Evideniary disclosure is Michael Oher of Rigsby qui tam

Evidentiary disclosure is Michael Oher protecting the Rigsby qui tam.

Nonetheless,  State Farm, Forensics, and Haag each recently took a shot – a strategic play intended to force Judge Senter to reveal his game plan.

On its face, Judge Senter’s focus on the McIntosh claim seems too narrow.  In the context of evidentiary disclosure in qui tam litigation, however, it takes on a different look  – one that makes evidence such as the McIntosh claim secondary to the scheme of the fraud.  A Fifth Circuit decision explains:

We hold that to plead with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud for a False Claims Act § 3729(a)(1) claim, a relator’s complaint, if it cannot allege the details of an actually submitted false claim, may nevertheless survive by alleging particular details of a scheme to submit false claims paired with reliable indicia that lead to a strong inference that claims were actually submitted.

The “reliable indicia” include those contained in the Complaint as well as the those in the Disclosure Statement. Continue reading “Evideniary disclosure is Michael Oher of Rigsby qui tam”

SLABBED Daily – August 14 (Rigsby qui tam legal file updated

SLABBED can just flat out slab every spare moment and Sop and I both keep a “to do” list.  At the top of mine is cleaning up the legal files to make room for more cases.

I’ve been working on and off all day and am almost done with documents related to the May pre-trial hearing in the Rigsby qui tam.

Just won’t happen today but there’s a lot more in the file now than there was this morning.

There is also a search box in the upper right corner of this page.

If you’re looking for information on ex rel Rigsby v State Farm, and can’t find what you need, use the contact form below to send me an email or shoot one to Sop.  His addy is in the popular upper right corner.

Enjoy the weekend!

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Read ’em while they’re hot – briefs filed by State Farm, Haag, Forensic, and Rigsbys post-hearing in the Rigsby qui tam

keep in mind the purpose of this hearing. We’re dealing here with summary motions, we’re dealing here with is there a genuine issue of material fact that will justify this case going forward to a full-blown trial. Would y’all like to brief that for me in writing rather than come back this afternoon and argue?  What about it, Plaintiff?

Who wouldn’t rather write a brief than “come back this afternoon” on a Friday? No wonder Judge Senter is so well-liked.  The post-hearing briefs were filed directly with Judge Senter, as ordered, and did not appear on PACER until today – the result of a State Farm motion SLABBED reported in up their sleeve or in their briefs – State Farm comes up with another Eddie Haskell motion in Rigsby qui tam

Regardless of the ultimate outcome of this Action at the trial court level, there likely will be an appeal by one or more Parties and “[u]nder this Circuit’s general rule, arguments not raised before the district court are waived and will not be considered on appeal unless the party can demonstrate ‘extraordinary circumstances.’”

Had State Farm said no more in Defendants’ Joint Motion to Require All Parties to File their Previously Submitted Respective Post-Hearing Briefs in the Record, there might have been a different title; but, this paragraph followed:

Further, as a general proposition, the Fifth Circuit “is barred from considering filings outside the record on appeal….” Accordingly, it is especially important to all Parties’ respective ability to prosecute a potential appeal to have all post-hearing summary judgment briefs in the record.

And, then, there was this gotcha: Continue reading “Read ’em while they’re hot – briefs filed by State Farm, Haag, Forensic, and Rigsbys post-hearing in the Rigsby qui tam”

Rigsby qui tam – what’s hot, what’s not, what’s up?

Judge Senter’s Opinion covered a lot of ground and left only one issue outstanding:

The next four State Farm motions seek the exclusion of the Relators’ four expert witnesses: Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. [294]; Keith G. Blackwell, Ph.D. [296]; R. Ralph Sinno, Ph.D. [298]; and David J. Favre [300]. I will address the motions [294] [296] [298] [300] challenging the qualifications of the Relators’ expert witnesses in a separate opinion.

SLABBED has given these four motions little more than passing mention although we’ve covered State Farm’s backdoor approach attacking the credibility of these same witnesses in other cases.

Frankly, State Farm’s use of “demonstrative evidence” at the hearing made their motions “moo” to me (as in “bull$%&t”) and, instead, SLABBED posted State Farm plays video game at Rigsby qui tam hearing after noticing items on State Farm’s evidence list were contrary to an earlier Order that read in part:

Defendant will not be allowed to introduce “demonstrative evidence” under the guise of calling it a “supplement,” especially when it appears that the sole purpose for offering the “supplement” is not to fulfill a duty under the Federal or Local rules, but to avoid the Court’s prior ruling on a similar issue. Furthermore, placing the burden on Plaintiff at this late date to counter this material is unduly prejudicial.

