I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name

October 11, 2005 at 10:41 AM

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October 11, 2005 at 10:50 AM Continue reading “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name”

Speaking of lobbying – NFIP pays insurance company legal fees in flood claims disputes!

We are pleased to transmit to you the Federal Insurance Administration’s (“FIA”) new Guide for Write Your Own Counsel. This Guide provides important information on the policies and procedures to be followed by Write Your Own Companies (“WYO Companies”) and their counsel in litigation involving the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”)…

Since the inception of the WYO Program in October 1983, defense of lawsuits based on the SFIP has generally been handled smoothly and effectively. We stand ready to continue to offer support to WYO Companies in all litigation matters concerning the NFIP in our ongoing spirit of partnership.

Can you believe it? I can not – but google search results for “NFIP litigation” offered a copy.

This Guide for Write Your Own Counsel (“Guide”) has been developed by the Federal Insurance Administration (“FIA”) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) to assist Write Your Own (“WYO”) Companies and their counsel defending National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) litigation.

So much for thinking it is the deep pockets of the insurance industry that put most NFIP policyholder-plaintiffs at a financial disadvantage in litigation – those deep pockets are in Uncle Sam’s pants!

The FIA and WYO Company share a unique and common interest in the defense of cases related to the NFIP. Among other factors that give rise to this shared interest are the fiduciary responsibilities of the Company, the statutory and regulatory basis for the NFIP, the Federal government’s administrative and oversight responsibilities for the program, the need to share privileged information, and the fact that Federal funds are at risk. Accordingly, through the Arrangement, the FIA and the WYO Company have entered into a joint defense agreement to implement FEMA’s oversight responsibilities for the purpose of any litigation related to or arising under the NFIP to enable the free flow of information between the FIA, FEMA OGC, the WYO Company, and its legal counsel.

“Unique” is not exactly what I’d call the the government’s “common interest” with the insurer defendants in Katrina litigation.  I wonder if Judge Senter had a better word in mind in the “opinion” he would not “venture” in his December 12, 2008 Order in Gagne v State Farm. Continue reading “Speaking of lobbying – NFIP pays insurance company legal fees in flood claims disputes!”

More on the Recent RICO Settlement: Anita Lee reports on the more that first met the eye

Nowdy’s instincts were right about there being a story behind the story in the case of the settlement of Shows v State Farm, which we broke here last Friday.  In this case the more is that 225 individual claims were also settled albeit 42 months after the fact.  Anita Lee filed the report for the Sun Herald:

Former policyholder clients of disgraced attorney Dickie Scruggs have settled their lawsuits against State Farm, including racketeering allegations that the insurance company conspired with vendors to shortchange customers.

Policyholder law firm Provost Umphrey indicated more than 225 cases — 90 percent of those the firm had against State Farm in Mississippi — have been settled, including the racketeering lawsuit with 38 plaintiffs. Terms of the settlements are confidential.

“A combination of factors came together to allow the successful resolution of these claims including, the compensation amount, the exhaustion of the clients with the legal pursuit of their claims, unfavorable legal rulings over the last year and half and a fresh perspective afforded by new counsel,” a typed statement from Provost Umphrey said. Continue reading “More on the Recent RICO Settlement: Anita Lee reports on the more that first met the eye”

Breaking: Katrina RICO suit settled!

All parties have engaged in discovery on a formal and informal basis, though all discovery is not complete.

Plaintiff’s have determined that all claims arising against the defendants under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act…(“RICO”)  should be dismissed without prejudice as to all defendants.

The Motion to Dismiss certain claims and defendants makes it clear that the plaintiff’s retain all but the RICO claims.

Thanks for the heads up, Proximo!  Any guesses about the story behind the story?

How about an appetizer of Rigsby Qui Tam and Katrina RICO news?

RICO first – before it’s too old to call “news”.   After an October status conference, the case was stayed until the 19th of December.  A status conference with Magistrate Judge Linda Anderson is now set for the 13th of January.

Now, for Rigsby Qui Tam and a new Order from Judge Senter.

That the Relators’ motions [242] [243] [248] [250] to dismiss this action as to Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.; Jade Engineering; Exponent, Inc.; and Structures Group are GRANTED.

SO ORDERED this 5th day of January, 2009.

Just two bites, sorry, but Gagne v State Farm is up next; and, believe me, it’s so filling that it has to be served in courses.

Katrina RICO case stayed until mid-December

This Minute Entry on the docket of Shows v State Farm speaks for itself.

