Adjusting the adjuster defendants in Katrina qui tam litigation…

While the 5th Circuit reinstated the Branch Consultant’s qui tam claim reasoning Rigsby was no longer the “first to file” after dismissing a defendant named in both suits, I see a clearer distinction in the two cases based on the composition of the group of named defendants in each.

The Rigsby sisters, for example, cite only their employing adjuster, E.A. Renfroe; but, include a group of engineering firms associated in the claims handling process:

Defendant Structures Group, Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc, Haag Engineering Company, Jade Engineering, Exponent Failure Analysis, Forensic Analysis Engineering Corporation are all collectively referred to herein as “Engineering Defendants.”

Earlier this year, Judge Senter granted the Relators’ motions…to dismiss this action as to Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.; Jade Engineering; Exponent, Inc.; and Structures Group – leaving only Haag and Forensic as named “Engineering Defendants” as the case moves forward.

The qui tam claim filed by the Branch Consultants, on the other hand, names no “engineering defendants” but has a named group of “adjuster defendants”:

Defendant Pilot Catastrophe Services, Inc…Defendant Crawford & Company…Defendant NCA Group, Inc…Defendant Simsol Insurance Services, Inc…Defendant Allied Claims, Inc…Together, these are the adjuster defendants.

Colonial Claims Corp., the sixth of the named defendants was cited by the 5th in the footnote listing of Appellees; as was Allied Claims, an adjuster defendant dismissed by Branch in October 2007 [a]fter due diligence investigation and discussions with Allied.

What little I know about the group of Plaintiff adjusters is a patchwork centered with this information from their qui tam claim.

Branch Consultants is an insurance and construction consulting firm that has been retained by numerous insureds to re-examine adjustments done by the WYO insurers’ in-house adjusters or other adjuster agencies employed by them following Hurricane Katrina. The principals and consultants of Branch Consultants include experienced adjuster and construction personnel with many decades of construction and construction-estimating experience.

One source added there are four unidentified adjusters known as the Branch Consultants; another referred to them as former adjusters; and a third indicated they were retired.  A group of Zorro-wannabe plaintiff adjusters might bear more scrutiny if I weren’t so interested in the  capacity of the remaining five “adjuster defendants”. Continue reading “Adjusting the adjuster defendants in Katrina qui tam litigation…”