Judge Vance issues a series of Orders – and Reasons “you should know but…” (a Branch qui tam update)

“The Court has issued a number of decisions in this matter, and knowledge of the relevant background will be presumed.”

Either Judge Vance has a dry wit or I’ve gone as slap-happy as the Three Stooges trying to clear my “drafts file” of posts.  Whatever.   Strike up the band provided SLABBED readers with “knowledge of  the relevant background” presumed – and, that said, we take a look at the series of  Orders recently added to the Branch qui tam docket:

Order and Reasons re: defendant American National Property And Casualty Company’s (“ANPAC’s”) motion to review the Magistrate Judge’s order granting in part realtor Branch Consultants, LLC’s (“Branch’s”) motion to compel discovery…[and]…ANPAC’s motion to review the Magistrate Judge’s order granting in part Branch’s motion for protective order.

The Court has issued a number of decisions in this matter, and knowledge of the relevant background will be presumed…

The question now before the Court is simply whether Branch may obtain discovery as to properties for which an ANPAC subsidiary, rather than ANPAC itself, wrote the insurance policy. Contrary to ANPAC’s assertions, this question is not jurisdictional.

ANPAC also objects to the Magistrate Judge’s order granting a protective order to Branch as to certain tax and payment records.

Perhaps ANPAC has a sense of humor, too, as IMO, both matters the Company brought before the Court fall into the “you’ve got to be kidding” category.  Nonetheless, Judge Vance patiently responded to both and explained:

…as the Magistrate Judge observed, “ANPAC does not contend that it is unable to procure the files from its subsidiary.” Nor does ANPAC contend that producing these materials would impose undue burden or expense. Thus, Branch may obtain discovery of these materials, and the Magistrate Judge’s order is AFFIRMED…

The Magistrate Judge’s order is not clearly erroneous or contrary to law. ANPAC’s requests would have required Branch and Richard Barker to produce tax and financial records going far beyond the issue of whether Johnson and the other individuals were agents of Branch at the time they uncovered the information underlying the complaint. Rather than ordering Branch to respond to burdensome document requests, the Magistrate Judge focused on the relevant information. The limitation she imposed will ensure that the discovery Branch and Barker must produce is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence”…Thus, the order is AFFIRMED.

Order and Reasons re: “Branch Consultants, LLC’s (“Branch’s”) motion to review the Magistrate Judge’s order as to certain discovery matters”

“Branch objects only to the part of the order that requires it to produce documents supporting Max Johnson’s Declaration, including Johnson’s references to properties other than the examples listed in the complaint. Branch argues that if it cannot obtain discovery as to nonexemplar properties, then defendants should not be able to do so either…

The Court has since issued an order allowing Branch to proceed to discovery on properties that are not listed in the complaint but are part of the alleged loss-shifting scheme.  The parties may proceed to discovery as to non-exemplar properties that are part of the alleged loss-shifting scheme.

The Magistrate Judge’s order is therefore AFFIRMED to the extent that it requires Branch to produce the documents supporting Johnson’s Declaration, including his references to properties not listed in the complaint.”

Order and Reasons re: realtor Branch Consultants, LLC’s (“Branch’s”) motion to review the Magistrate Judge’s order granting in part and denying in part Branch’s motion to compel.

“Branch argues that the Magistrate Judge erroneously limited discovery to the properties specifically identified in the First Amended Complaint and the “loss-shifting scheme” alleged therein.  The Court has since issued an order refusing to adopt the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation that the Court find it has no jurisdiction over non-exemplar properties. The Court also reversed the Magistrate Judge’s order denying Branch leave to file a Second Amended Complaint alleging an “inflated-revenue scheme.”

Because the Magistrate Judge’s rulings limiting discovery to the exemplar properties and the loss-shifting scheme are based exclusively on reasons that the Court has rejected, the Magistrate Judge’s order is REVERSED as to those limitations only.”

As the Branch qui tam case moves forward, at this point there are but two certainties – “knowledge of the relevant background will be presumed” and whatever happens will not be dull!

2 thoughts on “Judge Vance issues a series of Orders – and Reasons “you should know but…” (a Branch qui tam update)”

  1. I make my daily pilgrimage to SLABBED to see what’s happening on the Branch/Rigsby fronts…….and you never fail to satisfy….you are so cool….all I can say is: thanks for your incredible dedication and professionalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *