BIG NEWS – Judge Senter denies two State Farm motions despite the Company’s threat of appeal! (a Rigsby qui tam update)

Last Friday, this was “breaking news” but with my Christmas tree still up, I had to set priorities and these latest Orders from Judge Senter merit more than just a “pop-up” post. If you need background, check the SLABBED post published November 24, 2010, for Judge Senter’s earlier Orders admitting the testimony and/or report of Rigsby expert witnesses Dave Favre and Brian Ford.

After three years of following Katrina insurance litigation, much of it involving State Farm, I thought I’d reached the point where nothing would surprise me. However, State Farm’s legal eagles (AKA “the buckin fuzzards“) clearly proved me wrong with the Company’s Memorandum in Support of Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s Opinion and Order re: The Brian Ford Report and Memorandum in Support of Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s Opinion and Order re: Dave J. Favre, Sr.

However, I wasn’t as surprised by content as I was shocked by the threatening tone – and how it intensified in State Farm’s replies in rebuttal to the Rigsbys’ Response in Opposition to each of the Company’s motions. As I was reading, I began to wonder if Judge Senter felt like Travis Brickle when he took a look at State Farm’s briefs:

“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”

For example, inState Farm’s Rebuttal brief asking for [demanding, IMO] reconsideration of Judge Senter’s decision on the admissibility of the Brian Ford report, the Company wrote:

Until now, no federal court has ever held that a document Continue reading “BIG NEWS – Judge Senter denies two State Farm motions despite the Company’s threat of appeal! (a Rigsby qui tam update)”

Broussard and Whitmer charged with – surprise – violating state ethics laws

Email messages are pouring in with links to Rich Rainey’s story for the Times-Picayune – Aaron Broussard and Tim Whitmer charged with violating state ethics laws
:

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard is facing state ethics charges for accepting $4,500 in Christmas gifts from his staff and for his involvement in 2009 with a private insurance agency owned by his top aide, Tim Whitmer, while the two men were running the parish government.

The Louisiana Board of Ethics alleged Broussard violated the state ethics code between 2007 and 2009 for accepting gift certificates from his staff. He is also charged with accepting “a thing of economic value” from Lagniappe Industries, the insurance agency Whitmer owned with his wife, Dawn, while Lagniappe “had a contractual or other business or financial relationship with his agency, Jefferson Parish,” the charges state.

Broussard has admitted to doing $5,000 in “legal work” for Lagniappe Industries in the summer of 2009.

Whitmer faces 30 charges that he violated the state ethics code. The majority of those stem from Lagniappe’s work selling health insurance to West Jefferson Medical Center while Whitmer was the parish’s No. 2 executive and serving on the parish’s Insurance Advisory Committee. Continue reading “Broussard and Whitmer charged with – surprise – violating state ethics laws”

A quick programming note.

Thanks to all who noted my absence and emailed inquiring about my whereabouts. Basically I’ve been paying the bills working the day job.  This time of year tends to be busy for those in my profession.  I’ll be circling back later today to make sure all the emails I got from last week are answered along with my blog related phone messages.

On another matter, with the smattering of news reports surfacing on the upcoming release date for former Governor Edwin Edwards to the half way house, I’m laying down a time stamp that I’ll be doing everything in my power to score an interview (or at least a face to face chat) with the former Gov after he is completely free from the BoP later this year.

Along those lines and since I’m sharing my thoughts I’ve also thought about paying John Young a visit but I do not have real strong feelings there one way or the other. Since we write so much about Jefferson Parish Government offering a meet seems like the right thing to do.

Finally  my desktop is completely cluttered with saved links.  I’ll do what I can to clear the backlog, especially the story about evil Anita Lee LOL.  Frankly it could be far worse as Spyridon Contogouris could be on her tail. Maybe there is something to all this cyber talk about the force and light sabres.  The stories I could tell…… (beyond the ones I’ve already told)

sop

Jim Brown

Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

A HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR INSURANCE RATES ALONG THE GULF COAST? NOT REALLY!

So happy New Year! And by the way, get ready for higher property insurance rates along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Louisiana. One would think that if anything, homeowner’s rates would be going down. After all, there has been virtually no hurricane activity in the Gulf for the past four years. And with the national economic slump, home prices have dropped which should translate into lower insurance rates. Not so say the experts. Here are a few reasons why many states, particularly my home state of Louisiana, will see higher rates in the coming year.

Huge claims for the BP Gulf Oil spill will definitely boost insurance rates for the oil industry. No one at this stage can even guess what the final insurance costs will be from both the damage and years of ligation from the Gulf spill. Most of the larger oil companies are self insured, which means they will have to divert funds from operating costs into designated reserve funds. Independent companies, that produce both oil and gas, will see their insurance costs go up. Higher insurance costs mean cut backs, possible layoffs, and higher prices for both oil and gas. And those insurance companies that have taken a big hit over the Gulf spill will have no choice but to raise rates for all lines of insurance, including homeowners.

Citizens Property Insurance Company in Louisiana continues to run amok, and be a factor in higher insurance rates. Louisiana taxpayers are on the hook for well over a billion dollars because of the state created company’s mismanagement. The company is now bragging that it has reduced the number of policies it is selling. But this becomes a catch 22. As Citizens looses customers, the overall risk increases. A new study by the Insurance Information Institute pointed out the Louisiana state run plan still maintains a “precarious financial condition.” Simple translation — it’s broke, and will be for years. Last month the company asked the Louisiana Insurance Department for an increase that in some south Louisiana parishes will top 24%. Continue reading “Jim Brown”