Did I hear the State of Mississippi has sued State Farm for Katrina related fraud????

I did hear this from both Jeff Amy and Anita Lee.

Paging Nowdy……

Anita Lee updates Ex Rel Rigsby as State Farm is ordered to pay more than $3 Million related to the McIntosh claim

Treble damages are a bitch and then some folks. It’s all on PACER for those so interested but in the interest of time, let’s visit with Anita Lee as she has a good update up for today’s Sun Herald:

Judge: State Farm owes more than $3 million attorney fees, damages in whistle-blower case ~ Anita Lee

Both sides are appealing aspects of Judge Ozerden’s rulings in the case to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Biggert-Waters NFIP Disaster Update: Our politicians thus far unable to reverse the damage from their earlier votes….

So far the two state senatorial delegation of Mary Landrieu, David Vitter, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are striking out on delaying the massive NFIP rate increases coming down the pike. Per this Bruce Alpert piece, Senator Landrieu is now seeking a one year delay in the massive rate hikes coming for those that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. A few days later, Alpert covered a letter the area’s congressional delegation sent to FEMA asking for administrative relief.

The troubled Flood Insurance program is billions of dollars in debt and the Biggert-Waters Act, designed as it was by the Insurance Industry for the sole benefit of the insurance industry guarantees that the billions of dollars in wind claims private insurers such as State Farm dumped on the NFIP after Hurricane Katrina will be repaid by the NFIP ratepayers instead of the large companies that socialized their contractual obligations under their insurance policies that dumped them on the US Treasury. Unfortunately the people of this area were sold out to the insurance industry by our own politicians, who now claim ignorance of the impacts of the bill upon which they voted Aye.

In related news Alpert checked in yesterday with a report on the FEMA pilot program on adjusting flood maps to give credit for locally built, non-accredited levees.  This seems a risky proposition to me due to the fact ongoing maintenance of these systems has been historically neglected plus filling in marshlands for development is bad for the environment. What this area needs is smarter development that does not impact or alter the floodplain, not more levees.

Biggert-Waters disaster update: We have problems in the Senate

Seems like it was just yesterday when South Mississippi’s fluffer congressman Steven Palazzo was patting himself on the back and claiming credit for fixing a disaster he helped create in the Biggert-Waters National Flood Insurance Program, which has dumped on the premium payers, billions of dollars in Wind Obligations private insurers stuck the program in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

So is everything OK now that Palazzo has “delayed” the inevitable?  Heck no because you gotta have the Senate agree and Houston there is a problem! Manuel Torres has the skinny:

Vitter and Landrieu have also warned of the drastic effects of the upcoming flood insurance premium increases, and the two senators have unsuccessfully tried to attach amendments to other Senate bills to stop those rate hikes.

Some senators have objected to efforts to stop implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act, arguing that Congress passed that law, by large margins, to make the National Flood Insurance Program financially sustainable.

So how electing a sold out Ed Rust shoe shine boy working out for everyone in South Mississippi?  On the bright side for those that are in decent financial condition the repo market has never been better down here in Soggy Bottom as ordinary folks are financially crushed and forced out under the weight of corporate greed and their own sold out politicians.

Slabbed presents Ex Rel Rigsby Winners and Losers: A Series

And the first installment will simply list a few names that immediately come to mind as winners or losers in the aftermath of last week’s jury verdict at the Federal Courthouse in Gulfport finding State Farm guilty of extreme corporate douchebaggery. (H/T Lord and Lady Douchbag)

The Winners:

  1. Cori and Kerri Rigsby
  2. The McIntosh Family
  3. Augie Mattheis
  4. Heidelberg Harmon
  5. The United States Taxpayers

The Losers:

  1. Ed Rust Jr. at State Farm
  2. Mississippi Insurance Commish Mike Chaney (Someone get that man a seeing eye dog!)
  3. The Mississippi State Senate Insurance Committee
  4. Butler Snow
  5. Insurance Industry Shills too numerous to mention

Insurance Omnibus: Rigsby, Rossie and RE plus Pols on the take and Mississippians sold out by Team Phildo

