Meet the “law” man Cori and Kerri Rigsby had to use to blow the whistle on State Farm

This piece in Raw Story pretty much sums it up. Throw in a few known circles of association and the truth, whatever that is, rapidly becomes stranger than fiction.

Back in those days Ollie Diaz was the favorite whipping boy of the political right. Considered a modern day equivalent of Benedict Arnold by the Mississippi GOP he found out leaving “the family” can be a tad difficult.

Them tax laws are widely disregarded IMHO but they have a nasty bite for those who run afoul of them.  A CPA would know better, one would expect a USA would too.


Anyone Else Remember Maria Brown? Let’s catch up shall we.

Our long term readers no doubt remember the lusty saga of Maria Brown who surfaced with salacious allegations of sexual harassment against her former employer and Scruggs Katrina Group member Nutt and McAlister PLLC when all hell was breaking loose with the Dickie Scruggs criminal case. At the time we were criticized in some quarters because we didn’t blindly believe Ms Brown’s allegations of sexual harassment and of course the complaint vaporized in the face of production of her in office emails which revealed Ms Brown possessed a very healthy libido.

Today Ms Brown surfaced in the Clarion Ledger telling a story of now having to wait tables one day a week to supplement the meager income her new job provides. Ms Brown is also sick of working for lawyers and recounts how she was “laid off” from her paralegal job at Nutt & McAlister and working briefly at another law firm before saying sayonara to the legal profession.  What the article doesn’t mention however is why Ms Brown has “had enough of lawyers”, ostensibly even her one time paramour John Doe.

What is clear is that the economy was not the only thing slumping when Ms Brown left Nutt & McAlister Continue reading “Anyone Else Remember Maria Brown? Let’s catch up shall we.”

Update on Renfroe v Rigsby, the Alabama case

After the Qui Tam legal team found Renfroe tripped playing defense and refuted their claim with their own record in the Alabama case, I checked on the latest developments.

The Appeal filed by Dick Scruggs is moving forward in the 11th Circuit; however, the mediation ordered by Judge Acker has stalled according to the Status Report filed by a Renfroe attorney. Continue reading “Update on Renfroe v Rigsby, the Alabama case”

Cat scratch fever strikes insurance industry – State Farm has bad case

If you been reading the comments to the post about the Louisiana Legislature chances are you won’t be suprised the story Business Insurance News linked as Cat bond activity levels off. (Large H/T to Editilla at the Ladder)

It seems the cats scratched the subprime market a lot deeper that earlier reports suggested and now the cat bond market is suffering from cat scratch fever.

Activity in the markets for industry loss warranties and catastrophe bonds has lessened in 2008, after several years of rapid growth.

Cat-bond activity, in particular has taken a knock, as competition from a softening reinsurance market and waning interest from investors have taken their toll.

After a record year for industry losses in 2005, there were three record years in terms of catastrophe-bond issuance…

Corporate-bond markets now offer more opportunity and so demand for insurance-linked securities has fallen…Cat-bond issuers—namely insurance and reinsurance companies that seek coverage from capital market investors— are in competition with other issuers of bonds, in particular issuers of corporate debt—where credit spreads have widened…This means that the cost of insurance-linked securities has risen as investors now require higher interest payments than in the past to entice them into buying cat bonds…

A number of cat bonds have been devalued…because the investment-banking counterparties were thought to be exposed to subprime exposures. (emphasis added)

State Farm has been in a different kind of cat fight since Hurricane Katrina and this report suggests its running a pretty high fever – otherwise the delusional views cited in the story are just more of the examples of State Farm spinning allegations as fact. Continue reading “Cat scratch fever strikes insurance industry – State Farm has bad case”

So, will claims handling really be different with Gustav and Ike?

Yesterday, we were getting comments that caused me to suggest some might find it helpful to read Chip Merlin’s September blog posts.  As an afterthought, I decided to make another visit myself.