That same thinking should apply to State Farm’s effort to disqualify experts who have testified in countless other cases.  However, in pulling the post to add the link to this one, I noticed something interesting related to what’s hot in Judge Senter’s Order

so I may know the outer limits of the potential claims involved in this
action, I will require State Farm to submit, in camera, a list containing the name of the insured, the address of the property, and the amount of flood insurance paid, for all SFIP claims that meet the following criteria…

We’ll get to the criteria after looking at these maps: Continue reading “Rigsby qui tam – what’s hot, what’s not, what’s up?”

Judge Senter’s decision on Relator’s claim of Retaliatory Discharge raises question – Where’s the evidence?

There is no evidence in this record to indicate State Farm had the authority to terminate the Relators’ employment status. Accordingly, I will grant State Farm’s motion for summary judgment on this portion of the Relators’ claim.

In awarding State Farm summary judgment on this point, Judge Senter put his yardstick for all decisions on the table – evidence and controlling law.

However, his decision on the Relators’ Claim for Retaliatory Discharge from Their Employment begs the question – Where’s the evidence?

In a zoo? Exactly. Isn’t that where seals usually do their tricks? In this case, the zoo is the Federal Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the trick seals do in that zoo is shield evidence – the contract between E.A. Renfroe and State Farm, for example.

Knowing what evidence is needed begs a second question that in turn begs a third – Could the Rigsby sisters overturn this decision? and, in their position, Would you focus on winning every battle or winning the war?

E.A. Renfroe  provides adjusters under contract with the Company to separately contracted insurance companies and other entities.  Not all employee leasing and temporary help agencies are as specialized as Renfroe but all professional employer organizations (PEO) contract with individuals and separately contract with employers.  However, these agencies are “third parties” and the contracting employer retains the authority to hire and fire, set compensation and other terms of employment. Continue reading “Judge Senter’s decision on Relator’s claim of Retaliatory Discharge raises question – Where’s the evidence?”

Another mother’s child and Judge Senter’s order – Rigsby qui tam goes to trial!

Based on the evidence I heard from the stand, particularly Kerri Rigsby’s own testimony, it appears to me there is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that she does indeed possess direct and independent knowledge of the facts she has alleged in support of the allegations in the Amended Complaint. This evidence is also sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact on the merits of the Relators’ substantive allegations.

Sop probably thought I’d want to start this post with, I told you so.  As tempting as that is, I chose to preface Judge Senter’s Memorandum Opinion with a tip of my hat to Pat Labrano, Cori and Kerri’s mother.  Known to the unwashed in the blogosphere as “Ma,”  I had the unexpected opportunity – and pleasure – to meet both Pat and Kerri several months ago when my search for Sushi landed us in the same Ocean Springs restaurant.

Kerri was, as Chip Merlin described her, the type you want to call your friend.  So was her mother and, clearly, the two of them were also friends.  I might add, they were also beautiful and gracious women.

With that truth told, I yield to Judge Senter to tell another – the story of the McIntosh claim, constructed in large part from Kerri’s testimony but clearly verified in other documents available to him.

I  have also included in total the section he titled, Scope of Further Proceedings and, in a separate post, I’ll cover the Summary Judgment awarded State Farm on the Risgby’s claim of retaliation.

Kerri Rigsby is an experienced insurance adjustor who had been working for Renfroe for approximately ten years at the time of Hurricane Katrina. She testified that within a few daysafter the storm, when State Farm was just beginning to adjust the losses under the SFIP policiesand under its homeowners policies, she attended a meeting convened by State Farm. Kerri Rigsby testified that during this meeting the person giving instructions for adjustors and their supervisors to follow told his audience Hurricane Katrina was a “water storm” and the adjustors should go out and “hit the limits” of flood insurance policies. Defendants deny these allegations. Continue reading “Another mother’s child and Judge Senter’s order – Rigsby qui tam goes to trial!”

11th Circuit overturns Scruggs contempt citation!

