Judge Vance plays trump card on ESI Depositions in Branch qui tam

This can only be one of those “SLABBED reports, you decide” posts – assuming, of course, I’ve not outgrown yet another pair of reading glasses.

Yesterday’s docket in the Branch Consultants’ qui tam case noted, “the motion to stay the the Branch defendants’ Motion to Adjourn ESI Depositions for Forty-Five Days…was set for hearing…and would be decided by the magistrate judge”.  As I recall, the hearing was set for the 15th of December.

Needless to say, I was surprised to find a related Order from Judge Vance when I checked the docket tonight:

Defendants Liberty Mutual, Standard Fire, Allstate, and Pilot move to adjourn the scheduled ESI depositions for forty-five days. The motion is DENIED. The Court has already considered this issue and sees no reason to change its previous order. Defendants’ motion to expedite is DENIED AS MOOT. (emphasis added)

I gather the first sentence in the defendant’s motion to adjourn the ESI depositions got on Judge Vance’s last nerve:

Defendants Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (“Liberty Mutual”), The Standard Fire Insurance Company (“Standard Fire”), Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”), and Pilot Catastrophe Services, Inc. (“Pilot”) move the Court to adjourn the ESI depositions for forty-five days to allow the Court to consider whether it has jurisdiction over this matter.

Something certainly prompted her to make it clear that she had jurisdiction unless  she decided otherwise – and, clearly, that she won’t decided until after the date of the last deposition on the schedule.

16 thoughts on “Judge Vance plays trump card on ESI Depositions in Branch qui tam”

  1. I take it Judge Vance feels that Judy Barrasso made an asso of herself with that last motion.

    (Sorry I couldn’t resist)

    Terrible feeling, knowing that the walls are closing in.

    sop

  2. As a “citizen reader” of these legal documents, Sop, I’ve developed a “special appreciation” for Judge Vance – her “what part of ‘no’ don’t you understand” decisions crack me up.

    If there is any one thing that has been “loud and clear” in my reading of her decisions in this case, it is her insistence on having all possible information available for her consideration.

    I don’t think – and this is just a citizen’s opinion – that she’s going to make any decision on the pending motions to dismiss any defendant from Branch until she is has thoroughly examined the ESI capacity of each defendant.

    Understandably so with two additional pending qui tam cases against Allstate that detail an alleged fraud committed by manipulation of electronic claims handling systems – ex rel Denenea v Allstate is already in her court and there is a waiting motion to move Sonnier v Allstate to the ED LA federal court.

    IOW, she’s focused on ESI capacity – and if these defendants don’t cough it up, she’s going to pull it out!

  3. Nowdy, SOP, or anyone else – Can you please explain the concept of “ESI depositions”, as referenced here and maybe generally too?

    Do you have any useful background links?

    Really curious and would love to know.

    Thanks.

  4. Am I missing the link or was there an original motion that went with this (the 30.b.6 seeking the ESI depos)?

    But is it correct that the plaintiffs are deposing on the basis of explorting and explaining all teh ESI behind this software that was uncovered?

  5. telemachus, I’ll have to search tomorrow – computer problem slowed me down tonight. Just drawing on my memory, Branch was seeking ESI 30((b)(6) depositions to determine the capacity available to pull statistically valid sample of cases. ex rel Denenea v Allstate, not Branch, is the case that uncovered the software and then ex rel Sonnier v Allstate added additional information.

  6. When these judges start using “MOOT” and “DENIED” they are disinterested in the case and feel it has not teeth.
    In my experience that is about the end of the case. Nothing to it, judge is trying to get another remedy like a “motion to dismiss’ or they will challenge the jurisdiction and write up a order making it difficult for one party to move forward.

    1. Dream on Frank. Too many eyes on these cases for an old fashioned insurance fix.

      And those that try like Magistrate Walker? I hear his next federal appointment will be manning the shovels at the horse stable in the DeSoto National Forest.

      Tell your blowbuddy David Rossmiller we miss him.

      sop

  7. AS long as the Public is reviewing Judges at the Eastern District of Louisiana we have a chance to prevent complete corruption and fixing of cases.

    Vances Husband and Jones Walker represent Insurance companies all of the time but then she
    never finds a conflict of interest in anything she does.

  8. Nowdy I’ve seen a commenter on the T-P list cases involving Cisco Systems who Mr Vance purportedly represents.

    The word I’ve heard on Judge Vance was early on she needed to bone up some on insurance law but that once she hit her stride the rulings in her insurance cases were pretty solid.

    The names I’ve consistenly heard mentioned as being abysmal in insurance law are:

    Feldman
    Berrigan
    McNamara
    Lemelle
    Engelhardt
    Africk

    That does not count Magistrates like Sushan (and Walker over here).

    sop

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