Image courtesy of Mr Liberty Mutual

A bit over a week ago a print journalist familiar with Slabbed’s coverage of the post Katrina insurance wars sent me this link to a National Underwriter top 10 insurance living legends piece that featured Dickie Scruggs (one notch above true living legend Karen Clark) at the 7 spot.  We used to feature the NU a good bit on Slabbed but that ended after they ignored the insurance industry getting its ass kicked in Corban v USAA where Nationwide Insurance’s lawyers made particular asses of themselves asserting wind coverage was properly denied if, after the wind 99% destroys the covered property, storm surge destroys the other 1%.  The industry contends in such a scenario taxpayer provided coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program was the proper source of coverage and that is exactly the way they adjusted their claims here after Katrina tendering flood insurance policies pretty much sight unseen and denying any wind coverage that would come from their coffers.

For those of you folks still wondering why the country is broke after figuring out it is not the union pipe fitter that goes to work everyday for 6AM at the shipyard, or school teacher unions or Mexican ditch diggers, I’d submit if you multiply the above scenario 1000 times and you’d find the answer as most of the politicians that matter on any level are owned by some special interest.  To illustrate the point allow me to update several insurance business world stories Slabbed covered in years gone by and start with that NU story I linked above.

A few weeks ago word filtered out the Rigsby sisters false claims act complaint against State Farm would be moving to trial on the exemplar claim known around the blogs as McIntosh v State Farm.  State Farm is PR savvy and when that case heats up, invariably David Rossmiller, a partner at the Portland Oregon insurance defense firm of Dunn Carney pops up like a fly on shit regaling us with his knowledge of the minutiae of insurance contract law.  Since Rossie, as he is known on Slabbed, surfaced blogging on Hurricane wind water cases of the type he has never tried in Oregon, it naturally aroused suspicions locally that he was an adjunct of State Farm PR, a view now widely shared in the local print media in South Mississippi.  Back in the day Rossie was a darling in local insurance defense circles and on the Hard Line GOP political resource YallPolitics in the blogosphere, which still features the insurance litigation here on the coast in a section termed Scruggs scandal and it is indeed a popular insurance industry meme that the wind damage down here was all a figment of Dick Scruggs imagination thus the lumping.  Scapegoating trial lawyers in still popular in GOP circles folks but that stands to reason since the GOP is the party of big business special interests but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So how does a lawyer that has never tried a wind water Hurricane case emerge as a media expert in trade journals and business publications like the Wall Street Journal? Continue reading “Insurance Omnibus: Rigsby, Rossie and RE plus Pols on the take and Mississippians sold out by Team Phildo”

BREAKING NEWS – new Katrina qui tam unsealed: ex rel Denenea v Allstate

With the MSM starting to call and ask about this case, it’s time for this breaking news to break!    Louisiana Federal District Judge Carl Barbier has unsealed ex rel Denenea v Allstate!  The Complaint , filed in May 2007 and amended in November 2009, indicates this litigation will get the truth out about Allstate’s handling of policyholder claims following Hurricane Katrina:

Relator is John H. Denenea, Jr. (“Denenea”), an individual domiciled in the Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana and a United States citizen who brings this civil action for violations of 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1) and (2) for himself as relator and for the United States Government (the “Government”) as plaintiff pursuant to 31 U.S.c. § 3730(b)(1)…As an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana who represented the Weisses, Majoue, Shearman, Whelan, Richardson, Smith, and Johnson in connection with their homeowners insurance claims against Allstate, Denenea acquired and has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations set forth herein are based, and he voluntarily provided that information to the Government before filing this action…

Denenea, who, “on behalf of himself and the Government, respectfully demands a trial by jury of all issues so triable” is known to SLABBED readers as the attorney who embedded hyperlinks to video depositions in the briefs he filed with the federal court, Southern District Mississippi. Rick Trahant, Jack Morris and Brian Sherman are representing Denenea:

Made defendant is Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”), an insurance company authorized to engage in the insurance business under the laws of all fifty States with its principal place of business in Northbrook, Illinois…

Allstate and the Government are parties to a “Financial Assistance/Subsidy Arrangement,” 44 CFR, Part 62, Appendix A (the “FASA”), entered into under the National Flood Insurance Program, 44 CFR § 59.1 et seq. (“NFIP”), pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Federal Insurance Administration (“PIA”) by authority of the National Flood Insurance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4001 et seq. (the “Act”).