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson: Telephone Conference held on 10/14/2008. Participants: Bryan O. Blevins and H. Scott Spragins. The Court discussed the present status of the case with counsel and informed them that the case would be stayed until 12/19/2008. A telephonic status conference will be scheduled for that date also. (WG) (Entered: 10/14/2008)

State Farm revives "good neighbor" to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey

Defendants, all of them, have no objections to the Court extending all deadlines by 30 days;

Texas geography isn’t my strong suit.  In fact, a day or so ago I spent the better part of an hour reading maps to make certain the Bolivar Peninsula was in Galvaston County – wondering the entire time; and, wonder if they’d been in Ike’s path.

After reading this motion, filed by State Farm attorney H. Scot Spraggins of Oxford in Shows v State Farm, the Katrina RICO case, I had an answer.

1)Plaintiffs’ counsel’s primary office is located in Beaumont, Texas;

2) Beaumont and the surrounding areas has recently been affected by Hurricane Ike, leaving Plaintiffs’ counsel’s law office damaged and without power;

3) The homes of many attorneys and staff members were also damaged;

4) Currently, Plaintiffs’ counsel do not know when power will be restored at their office, or when repairs to the office and homes will be completed; Continue reading “State Farm revives "good neighbor" to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey”

State Farm revives “good neighbor” to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey

Defendants, all of them, have no objections to the Court extending all deadlines by 30 days;

Texas geography isn’t my strong suit.  In fact, a day or so ago I spent the better part of an hour reading maps to make certain the Bolivar Peninsula was in Galvaston County – wondering the entire time; and, wonder if they’d been in Ike’s path.

After reading this motion, filed by State Farm attorney H. Scot Spraggins of Oxford in Shows v State Farm, the Katrina RICO case, I had an answer.

1)Plaintiffs’ counsel’s primary office is located in Beaumont, Texas;

2) Beaumont and the surrounding areas has recently been affected by Hurricane Ike, leaving Plaintiffs’ counsel’s law office damaged and without power;

3) The homes of many attorneys and staff members were also damaged;

4) Currently, Plaintiffs’ counsel do not know when power will be restored at their office, or when repairs to the office and homes will be completed; Continue reading “State Farm revives “good neighbor” to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey”

Catch-all update on Shows, McIntosh, and the Rigsby qui tam claim

Along with the truckload of State Farm motions in the qui tam cases that I’ve yet to post and the orders in McIntosh that I’ve just posted, there are a handful best tossed in a single catch-all post.

In Shows v State Farm, Magistrate Judge Linda Alexander issued an Order granting the pending Motions to Sever, incorporating the language requested in Renfroe’s related unopposed motion, and authorized the transfer of these cases to Judges Walker and Senter.

The motions are unopposed by any party, subject to the understanding that E. A. Renfroe & Company, Inc., Gene Renfroe, or Jana Renfroe, shall not be named as defendants in the amended complaints filed by the Summers and Simpson, and that the amended complaints do not include a RICO conspiracy or civil conspiracy claim relating to their Hurricane Katrina insurance claims. The Court finds that the motions are well advised and should be granted.

Is the ease with which it appears these plaintiffs dropped claims against Refroe an indication of anything other than the nature of the claims? Something to think about – particularly if you’re one of the Renfroes.

The leading candidate for snark-of-the-week thus far is State Farm’s Response to the Rigsby’s motion requesting an extension of time to prepare a response to various State Farm motions.

…no discovery is necessary “in order [for the Rigsbys] to prepare responses, rebuttals, or supporting memoranda,” to the pending dispositive motions. Continue reading “Catch-all update on Shows, McIntosh, and the Rigsby qui tam claim”

Renfroe files another unusual motion – this one in Shows

Maybe this motion isn’t as unusual as it seems; but, it has an air of the chicken-salad set about it that seems out of place to me. For all you lawyers unfamiliar with the term, the chicken-salad set are those who whisper things like, I think Mary brought store-bought brownies to bridge club last week.

I suppose that translates to a presumption of privilege when applied to this Response to “Unopposed” Motion to Sever filed today in Shows v State Farm et al, the Katrina RICO case, clarifying Renfroe’s position.

During the case management conference, counsel for Renfroe stated that it did not object to the proposed severance and would not oppose plaintiffs’ motions to sever.

Renfroe wants to make clear that its position is based on its understanding that the severed plaintiffs, Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson, do not intend to name Renfroe, Gene Renfroe, or Jana Renfroe as parties to their claims or to file a RICO or civil conspiracy claim.

Renfroe based its position on the fact that neither it nor its principals would be parties to the new, severed cases and that, because Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson would solely be pursuing “wind versus water” claims against State Farm pursuant to their respective State Farm insurance policies, such suits would differ materially from the RICO and other conspiracy claims asserted by the remaining plaintiffs in this action. There would, therefore, be a substantial distinction between the severing and non-severing plaintiffs’ claims that justified severing the actions… Continue reading “Renfroe files another unusual motion – this one in Shows”