “search”!
Might it be time for someone to get their prescription refilled? Just saying, this obsession with the “sticky note” is a treatable disorder.  However, even assuming it can be found, the issue before the court is not what happened to the “sticky note” but  what State Farm did with policyholder flood claims.

This was the banner headline in the local Richmond / Rosenberg daily newspaper in the Sunday edition.

He did not know his wife was a man

Now, this story doesn’t take place in Richmond / Rosenberg or even Fort Bend County, but some news days are oh so slow and God knows that people are going to read this story to find out how you could NOT know you were a man married to a man.  Those things, even in Texas, generally don’t happen accidentally. Continue reading “SLABBED (sorta) Daily – July 21, 2009”