A notice of appearance filed by Jackson attorney Frank Trapp representing The Rendon Group leads the new “news” on the docket for ex rel Rigsby v State Farm. Trapp, known to long-time SLABBED readers as the attorney who represented Sid Backstrom in USA v Scruggs, is a much admired Jackson lawyer – a catch for Rendon well worth the wait.
Of course, if not for State Farm’s continued “dickin’ around” about the seal and related attempt to remove the Court’s protection from certain deposition testimony, The Rendon Group would have no need for local counsel:
On July 29, 2010 and August 2, 2010, State Farm deposed The Rendon Group, Inc. (“TRG”). ( at 1.) During the course of that Rule 30(b)(6) deposition, counsel for TRG invoked this Court’s  Consent Protective Order and designated certain portions of TRG’s testimony by John Rendon as “Protected Information,” subjecting it to heavy restrictions with respect to use and disclosure. See ( Consent Prot. Order at ¶3) (describing restrictions on Protected Information).
However, the good neighbor apparently just can’t zip it up and, as a result, Trapp filed a Motion to Intervene on Rendon’s behalf:
State Farm’s motions raise two important issues affecting TRG’s interests:
(a) First, the excerpts from the Rendon deposition to be filed in support of State Farm’s pending Motion to Dismiss contain very substantial testimony that has no bearing whatever on the one issue involving TRG that State Farm raised in its motion: whether the Rigsbys violated the seal order by communicating information about this litigation to TRG, or through TRG to the media. Instead, State Farm has submitted deposition testimony that has no relationship whatever to potential seal violations, and that relates in many instances to matters that only occurred after the seal order was vacated on August 1, 2007.
(b) Second, to the extent that a portion of Rendon testimony relates to potential seal violations, the testimony was properly designated by TRG as Protected Information because it constitutes TRG’s confidential and/or proprietary commercial and financial information. TRG desires to preserve the protection claimed for that material and, therefore, to oppose State Farm’s Motion to Declassify.
Judge Walker issued two related Orders – one granting TRG’s Motion to Intervene and the other granting State Farm’s Motion to file the protected information under Seal until the Court decides the Company’s motion to declassify.
Time will tell if Judge Walker keeps “dickin’ around” with the Rigsbys’ case or let it move forward on the merits of their allegations of State Farm’s fraudulent handling of policyholder damage claims following Hurricane Katrina.