this little piggy went to mediation…and this little piggy

This little piggy went to market mediation,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef got taken
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy Presentation2 aCSC went “Wee wee wee” all the way home.

Evidence was produced showing State Farm staged the mediations in advance and actively concealed material evidence from homeowners during the “mediation” process.

Bam Bam’s Bonnet was full of bees and following his buzz about the MID mediation led to a hornet’s nest of information stirred up during State Farm’s  May 1, 2007 deposition of Kerri Rigsby in McIntosh v State Farm.  Attorney Dan Webb, counsel for State Farm, asked the questions:

Q. Do you recall being involved…in putting on mock mediation?
A. We did put on mock mediation, that is correct.
Q. Do you remember you doing anything related to that?
A. Yes.
Q. What part did you play?
A. …Oh, okay. Yes. When we started mediation, they — they asked that — I guess because I had done mediation in Florida, they asked that Cori and I role play mediation for the entire mediation team. Continue reading “this little piggy went to mediation…and this little piggy”

Behind door #2 – Come on down State Farm Bank (the good neighbor, the good customer, and the Rigsby qui tam)

You see, State Farm has a bank. A thrift to be exact. And it likes to offer loans, and other banking products to its insurance customers. But the people that they do this through are not employees of State Farm. They are the various independent agents (as State Farm likes to call them) that run State Farm offices.

Russell introduced State Farm’s Bank so well in  A different State Farm Battle (January 2008) that it seemed appropriate to give it another run.  It should come as no surprise that State Farm’s website has a more formal introduction (another h/t to Steve):

State Farm Bank, F.S.B. received formal approval for a thrift charter from the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) in November 1998 and is generally referred to as “State Farm Bank®”. Its focus is on consumer-oriented financial products, complementing State Farm’s insurance focus on personal lines.

State Farm Bank is a nontraditional financial institution and does not have branch offices. The bulk of direct customer interaction and product assistance is provided by State Farm® agents, augmented by a telephone call center, mail and the Internet. As of December 31, 2005, the Bank held $12 billion in total assets.

Documents filed in Katrina litigation introduce State Farm’s Bank in a different light – suggesting just how nontraditional it may have been following the storm. In fact, the amended RICO complaint added the State Farm Bank as a Defendant:

… State Farm Bank is wholly-owned by State Farm Mutual, and is headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois.  As of March 21, 2003, State Farm Bank had assets totaling in excess of 5,000,000,000 (five billion) U.S. dollars.

State Farm Bank aided and abetted a civil conspiracy by providing substantial assistance in carrying out the civil conspiracy. State Farm Bank aided and abetted a civil conspiracy by committing one or more tortious acts in concert with State Farm, or pursuant to a common design, engaged in same with State Farm.

State Farm Bank knew that State Farm’s conduct in the civil conspiracy was a breach of duty to the Plaintiffs as insured policyholders, and yet the Defendants and each of them gave substantial assistance or encouragement to the scheme. State Farm Bank’s aiding and abetting a civil conspiracy to conduct corrupt property inspections and procure contrived inspection reports was a direct and proximate cause of damages sustained by Plaintiffs.

Interestingly, the Forensic Rebuttal to Relator’s Response to Motion for Clarification of Order Denying Motion for Summary Judgment ignores the obvious connection and steps over those issues to get to the Brian Ford deposition: Continue reading “Behind door #2 – Come on down State Farm Bank (the good neighbor, the good customer, and the Rigsby qui tam)”

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!”

Shake it up baby, come on, come on, come on and work it ALL out – not just Hood and State Farm

With the notable exception of MR-GO, nothing about Hurricane Katrina should be sealed; yet, State Farm has sealed so many Katrina litigation documents, the Company is the hands down winner of the “Duck tape saves the day contest“.

Y’allPolitics.com took a step in the right direction today with this announcement:

Jackson New Media, Inc., publisher of the political interest website YallPolitics.com, has filed to intervene in the 2007 federal court case of State Farm Insurance vs. Attorney General Jim Hood

Jackson New Media attorney Andy Taggart stated, “Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina. This was a watershed piece of litigation that tens of thousands of homeowners and all Mississippi taxpayers have a stake in. All we ask from the Court is to allow the press and the public their First Amendment right to access to relevant court materials and remove the lingering doubts as to what really happened in this matter.”

