SLABBED (sorta) Daily – All over the map: State Farm, DOJ, and BP (July 23, 2010)

  • Starting with a quick note from Main Justice that makes me wonder why the powers that be seem hell-bent to appoint a new northern district Mississippi US Attorney with some connection to USA v Scruggs:

“U.S. Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) confirmed to the paper that state Sen. Gray Tollison is in the running for the post. Tollison, a member of the state Senate since 1996, is chairman of the committee that considers changes to the state’s criminal laws. He is also the son of Oxford attorney and well known local Democrat Grady F. Tollison, according to the paper.”

Not that Gray isn’t a great guy but his father is not only well-know as a Democrat, the Tollison law firm represented John Jones in the lawsuit that became the undoing of Dick Scruggs as well as representing Jones in conjunction with McIntosh v State Farm, the centerpiece of the Rigsby Qui Tam case.

  • Speaking of north Mississippi and USA v Scruggs, the “good neighbor” has shown up in federal court with more hubris than most can muster and a Motion for Return of Property.  The “property” [sic] State Farm wants returned – any who wouldn’t –  is any evidence of the Company’s wrongdoing in the Scruggs files held by DOJ!

Patsy Brumfield (NEMS360.com) had the story reporting, “In sworn testimony attached to its motion for return of property, two people say they remember seeing the report and a “sticky note” that court copies show has written on it, “Put in wind file – DO NOT Pay Bill. DO Not discuss.” (emphasis added)

One of those who remembers “seeing the report and a “sticky note” is none other than Lecky King, the State Farm employee who wrote the note (duh)!  OMG, talk about “legal advocacy” that your mama wouldn’t buy.  According to the Motion and Exhibits State Farm filed with the court, the other is Beth Jones  – a claim refuted in the Rigsbys’ Response to a Motion State Farm filed in Southern District Mississippi Federal Court:

Jones actually testified that she had no idea whether she had ever seen the original Brian Ford report, did not know from where the sticky note she saw had come, did not know when the note arrived, and did not even know what the note said. In other words, the sum total the sum total of Jones’s testimony is that, at some point in her time with SLF, she saw a piece of paper with a sticky note on it. Yet State Farm attempts to use that testimony as a pretext for further rummaging through SLF’s files after the close of discovery.

State Farm paid witness really well – much more than the "substantial sum" disqualifying SKG/KLG member firms (a Rigsby qui tam update)

“I agree whole heartedly with the SF hypocrisy on display. However, I am not aware of any rule that prohibits a witness from being both a “fact” and “expert” witness.” NRB, Comment

Since NRB appears to be an attorney and, clearly, I am not, it was State Farm’s “hypocrisy” on my mind when I wrote State Farm “dickin” around in Kentucky (part 2) –  “hypocrisy” evident in State Farm paying the “substantial sum” State Farm was paying adjusters to appear as material witnesses.

Sop, as the resident CPA of SLABBED, may correct my math but, with 260 workdays in a year, the $750 per day fee State Farm paid claims adjuster Lorrie Beno to give her deposition in a Louisiana Katrina case calculates to “substantial sum” of $195,000 per year for this material witness – “substantially” more than the $150,000 consulting fee (approximately $577 per day)  Dick Scruggs paid the Rigsby sisters.  Not only were the Rigsby sisters paid less than the lesser-qualified Beno, their consulting arrangement resulted in the disqualification of the member and associated firms of the Katrina Litigation Group, the successor to SKG:

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…the payments to the Rigsby sisters are, in and of themselves, sufficient to warrant disqualification. Judge Senter’s April 4, 2008 Memorandum Opinion on Motion to Disqualify Members of the Katrina Litigation Group and Associated Council

Before we move to the documentation of State Farm’s compensation agreement with Beno, consider this text from a document on the McIntosh case saved in my research notes:

…payment for these activities…[attending depositions, preparing for depositions, reviewing documents and the like]…is not contrary to the case law and ethical rules, Continue reading “State Farm paid witness really well – much more than the "substantial sum" disqualifying SKG/KLG member firms (a Rigsby qui tam update)”