I’m a big fan of Merlin’s and have read most, maybe all, of the posts on the blog. Nonetheless, although I understood and generally agreed with most everything in the post he’d added since my last visit, I’m not certain I got the message in State Farm Gears Up for Ike.

All of the companies with policy holders in the areas hit by Gustav and Ike appear to have geared up.  Allstate was actually the first to go public with an announcement they were ready and State Farm followed.  I wrote a post on the subject at the time.

Last night I found an interesting article from the Palm Beach Press indicating the gear up also included Hanna: Past failures spur insurance changes.

The current storm season is turning out to be the most active in terms of landfall since eight storms slammed into the Sunshine State in 2004 and 2005. But major homeowner insurers say they are ready to respond quickly to damage claims, a result of learning some tough lessons in those years.

The goal: Pay policyholders faster so that they can fix up their homes.

Indeed, four of the top five Florida insurers – Citizens Property Insurance Corp., State Farm, Allstate and USAA – say they are, among other things:

  • Expanding the use of mobile satellite vans that can process claims from affected areas wirelessly.
  • Switching from paper to electronic files.
  • Using the Internet to reach customers with damage.
  • Adding to the number of claims adjusters on call.
  • It’s all to be more responsive, the insurers say. As a group they came out of the busy 2004 and 2005 storm seasons with a collective black eye on claims handling. From customers of the five largest insurers alone, state regulators received more than 10,000 claims-related complaints after the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes…

    Still, there is no guarantee that homeowners won’t have problems.

    Paying policy holders faster, according to Merlin’s post, is a cost saving measure for insurers. Continue reading “So, will claims handling really be different with Gustav and Ike?”

    State Farm talks "innocent" walks "guilty"

    Although, as Sop said yesterday, there are days when SLABBED is a burden; but, when I’m having one of those days, I think about the slabbed and how every day is a burden when your insurance policy proves to be little more than paper.

    All human learning is based on what we experience as we interact with our environment beginning at birth. Learning continues throughout the lifespan as we master a predictable sequence of increasingly complex concepts and skills; but, our experiences remain the source of our knowledge – a yardstick for measuring the authenticity of claims made about something are true.

    Consequently, when I read State Farm spokesman’s Fraser Engerman comments in Anita Lee’s follow-up story on the dismissal of extra-contractual claims in McIntosh, I knew it was bullshit spin with just enough truth tucked in to fool those without the experience on the post-Katrina Coast to know better.

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

    State Farm’s spend-for-spin approach to Katrina litigation will prove eventually prove Lincoln right because what no one, including Engerman, can spin is that State Farm hasn’t walked the talk of the innocence he claims for far longer than the two years it has taken to get to this point. Continue reading “State Farm talks "innocent" walks "guilty"”

    A Bit More on Yesterday's McIntosh Developments, The Rigsby Sisters & Revisiting Mullins

    In her post last night Nowdy nailed it when she spoke of the false connection those who hate Dickie Scruggs make between policyholder litigation and it’s intersection with the old SKG. Emotions clouding better judgement is nothing new of course as it is part and parcel of the human condition. So it comes as no surprise that trashing the Rigsby sisters naturally follows with the Scruggs hating crowd, just as trashing Trent Lott and John Grisham or anyone else remotely associated with Dickie Scruggs became the norm during the run up to trial.

    The problem manifested itself with some filings in McIntosh by Chip Merlin, a case which the Rigsby sisters were previously DQ’d as witnesses along with the claims documents they saved from the shredder. Using reasoning that Captain Queeg would certainly appreciate, the latest filings were trumpeted as proof positive the Sisters allegations were the product of DIckie Scruggs fertile imagination.

    It is sad that it has taken two years to get to this point. And it is appalling Dickie Scruggs was allowed to game the system and use his unfounded allegations in this case to dupe politicians and prompt scandalous headlines and stories from the news media,” State Farm spokesman Jonathan Freed said.

