Judge L.T. Senter Jr. is weighing whether to dismiss a whistle-blower lawsuit against State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. or expand its scope beyond one policyholder’s Katrina claim.
Attorneys spent four hours in federal court Wednesday presenting their arguments to Senter, who is presiding over his last major Hurricane Katrina case, Rigsby vs. State Farm.
State Farm attorneys argue the case should be dismissed because sisters and former insurance adjusters Cori and Kerri Rigsby have turned up no evidence of fraud during extensive pre-trial investigation, called discovery. Senter limited the scope of discovery to one policyholder claim, McIntosh, because the Rigsbys have firsthand knowledge of how it was adjusted.
Attorneys for the Rigsbys argue they have discovered a pattern of fraud by State Farm and should be allowed to expand discovery beyond the McIntosh claim. The Rigsbys maintain State Farm minimized its costs for wind-damage claims by overcharging the National Flood Insurance Program for losses caused by storm surge.