Judge Starrett on State Farm Fire and State Farm Mutual – a distinction without a difference

Amazing, is it not, that Judge Walker could find no reason to lawfully deny Burger’s motion to file an amended complaint; yet, Judge Ozerden had no problem finding a reason to deny O’Keefe’s:

State Farm Fire maintains that there is a suggestion of bad faith in Plaintiffs’ attempt to add State Farm Mutual, and that allowing Plaintiffs to amend their Complaint to add this Defendant would result in undue delay and would be futile…The Fifth Circuit has interpreted “futility” in the amended pleading context to mean that an amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted…

Clearly Judge Ozerden sees a distinction between State Farm Fire and State Farm Mutual. However, his collegue Judge Starrett has declared it a distinction without a difference:

General Hood made some effort to distinguish State Farm Mutual Automobile Company, a mutual insurance company, from State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, a stock insurance company.  The Court believes this to be a distinction without a difference, since all of the stock in the stock company is in fact owned by the mutual company.

Judge Starrett’s opinion on the relationship between State Farm Mutual and State Farm Fire is found in his Order of recusal, entered in State Farm v  Hood (October 10, 2007).

Hood’s position is understandable with a look at the settlement agreement at issue in the injunction State Farm obtained in Starrett’s court prior to his recusal.

agreement 2

Note the Settlement Agreement is specific to Hood’s case against defendant  State Farm Fire! Continue reading “Judge Starrett on State Farm Fire and State Farm Mutual – a distinction without a difference”

Keeping score #6 – Plaintiffs leading 2-0 on Protective Orders until Walker called Spragins safe on a foul!

Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now

First, the line up. Pitchers are on rotation – O’Keefe, Harris, and Jordan. Webb Sanders was at bat for State Farm in O’Keefe and Scot Spragins the designated hitter for the team in Harris and Jordan. Making the calls were Magistrates Parker, Alexander, and Walker.

Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now

Now for the play-by-play in this game of Protective Orders.

Stepping to the plate for Webb, Paige Bush tipped a Motion for Protective Order in O’Keefe straight to Christopher Van Cleve who caught two significant changes from previously agreed to Orders.

Magistrate Judge Alexander, called the out with this Order for the Ozerden court:

Defendant State Farm requests the Court to enter a Protective Order in this cause… Plaintiffs contend that Defendant State Farm’s proposed Order is overly broad on its face because it seeks to make all documents and information produced by State Farm, or any of its agents or representatives, “confidential.”

For the reasons set forth in the pleadings, the Court finds that Defendant State Farm’s proposed Protective Order is overly broad and shall not be entered. However, the Court finds Defendant has established good cause for entry of an Order. Defendant’s Motion for Protective Order is hereby GRANTED only to the extent that Plaintiffs’ alternative proposed Protective Order shall be entered.

Spragins took a swing at Harris in State Farm’s Motion for Protective Order.

Van Cleve caught that one, too and Magistrate Judge Parker called Continue reading “Keeping score #6 – Plaintiffs leading 2-0 on Protective Orders until Walker called Spragins safe on a foul!”

Keeping score #4 – Who’s calling the game?

After a review of the pleadings and the applicable law, and considering argument of counsel, the Court finds as follows…

Who made the call?

The actual issue now before the Court is whether discovery propounded and responded to in state court is valid and enforceable and whether or not the limitations of 30 contained in the federal court case management order should be interpreted to include the already propounded state court discovery. Had counsel raised the issue, it is probable that the undersigned would have allowed a very limited amount of additional discovery. Because no attorney mentioned the prior discovery, the usual limitation of thirty was included in the case management order. Unaware of the state court discovery when the order was entered, the undersigned had no “intent” either way by entry of the Order…

Who made the call?

Counsel have both submitted pertinent cases…Some of the cases involve discovery propounded but not answered prior to removal. The law is clear that this discovery is no longer answerable, as Rule 26 specifically provides that no party shall serve or seek discovery from any source until after the attorney conference required in Rule 26(f). The law is less clear as to discovery which was both served and answered in state court.

After careful review of the authoritiesContinue reading “Keeping score #4 – Who’s calling the game?”