    What is sad is that otherwise intelligent people buy into such propaganda without critical thought. The Rigsby sisters have made very detailed and specific allegations against State Farm for how they adjusted claims and none of their major allegations have been refuted to this point. Let’s remove the sisters for a minute and examine the now settled case of Mullins. Just like with Mr Beckham, State Farm backed up a big dump truck and showered Mr and Mrs Mullins with a boatload of cash in a confidential settlement. Here is why courtesy of Dean Starkman at the Insurance Transparency Project who wrote on Mullins real time in 2007:

    I’ll include one more case because it shows what happened when an “original” report made it — quite by luck — into the hands of a policyholder. Keep in mind while you read this an insurer’s obligation under the law to deal fairly with policyholders. Continue reading “A Bit More on Yesterday's McIntosh Developments, The Rigsby Sisters & Revisiting Mullins”

    Breaking: Judge Walker denies Motion to Compel Scruggs, Motion for Summary Judgment, Renders others Moot and McIntosh moves on!

    State Farm’s my-way-or-the-highway approach to the depositions of the Scruggses hit the road today in Southern District Federal Court with Judge Walker’s Order denying their motion to compel the Scruggs to testify.

    Walker’s denial renders moot the Motion to Strike filed by the Scruggs reported here and the Motion for Protection filed by McIntosh Counsel Tina Nicholson. (text only order)

    Walker also issued an Order denying State Farm’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

    As you will see in the text of the orders, these motions were ill advised from the get go – defense mechanisms in otherwise indefensible motions IMO.  First, take a look the Order denying the Motion to Compel. Continue reading “Breaking: Judge Walker denies Motion to Compel Scruggs, Motion for Summary Judgment, Renders others Moot and McIntosh moves on!”

    Scruggses file motion to strike arguments and exhibits in State Farm's reply

    The Scruggses have filed a motion to strike asking the court to immediately and permanently strike the arguments and exhibits that were raised for the first time in State Farm’s Second Reply Brief in support of its Motions to Compel.

    Before going any further, I want to explain how this motion relates to my remarks about the use of psychological defense mechanisms in the Reply filed by State Farm – the monster that hit Pacer last Friday.

    What we’re dealing with is a corporate bully – functioning like a man who beats his wife and says it’s her fault for making him mad. Bullies have victims. I’ll attempt to explain how that victim can be justice after this section of text from the motion showing the bully in action.

    Clearly, State Farm did not enter Exhibit “C” or its other newly-submitted documents because they were necessary to its arguments in support of its original Motions to Compel. If these documents were truly relevant to State Farm’s Motions, they should have been attached as exhibits to the Motions themselves.

    Moreover, State Farm makes only two references to the documents in its Second Reply Brief, one of which is a string “citation” to nearly 3,000 pages of documents for the broad and generalized proposition that Zach Scruggs had e-mail contact with certain media representatives.

    The attachment of these documents, and their continued presence on the Court’s docket, thus prejudices the Scruggses, serves no permissible purpose, and constitutes an abuse of the Court’s resources and the electronic filing system.

    I contend that in these Katrina cases, the immediate victim may have been Zach, Dick, one of the Rigsby sisters, or even disqualified counsel; however, the ultimate victim has been justice. Continue reading “Scruggses file motion to strike arguments and exhibits in State Farm's reply”

    Catching Up: Anita Lee Reports on Former SKG Clients

    Nowdy has been doing PACER searches for a couple of weeks now and her findings are born out in Anita Lee’s report from the Saturday Sun Herald. Insurance industry bloggers predicting the demise of these cases were a wee bit premature with their prognostications.

    …..The Scruggs Katrina Group, reincarnated as the Katrina Litigation Group, was disqualified in April from representing policyholders in 180 lawsuits SKG filed against State Farm. Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled then the member law firms knew or should have known Scruggs unethically paid two former insurance adjusters who were potential witnesses in some of the cases.

    The Texas law firm Provost Humphrey, recommended by SKG lead attorney Don Barrett, wound up with 62 percent of the 112 cases in which policyholders retained new attorneys, with Coast attorneys taking on the remainder. Continue reading “Catching Up: Anita Lee Reports on Former SKG Clients”