just absolutely a class act – Judge Senter corrects the record (a Rigsby qui tam update)

“It has come to my attention that my Memorandum Opinion Concerning State Farm Fire and Casualty Company’s Motion To Dismiss For Relators’ Violation Of Seal Order, Docket Number 871, contains a factual error stated at the top of page 11 and repeated near the bottom of page 13. The opinion states that the Relators have previously been represented by the Scruggs Katrina Group, and this is not the case. Relators were previously represented by The Scruggs Law Firm, LLC, and not by the Scruggs Katrina Group. By this order, I am amending this Memorandum Opinion to correct this error.”

The Order makes no mention of how this matter came to his attention. My guess is from his exceedingly careful reading of documents he’s reviewing before deciding matters currently before the Court. Not that he wouldn’t otherwise, but Don Barrett’s recently filed Motion for Fees pointing out “defense lawyers have been banking their money for years” from Katrina litigation and piling  on more work for an already overworked court staff in the process.

In that regard, I suspect – actually I hope – Judge Senter will do as he’s done in the past and allow a document to be filed once and referenced in all briefs thereafter. My experience reading briefs in ex rel Rigsby is like reading the first chapter of a newly purchased Agatha Christi and realizing you paid for a new cover and title to a book you’d already read!

My hope and Agatha aside, Judge Senter’s Order clearly documents his intent to ensure everything about ex rel Rigsby v State Farm accurately reflects the facts of the case. The text revised as a result of his correction is below the jump.

Memorandum Opinion, Docket Number 871, is hereby amended in the following particulars:
1. The words and punctuation mark in line three of page eleven, “, and the participants in the Scruggs Katrina Group, a joint venture involving a number of Mississippi attorneys” are hereby deleted, and the word “and” is hereby inserted in the parenthetical appearing there, so that the corrected passage shall read, “During this period, the Relators and the attorneys who were then representing them in private litigation against State Farm (Richard Scruggs and representatives of the Scruggs Law Firm) made many public statements accusing State Farm of misconduct in its claims adjusting practices.”
2. The words in the first sentence of the fourth full paragraph of page 113, “and the SKG” are hereby deleted so that the corrected passage shall read, “It is abundantly clear that Richard Scruggs used formidable public relations resources, including use of The Rendon Group, in an effort to control the public perception of the issue at the heart of this qui tam action, i.e. whether State Farm deliberately mischaracterized wind damage as flood damage in assessing claims under the insurance policies it was adjusting.”

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