You know you look so good,
You got me going now.

The public’s First Amendment right to access relevant court materials does not begin and end with State Farm v Hood. Continue reading “Shake it up baby, come on, come on, come on and work it ALL out – not just Hood and State Farm”

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

October 11, 2005 at 10:41 AM

message-10-11-05-1041-am

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

a hush-hush-flush of a deal in high stakes game of Texas hold’em

…and since the mention of “trailer lawyers” put my nose out of joint earlier today, it seems like a good time to post this little jewel of a news story from the National Underwriter – more accurately described as an old jewel reset in recycled spin and titled State Farm quietly settles Katrina claims.

A spokesman for State Farm said today that it has now settled more than 200 hurricane damage lawsuits brought by the Scruggs Katrina Group in Mississippi.

Well, you can bet Katrina’s behind the “settlements” (plural) were quiet – and double your bet there would have been no  dismissal without prejudice of the RICO claims had their not been a “quiet settlement” of all RICO plaintiff’s individual claims.

Spokesman Jeff McCollum said in addition that a case involving 38 plaintiffs in a federal court action accusing the firm of civil racketeering had been dismissed.Terms of the settlements were confidential. Mr. McCollum said only about 250 other cases remain.

Although Provost Umprey made the public statement, IMO, the dealer tossing the burn card in this high stakes game of Texas holdem was Gloria Shows – an opinion that I have no fact to support.

Frankly, I don’t think any supporting facts are needed.  If one carefully reads the  RICO complaint the logical conclusion is the cowboys of PU were partnered with an Annie Oakley of a client in the form of Glenda Shows.

Using a .22 caliber rifle at 90 feet (27 m), Oakley reputedly could split a playing card edge-on and put five or six more holes in it before it touched the ground.

IMO, Ms. Shows is a better shot and a similar tribute to her might read:

[Using] a Plaintiff produced a spiral bound volume of self-compiled evidence…[that]…included an aerial photograph depicting the path of a tornado passing over her home…[consequently]…whether taking a shot face-to-face or from a distance as far as Pascagoula is from Beaumont, Texas or Bloomington, Illinois, she could split State Farm’s defenses edge on and put 462 holes in same with her spiral notebook before a spokeman for the company could hit the ground claiming:

[State Farm]…does not engage in the sort of activity alleged in this litigation. Now-disbarred attorney Dickie Scruggs made unsupported RICO claims to great fanfare in June 2007. Since then, numerous legal, political, media and PR tactics used by Scruggs have been exposed as distortions. The baseless RICO claims have been dismissed and the underlying contract claims are in the process of being settled.

Even with the  hush-hush-flush of “quietly” and terms that were confidential, State Farm was so outgunned that all it could do was take a pot-shot at Dickie Scruggs.  Continue reading “a hush-hush-flush of a deal in high stakes game of Texas hold’em”

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.

Wiping the Lipstick Off the Pig: A Big Slabbed Two Thumbs Up on the MID Market Conduct Exam

No wonder Commissioner Chaney sat on this for so long as the results are damning towards State Farm and the way they handled claims after Katrina. The lipstick in the title was applied by Mr Chaney’s himself via his remarks on the exam as he tapped danced his way around the results. Let’s start with the press release:

Although there were questionable decisions and irregularities by State Farm in handling claims, no scheme or plan to systematically mistreat policyholders was found.

After numerous complaints and accusations by policyholders, State Farm agreed to reopen all slab cases through a MID-monitored program, which resulted in an additional $88 million dollars being paid to policyholders.

Chaney added; “Hurricane Katrina was an extremely trying situation for everyone involved. The real brunt was borne by the people on the coast who lost their homes and businesses. We do not and should not expect insurance companies to pay claims that are not covered by the policy, however, we expect them to promptly pay every penny that policyholders are owed on policies paid in good faith. To this end, I will continue to advocate and require that policies be written in plain, simple understandable language. I am committed to working with insurance companies to provide a good business environment in Mississippi, but I won’t tolerate unfair treatment of policyholders. I’m confident we can use findings of the exam as a constructive tool to help make policyholders’ lives easier the next time disaster strikes.” Continue reading “Wiping the Lipstick Off the Pig: A Big Slabbed Two Thumbs Up on the MID Market Conduct Exam”