Renfroe’s suggestion of mootness by virtue of Scruggs’ satisfaction of the June 5, 2008, contempt judgment is unavailing… The satisfaction of a joint and several liability does not moot the appeal of the debtor satisfying the judgment. See United States v. Balint, 201 F.3d 928 (7th Cir. 2000) (citing Corley v. Rosewood Care Center, Inc., 142 F.3d 1041, 1058 (7th Cir. 1998)) (“Payment of the sanction does not moot the appeal because the appellate court can fashion effective relief to the appellant by ordering that the sum paid in satisfaction of the sanction be returned”)…

That interesting piece of information comes from a footnote in the 11th Circuit ruling vacating Judge Acker’s Order.

The Sun Herald has the story and the 11th Circuit’s ruling.  Way to go, Anita Lee!

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a federal judge who cited then-attorney Dickie Scruggs for contempt of court…Acker held both Scruggs and the adjusters, sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby, in contempt of court when the records were not returned to the Rigsbys employer, independent adjusting firm E.A. Renfroe. Acker levied a $65,000 fine to compensate Renfroe’s attorney’s fees in pursuing the records.

Scruggs paid the fine into a holding account and appealed Acker’s decision.

Renfroe, which supplied adjusters to State Farm after Katrina, had sued the Rigsbys in the company’s home state of Alabama for breach of contract. The appellate court held that Scruggs was not a party to the Renfroe vs. Rigsby lawsuit and, therefore, could not be held in contempt. The appellate judges also removed Acker from any further proceedings in the case.

The 11th Circuit ruling has Acker eating his own words:

…Based upon our review of the district court’s two contempt orders in this case, we conclude Continue reading “11th Circuit overturns Scruggs contempt citation!”

Borrowed servants? Great idea, could use one who irons and cooks. (a Rigsby qui tam post)

Alabama law recognizes the borrowed servant doctrine as a complete defense to liability…(11th Circuit)

In other words, under Alabama law, Renfroe had no liability to State Farm and the Rigsby sisters could dismiss their claims against against Renfroe without impacting their case against State Farm.

the Alabama Supreme Court recognized that “one [Rigsby] in the general employ of one master [Renfroe] may with respect to particular work be transferred to the service of a third person [State Farm] in such a way that he becomes for the time being the servant of that person, with all the legal consequences of that relationship.” (United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Russo Corp. with names inserted) Continue reading “Borrowed servants? Great idea, could use one who irons and cooks. (a Rigsby qui tam post)”

You just can’t make this stuff up – a Rigsby qui tam update

Judge Walker granted State Farm’s dumb blond motion with an Order that reads like the wrong answer to Who was buried in Grant’s Tomb!

In their response, Plaintiffs argue that the motion should be denied because amendment would be futile. Plaintiffs argue that the April 21, 2009, settlement did not release any claims with respect to State Farm…

Plaintiffs offer little in the way of argument or legal authority explaining why the amendment would be futile other than the conclusory statement that the release did not apply to Plaintiffs claims against State Farm…

In the absence of a compelling explanation for why the amendment would be futile, the Court finds that issue of the scope and application of the April 21, 2009, release should be allowed to proceed.

You can’t make this stuff up; however, Orders like this are the reason a lawyer told me that we dolly-parton v2should forget pro hac vice and issue passports.

You also can’t make up what happened after Judge Walker granted State Farm’s dumb blond motion – but it took some Dolly boobs.

(“State Farm”), submits this Notice of Supplemental Evidentiary and Issue Submission by Means of Attachment to [96] Motion for Summary Judgment on Relators’ Claim for Retaliatory Discharge State Farm would show: Continue reading “You just can’t make this stuff up – a Rigsby qui tam update”

Rigsby Response says State Farm motion futile and frivolous – SLABBED says State Farm is the Dolly Parton of insurance

Counsel for the Rigsby sisters seem to always make their point with fewer words than most attorneys use to introduce their argument – but why waste words when State Farm’s counsel seems to love playing dumb.

The Farm’s dumb blond attempt at a cover for their release of the confidential Renfroe-Rigsby settlement agreement made State Farm the Dolly Parton of insurance IMO – not dumb and not blond either.

However, their futile and frivolous claim about the settlement agreement is not as dumb as their argument that they unknowingly committed any fraud in the McIntosh claim but, if they did, their little bit of fraud was reasonable.

State Farm’s Motion to Amend should be denied because Continue reading “Rigsby Response says State Farm motion futile and frivolous – SLABBED says State Farm is the Dolly Parton of insurance”