Saturday Music Post

We’ve been at this one year shy 14 days and what an amazing year this has been. I warned then newbie Nowdy that getting mixed up with me was likely to land her in some strange and new places in cyber space. I think I kept that promise. To my old cyber friends, all the new ones we’ve made this past year and on behalf of all of us here at Slabbed we thank you for coming here, reading and contributing, especially those with an insurer perspective such as Proximo and Mr Bullstroke.


Breaking! 11th Circuit Court of Appeals GRANTS Scruggses' Petition

You all might remember Scruggs and Scruggs Law Firm petitioning the court for an appeal of Judge Acker’s Order on civil contempt sanctions. On Friday last, the Court granted their petition to appeal. Just the fact that they have agreed to review is cause for speculation since the court is particular about which cases it grants to review. And given the antics of Judge Acker, I hope they give it a thorough review.

With that and the Supremes reviewing the Jones case to decide whether the sides need go to arbitration, maybe Scruggs can get a little justice even while imprisoned.

Brown v. Nutt settled and dismissed

I guess we’ll never know who the opposing counsel was that Ms. Brown was seeing. The parties had a settlement conference on August 11 and the case was settled and dismissed with prejudice as to all parties.

The Court being advised that all parties have an informed understanding of their rights and a full appreciation of the consequences of the settlement, and the Court being desirous that this matter be finally closed on its docket,

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that this case is hereby dismissed with prejudice as to all parties. If any party fails to comply with the terms of this settlement agreed to by all parties, any aggrieved party may reopen the case for enforcement of the settlement agreement. If successful, all additional
attorneys’ fees and costs from this date shall be awarded such aggrieved party or parties against the party failing to comply with the agreement. The Court specifically retains jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.

The judge definitely did not want to hear anymore about this case!

Qui Tam Catch-up

Sop introduced Gilbert Randolph, the new firm representing the Rigsby sisters, in a post earlier this week and yesterday’s docket report showed the sisters have really lawyered up – Benjamin Davidson, Craig Litherland, and August Matteis have been granted their motion to appear Pro Hac Vice. Read their bios, they appear to be a formidable group.

It didn’t take State Farm long to welcome the new lawyers with a 14-page Attachment plus 15 exhibits, largely old news stories, to their Motion to Dismiss – a whopping 405 total pages of allegations.

In further evidentiary support of its Motion to Dismiss, State Farm supplements the record with newly discovered evidence…

I have no doubt the three new attorneys and the Gilbert Randolph law firm will be able play catch-up real quick. Prior to joining Gilbert Randolph LLP in 2001, Mr. Matteis was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, the “legal arm” of State Farm.

In a July 25, 2008 Order ([194]), this Court extended the Rigsbys’ deadline to retain new counsel until September 5, 2008. In a text-only Order that same day, the Court further suspended the Rigsbys’ deadline to respond to all pending motions, until further order of the Court.

So, the wheels are back on in the qui tam case. Look for skid marks and road rage.

Judge Acker grants Scruggs motion to release security to satisfy judgment begrudgingly

Judge Acker issued his Memorandum and Opinion today on Scruggs’s motion to release the cash “deposited with the Clerk as security pending appeal to E.A. Renfroe & Co. Inc. in satisfaction of the civil contempt sanctions entered against Scruggs and the defendants.”  Also, the Rigsbys have filed a motion for a mediation order, today as well.  Busy day in Alabama.  The motion for a mediation order was suggested by the judge on Monday. The Rigsbys took him up on the offer.

I suspected that Judge Acker was waiting on issuing his order on Scruggs’s motion because he was going to have to do something reasonable but didn’t really want to.  My guess was correct! 

The court voiced its incredulity and its concern over granting the said motion without caveat.  The court made clear that the motion will be granted only with the court’s disclaimer of any belief that there will remain any right by Scruggs and/or by the Rigsbys to appeal and/or to recover from Renfroe the amount of the satisfied judgment in the event of a successful appeal by anybody.

But he was extremely impressed with Scruggs and counsel’s brief filed with the Eleventh Circuit filed on June 19, 2008 quoted in the memo: Continue reading “Judge Acker grants Scruggs motion to release security to satisfy judgment begrudgingly”

Paul Minor has NOT been denied in his motion for an appeal bond to visit his dying wife. Corrected: Government Opposes Minor's appeal

Larisa Alexandrovna, the Managing Editor of Investigative News for Raw Story and who regularly reports on intelligence and national security matters has got the scoop on Paul Minor’s having been denied motion being opposed by the government in his motion for an appeal bond to visit his wife.

Paul Minor, a Mississippi trial lawyer famous for taking on big tobacco in the 1990s and now imprisoned on what many consider to be questionable corruption charges, has been denied in his motion for an appeal bond to visit his dying wife.

The primary grounds for denial offered by Justice Department attorneys is that letting Minor visit his wife would present “a danger to the community.” They cite an “incident” when he was found drunk and escorted out of a hotel by security while free on pre-trial bond, after which he was ordered to attend treatment for alcoholism, as well as an occasion when he met with a hurricane expert at a restaurant near his home while he was supposed to be under house arrest. Continue reading “Paul Minor has NOT been denied in his motion for an appeal bond to visit his dying wife. Corrected: Government Opposes Minor's appeal”

Scruggs comes to the Rigsbys' rescue

In court filings today, Scruggs and Scruggs Law Firm moved the court to release the security to satisfy the civil contempt charges.

