Breaking News! Judge Senter’s issues two Orders in Rigsby qui tam – makes it clear he’s the boss, will hold December 1 Status Conference and reschedule trial

Well, State Farm’s proposed juror questionnaire obviously didn’t tickle Judge Senter’s funnybone like it did mine, nor did he find it as valuable as Sock.  However, there’s no guessing what he thought as he issued an Opinion – Order denying State Farm’s motion today and made his thinking exceedingly clear:

In the past I have used a juror questionnaire consisting of a single yes or no question: “Do you or any member of your family have a pending lawsuit for Hurricane Katrina damages, or have you had such a lawsuit in the past?” This questionnaire has worked well in the past as a means of screening jurors who would be subject to dismissal for cause without creating any of the problems outlined above. I will follow this same procedure in this case.

He actually said a bit more about his objections but I need to move quickly to the other order Judge Senter issued today because I, first, have to apologize for leaving a related October 5, 2010 Orderr lingering in my bulging “drafts file”.

I will decline at this time to vacate my order of dismissal until I reach the merits of the USA’s objection to this settlement…negotiated between Relators and Forensic Analysis and Engineering, Inc. (Forensic)…the United States of America shall have a period of twenty days within which to make known any objection it may have to the terms of the settlement at issue by the filing of appropriate pleadings; and Since the United States of America is not a party to this action, I will allow the Relators and the other parties a period of ten days from the date the United States files its pleadings to respond through pleadings addressing the issues raised by the United States. (emphasis added)

The USA was johnny felicia-on-the-spot and a few days early filing the government’s Notice of Rejection of Settlement…and Motion to Dismiss…[Forensic]Without Prejudice – but I suppose an assistant US Attorney pays more attention when reportedly under consideration for the top spot.  Nonetheless, the government has a history of untimely filing in the Rigsby qui tam case that includes a nunc pro tunc January 11, 2007 Application for a Second Six-Month Extension of Time to Consider Election to Intervene.

Judge Senter may or may not have been surprised by the timing of the government’s filing but hisOrder Continuing Trial and Setting Status Conference clearly indicates he was perplexed by the government’s position.

The United States prefers a dismissal without prejudice rather than the dismissal with prejudice called for by the settlement agreement between the Relators and Forensic. Curiously, the United States rejects the terms of the settlement agreement and suggests that rather than paying a settlement of $25,000 to the Relators, Forensic pay nothing.

By taking this position, the United States has made it impossible for Forensic and the Relators to go forward under the terms of their settlement agreement, since the consent of the United States is required in order for this settlement to be approved.

The position of the United States is made all the more curious in that the United States’ stated reason for rejecting the proposed settlement accepted by the Relators is Forensic’s insolvency and hence its inability to pay the agreed settlement of $25,000.

In light of this action on the part of the United States and in light of the motions now pending, which, if granted might greatly expand the scope of this litigation, I have decided to continue the trial of this case from its present setting on December 1, 2010, and to set a status conference on that date to hear from all parties on the merits of themotions that remain undecided at that time. These motions are fully briefed, and I donot anticipate requiring any additional briefings at this time. After this conference, I willreschedule the trial to accommodate my rulings on the pending motions.

I’m perplexed, too, and not just by the governments position.  According to my review of the Rigsby qui tam docket, there is only one motion pending that might expand the scope of…[the Rigsby qui tam]…litigation.  However, I can I think of other cases with motions that might expand the scope of the Rigsby case but those motions were filed in qui tam cases before a Louisiana court.

8 thoughts on “Breaking News! Judge Senter’s issues two Orders in Rigsby qui tam – makes it clear he’s the boss, will hold December 1 Status Conference and reschedule trial”

  1. “Shooting from the hip”, the continuance of the trial date, due to action (or inaction) by the United States (ie. the U.S. Department of “Injustice”), translates into a FUCK JOB for the plaintiffs. And YOU thought that the Federal Government (the same institution from which the Judge gets his paycheck – you didn’t think he’d jeopardize his paycheck, did you?) was working for YOU! Federal Government (SPIT!). All employees of the Federal Government (especially Judges and other employees of the U.S. Department of “Injustice”) SPIT!. Ashton O’Dwyer

  2. Hold on, bellesouth, since the real plaintiff in a qui tam case is the government, if Ashton’s right in saying “it’s a F… Job on the Plaintiffs”, we’ve just witnessed the government f…ing itself.

  3. Nowdy: With all due respect, the “the real plaintiff in a qui tam case is the government” is overly simplistic and begs the question. The plaintiffs and the Government are separately represented. The plaintiffs are incurring costs and expenses every day that this case remains pending, without a trial, which has now been continued due to positions by the Government which even the Judge found “perplexing”. Do YOU know the Government’s “agenda”? It would appear that neither the plaintiffs’ lawyers nor the Judge do. If the Government was the “real plaintiff”, then the U.S. Department of “Injustice” would have been substituted as counsel of record for the plaintiffs. There are things “going on” in this case that we don’t know about or fully understand. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  4. Don’t know the government’s agenda but agree with you that there are “things ‘going on’ in this case that we don’t know about or fully understand” – and the “we” at least appears likely to include both Judge Senter and plaintiff’s lawyers, BUT, have reservations about agreeing to anything other than “appears likely”.

    Disagree that DOJ (DOI to you) “would have been substituted as counsel of record for the plaintiffs” if “Government was the ‘real plaintiff’. Given poor track record of US Attorney’s office for southern district MS in this case, it may not even be desirable unless “counsel of record” representing Government comes from elsewhere.

    There is no proven correlation between Government electing to intervene and the merits of any qui tam case – however, what has been proven is correlation between interest of US Attorney in the district in a case and the government’s election to intervene.

    The docket of the Rigsbys case contains abundant evidence suggesting the southern district MS US Attorney’s office had more interest in investigating the fraud committed by victims of Katrina than the fraudulent handling of claims that ran up $18billion tab at US Treasury in excess of the billions in account that were already allocated to national flood insurance program.

    That the winds of a hurricanes suck as well as blow is well-established as fact – Katrina proved it as a fact that applies to more than just weather science.

  5. Something else going on at the DOJ? Here’s the scenario in black and white:

    1) Elections are coming up.
    2) Communists AND Fascists are in control (Communism + Fascism = the Ruthless Enforcement of “State Capitalism” (State Capitalism is a synonym for Communism that confuses the unsuspecting populace.) Katrina was the first large-scale-test at disarming citizen-slaves during a more-or-less-national disaster.)
    3) The Communists got govt run healthcare in place.
    4) To make govt run healthcare work, the State Capitalists need the insurance companies’ networks of sales agents (aka conartists) and spies.
    5) You can’t nuke your sales agents and spies; otherwise, State Capitalism won’t survive.
    6) The Proletariat-Slaves are angry.
    7) You can’t have the Proletariat-Slaves angry. The difference between a citizen and a slave is the right to keep an bear arms. (Ask Ashton ODwyer.)

    SO, in conclusion, the MOBSTERS in government are stalling because they are caught in a Catch-22. They will need to side with the Proletariat, OR, let the relators peter out, OR, create another 9/11, OR, try to figure out where to hide all the kickbacks.

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