Thomas "Chris" McIntosh speaking on the record about settlement with State Farm – a Rigsby qui tam update

“Thomas “Chris” McIntosh trusted insurance companies before Hurricane Katrina…My grandfather was in the insurance business. My father was in the insurance business, and I grew up trusting the insurance business…you knew if you paid your premiums, they would take care of you…I trusted State Farm when they walked in my door, and I had no reason to distrust them. I had trusted them for 20 years, and I trusted them for the year after that they lied to me and defrauded me, and now I probably will never trust anybody again in my life.”

Anita Lee’s Homeowner lambasts State Farm, appearing in today’s Sun Herald, reports McIntosh speaking on the record about his settlement with State Farm – in contrast to the record speaking for McIntosh:

“As part of the settlement, the McIntoshes acknowledged in the dismissal order entered into the court record that State Farm had a “reasonable basis” for its original payment and adjusted the claim fairly.

State Farm attorney Robert Galloway quizzed McIntosh about the dismissal order during the pretrial testimony. Galloway asked McIntosh if he agreed the majority of damage to his property was caused by flooding, as the order said. McIntosh said he did not know.

“So you don’t disagree with that?” Galloway asked. “You’re just saying you don’t have personal knowledge one way or the other?

As a long day of questions drew to a close, McIntosh responded: “I vehemently disagree, and I disagreed with this and was extremely (upset) at my counsel when I read this.

“I didn’t approve it. I didn’t read it in advance. I have no doubt that State Farm wrote it and gave it to my counsel; and at this point, we were financially unable to continue, and the message was sent to us that — excuse my language — but we would never see a (expletive) dime if we didn’t settle now. It would be appealed till hell froze over.”

Frankly, it appeared hell was at least icing down when McIntosh v State Farm settled “on the date the Rigsbys… ‘Response to the second set of dispositive motions’  was due”.  SLABBED reported:
Almost two years after Thomas and Pamela McIntosh sued State Farm, charging that the company altered a damage report to intentionally underpay their Katrina claim, the lawsuit has been settled confidentially. (Judge Senter’s Judgment of Dismissal)
The case settled after McIntosh attorney and friend-of-SLABBED Chip Merlin filed a Motion to Dismiss stating “State Farm ‘had a reasonable basis for taking the position it did regarding coverage'” –  and, although Merlin subsequently acknowledged the admission was “part of the settlement agreement with State Farm”, Sop called the settlement a SLABBED Family Feud:

Let’s begin by contrasting this statement made by the relators in the filing Nowdy profiled against today’s well written Anita Lee piece in the Sun Herald.

Upon information and belief, the McIntosh case was settled in its entirety late in the evening on Saturday, September 6, 2008. The next day, Sunday, September 7th, the plaintiff filed a motion to dismiss that was laden with gratuitous praise with respect not only to the wind claims at issue in that case, but also to the McIntoshes’ flood claim. The motion reads like a document written by (or for) State Farm for use in this case, and the timing alone raises enormous issues of credibility. The motion also fails to provide any basis for its conclusory statements. As a result, any attempt to use the McIntosh motion to dismiss in this case will only raise more material issues of disputed facts.

From Lee’s story:

A State Farm news release issued after the McIntosh settlement became final Monday said, in part, that Scruggs “made up allegations in this lawsuit to launch a public relations plan to lure politicians, the media and others into publicly attacking State Farm. This was a tactic that diverted precious time and resources away from resolving Katrina claims.”

The Rigsbys’ attorney, Scott Gilbert, said… “All these cases have been focused for too long on Dick Scruggs and that has obscured what is really the issue,” Gilbert said. “And that is, did State Farm violate the provisions of their insurance policies and commit fraud against the policyholders and the government of the United States?

Meanwhile the Rigsby qui tam case moves forward with a December 1 date set for trial on State Farm’s little bit pregnant fraud:
” Here, this Court’s own records, whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned, indicate that the McIntoshes made their well-informed representations to this Court…”
“Well-informed”? Thomas McIntosh says not!

9 thoughts on “Thomas "Chris" McIntosh speaking on the record about settlement with State Farm – a Rigsby qui tam update”

  1. One question, one comment:

    Question:
    What the heck is Judge Senter going to do when it becomes obvious that the McIntosh adjustment was clearly evidence of fraud?

    Comment:
    You missed the most important part of the story:

    “Also added to the file: a settlement agreement between the Rigsbys and Forensic. Forensic

  2. Answer: I think all the other files he put in play via his request for claims data become fair game. I think he shook out the claims based on the criteria used by Dave Muarstad in his expedited claims procedures.

    A good short term questions is what will he do when confronted with the fact State Farm fibbed last hearing about that “oral authority” they claimed to have from Muarstad with regards to adjusting claims. I believe he refuted that assertion in his depo.

    Agree this was a great scoop for Anita.

    sop

    ps. Anita did some great reporting on the Mullins case. There is clear cut evidence of fraud in that case as in McIntosh plus some other hyjinks I won’t go into at this time. That early reporting will wear very well with time IMHO.

  3. Thanks, James. The Rigsby sisters “amazing perseverance against the Evil Empire” is inspiration for all.

    Perhaps you missed my post “State Farm

  4. Sorry I didn’t read that post….will try to keep up….

    Anything to add on my question? Folks in New Orleans are boxed into the same corner…by limiting the scope of trial (Rigsby and Branch), both courts are now forced to deal with the obvious question::::: Now what?

    Unfortunately, every DOJ attorney is now working on the Gulf Spill….and DHS’s OIG gave up on Katrina issues…guess we’ll just forget about the whole thing…in time…

  5. It’s the third and fifth admission that are the “smoking-gun”…

    WHEREAS Forensic admits that at State Farm

  6. With all due respect to James (whose legal paper on the topic was excellent), I don’t think these admissions are a smoking gun; they don’t go far enough. Kochan can read or say those words on direct examination by State Farm’s lawyers, but then he can give further elaboration-type testimony. Let’s say he had a present sense impression at the time of the report changes that he thought these requests by Lecky and her lackeys were well-intentioned; he will certainly offer this testimony. And then it will appear that his admissions are inconsequential and that he actually supports State Farm. That’s the kind of shit these guys pull.

    I’d be willing to bet (as I stated in an earlier comment) that the Forensic settlement agreement will never come into evidence because settlements, or inferences thereof, are inadmissible (unless there is some crazy FCA rule of which I’m unaware). It’s possible that the admissions might be excerpted for the RIgsbys’ lawyers to use on cross. This is the best case scenario because then it will look like he intentionally left information out of the admissions if he offers any elaboration. Just my two cents.

  7. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeee My experience with State Farm in Katrina leads me to say IMHO that it should change its advertising slogan from “Like a Good neighbor State Farm is there” to “Like a good liar State Farm is NOWHERE!” I too trusted the company with all my insurance until I really needed their support in reasonable issues and it was not there. OOOOOOOooooooooowweeee

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