In order to prevent the accumulation of any additional interest on the judgment, without waiver of the pending appeals and solely to pay the civil contempt sanction awarded in this action, Scruggs requests that the Court direct the Clerk to release to Renfroe the amount of $65,000, plus the interest having already accrued at the interest rate of 2.15% per year (as set out by this Court in the June 27, 2008 Order) from the date of the judgment until today, and release the remainder of the funds back to the Bainbridge, Mims, Rogers & Smith, LLP Trust Account.

But they are not waiving their right to appeal nor their right to recover the money if he wins on appeal.

Although Scruggs will comply with the Court’s order that the civil contempt judgment be satisfied immediately, Scruggs expressly reserves the right to prosecute its pending appeals of the civil contempt judgment to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and does not waive any of its defenses. See, e.g., Graddick v. Newman, 453 U.S. 928, 945 n.1 (1981) (“Since property transferred or money paid involuntarily pursuant to a judgment can be recovered, execution of the lower court’s
judgment pending appeal normally does not render the case moot. These cases represent merely a particularization of the rule that issuance of a court’s mandate or obedience to its judgment does not bar timely appellate review.”); County of Dakota v. Glidden, 113 U.S. 222, 224-25 (1885) (“There can be no question that a debtor against whom a judgment for money is recovered, may pay that judgment, and bring a writ of error to reverse it, and if reversed can recover back his money.”); Ferrell v. Trailmobile, Inc., 223 F.2d 697, 698 (5th Cir. 1955) (“We think that the rule has long been established in the federal courts that payment of a judgment, of itself, does not cut off the payor’s right of appeal.”).

Since this release of the money would satisfy the contempt sanctions, I would think that the Rigsbys are off the hook from the court’s latest order on the matter.

Unless the judgment is paid within fourteen (14) days, the court will consider denying
defendants’ motions for summary judgment as a sanction.

Good job, Mr. Scruggs! Good job!

Concise statement of fact? Nope, try again!

Since Rossmiller has been gone so long, I decided to go to Oregon and see what was up. Whatever it was, he proceeded to get a settlement including his own lawyer’s fees. Good job Rossmiller! But I also found another matter — federal question of breach of contract suit where Rossmiller is defending his client. Maybe he could give the Rigsbys some counsel on that in their defense against Renfroe? Maybe not such a good idea. It turns out Rossmiller had to eat a little crow from the judge when filing his concise statement of fact with the court.

The Concise Statement of Material Facts filed by Defendant in supporting her Motion for Summary Judgment is not in compliance with Local Rule 56.1 (c), which requires that citation to evidence supporting the party’s statement. The Clerk is directed to link a copy of Local Rule 56.1, including Appendix of Form #17, to this Order. The Local Rules can also be accessed at the Court’s website,

Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is held in abeyance pending filing of a Concise Statement of Material Facts in compliance with Local Rules 56.1

Thanks to Freedom of Information it is not only Scruggs and the Rigsbys that are under the spotlight.

Fool me once, shame on you!

From the hearing on motion to disqualify the dumbass judge in December 2007 after he’s “told Renfroe to move for Civil Sanctions”:

First, Judge Acker:

Now, whatever I said, and I can’t remember the quote, that triggered or generated the request by Renfroe to hold both Scruggs and the Rigsbys in civil contempt in the form of sanctions, monetary sanctions. Quite frankly, when I put that down, I wasn’t thinking about Scruggs. I was thinking about the Rigsbys.

I’m not saying that they misread me or that they were wrong in seeing that opportunity or the possibility in what I said to seek civil sanctions against Scruggs also. And they did. And that’s why we’re here..

Then, it’s Keker, representing Scruggs:

The only way you get jurisdiction over non-parties is if they aid and abet a contempt. And here there wasn’t any contempt to aid and abet you so found. Therefore, no jurisdiction; send us home. The 11th said not yet; let the district court decide this.

The next thing is that you suggest to them that they take another look at whether or not the Rigsbys are in contempt. What we think is that that’s a very shrewd, tactical move by an excellent first class prosecutor to shore up the jurisdiction in his case. And by prosecutors, I’m referring to you. Continue reading “Fool me once, shame on you!”

Renfroe offers support to Rigsby sisters before filing suit – Go figure!

Renfroe’s employment agreement and Code of Conduct do not forbid employees from disclosing fraud to policyholders or to the public – So says the Rigsbys’ counsel in their latest filing on the Motion for Summary Judgment re: plaintiff Renfroe’s claim of breach of contract.

The employment agreement and Code of Conduct do not forbid employees of Renfroe from disclosing fraud to policyholders or to the public. (See Employment agreement attached as Exhibit F & E) Renfroe employees are not to be complicit in fraud on policyholders. (See Jana Renfroe Depo. I, at 254:14-22 & 353:9-10).

And, so they say, Renfroe employees who observe fraud are permitted to report it to the authorities and to turn over documentary evidence without the consent of Renfroe.

In fact, they not only say, they show as evidence a Gene Refroe letter to Kerri Rigsby, dated September 1, 2006 (Exhibit G). Cori got one, too, by the way.

We understand that you have or may have provided documents or other information to law enforcement authorities. We support your behavior in that respect, and do not question its propriety or appropriateness.” (emphasis added)

What a puzzle it must have been to receive this letter and then days later find the propriety and appropriateness of their behavior the subject of a lawsuit Renfroe filed in Alabama. Continue reading “Renfroe offers support to Rigsby sisters before filing suit – Go figure!”