State Farm began their defense in the Rigsby whistleblower lawsuit involving allegations they and other insurers defrauded the National Flood Insurance Program after Hurricane Katrina early this week and I immediately noticed a foul odor that seemed to emanate from the Federal Courthouse in Gulfport when former NFIP Director Dave Maurstad took the stand for State Farm. To understand Maurstad and the concept of the revolving door, you gotta understand these guys circle from private sector insurance related jobs to government regulatory positions and back each time collecting more career enhancing favors. With this bunch it is always about the next job so the insurance industry could not have had a better water boy in place when Katrina hit than Dave Maurstad.
But once upon a time ol’ Dave was not so keen to testify about the NFIP handling of Hurricane Katrina claims no siree. In Bolden v FEMA for instance Dave had to be compelled to show up at the Federal Courthouse to testify about the expedited claims process he and Lecky King came up with after Katrina. Worth noting is rather than let Maurstad testify FEMA opted to settle Bolden immediately. The bottom line is most people I listen to think Maurstad is a self serving hack under whose watch the NFIP sank into technical insolvency.
But it got deeper yesterday folks as State Farm retiree Lecky King took the stand with the sound of miniature violins playing in the background as Anita Lee explains in her latest dispatch from the Courthouse (I hope McClatchy sent a gas mask with her and is considering hazardous duty pay):
Career almost destroyed
Lecky King, on the other hand, said State Farm attorneys prepared her for her testimony. She spent her last few years at the company working on policyholder lawsuits filed after Katrina and on the case against her, which at one time was part of a criminal investigation that never resulted in charges.
Seems like it was just yesterday that King was living in an exclusive gated community in the Florida panhandle ducking subpoenas in the policyholder cases. In one of those cases an enterprising lawyer for a Slabber managed to get a birthday clown past the guards to serve some paper on King, whom I am fairly certain was richly rewarded by Ed Rust for her service in fattening his paycheck at the expense of natural disaster victims.
Meantime the insurance industry, via their shills in the trade media were already in spin mode last fall suggesting juries in this part of the country are incapable of being fair to insurers. It is a tired old meme but evidently one deemed worthy of floating should disaster befall the defendants at State Farm. We’ll see.
Meantime Nowdy sends word behind the scenes the combatants are trading Rule 50 briefs and I close with this remark from my former Partner in Blog:
How is it that, after all these years, I still feel like I must be hallucinating when I read a State Farm Reply in Opposition to whatever the Rigby attorneys file?