The FASA requires Allstate to “investigate, adjust, settle and defend all claims or losses arising from policies issued under this Arrangement. Payment of flood insurance claims by the Company shall be binding upon the FIA.” 44 CFR, Part 62, Appendix A, Art. lI(F).

In adjusting and settling the claims of the Weisses, Majoue, Shearman, Whelan, and Richardson under their respective homeowners policies and Standard Flood Insurance Policies for combined wind and flood damage to their respective insured properties, Allstate, unbeknownst to the insureds, knowingly and systematically fabricated and falsified documents including but not limited to proof of loss forms, flood narrative forms, WYO flood processing request forms, NFIP preliminary report forms, property loss worksheets, and/or other documents, forms, and/or information which substantially inflated the amounts of these insureds’ flood insurance claims at the expense of the Government, while at the same time enriching Allstate by substantially deflating the amounts of these insureds’ homeowners insurance claims. Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS – new Katrina qui tam unsealed: ex rel Denenea v Allstate”

Grab the popcorn – Video depositions of State Farm adjusters hyperlinked in plaintiffs' Response

Enter stage left: Rachel Savoy – seasoned adjuster of the policyholder’s claims under both their Flood and State Farm policies (Taranto v State Farm)


Q: …Can you give me a description of what, in you experience and knowledge of adjusting claims, what does concurrent causation mean to you in handling a claim?
A:  Any loss that occurs with the covered loss and a non-covered loss whether it be before or after or during is not covered. [Exhibit C; Savoy depo at pp. 32-33; http://bit.ly/bAjCJ1].

Savoy further explains the application of the concurrent cause part of the policy,

Q. OK and when you say that something is not covered if the cause of the loss is combined to create a loss in any sequence of events; is that correct?
A. That’s my understanding.
Q. Ok. And is that a method with which you have applied the concurrent causation exclusion over your experience over the eleven, twelve years?
A. Yes.  [Exhibit C; Savoy Depo at p. 33; http://bit.ly/aOCPI8].

Compliments of Anita Lee’s blog in the Sun Herald, we have An entertaining legal brief? You bet.  The briefs – Plaintiffs’ Response Brief in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment (Toranto et al v State Farm) and Plaintiffs’ Response Brief in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment (Flores et al v State Farm) are as solidly grounded in law as they are innovative in format. Plaintiffs in both cases are represented by Mississippi attorney Darryl Gibbs with Louisiana’s John Denena Pro Hac Vice. Continue reading “Grab the popcorn – Video depositions of State Farm adjusters hyperlinked in plaintiffs' Response”

A Corporate Predator

The Rigsbys’ qui tam claims are now set for trial. State Farm’s favorite strong arm tactic – a slap suit aimed back at the relators as a counterclaim – has been mooted by severance, with all discovery stayed. In a word, the Rigsbys’ qui tam case is now early stage radioactive. For those of you who care to study the pathology of corporate monopolies, now is the time to tune in, lock your dial and follow State Farm’s every move.

You’ll likely see State Farm agents turn up in hometown newspaper photos, handing a giant copy of State Farm’s check to the fire chief, buying the police department some pricey crime fighting device, or donating education funds to the local school board. As trial approaches, the number and frequency of “Good Neighbor” TV ads in the broadcast markets of the jury venire will double. Typically, these ads falsely portray State Farm as a deeply caring protector of America’s families. You’ll see lots of minority face time, puppy dogs, tearful then happy children and so on. Not much different than the “family values” theme some of our best pimp politicians like to market. That’s what you will see; what’s more important is what you won’t see.

You won’t see the “Shred-it” trucks pulling up to State Farm’s and Renfroe’s lawyers’ offices. (They needn’t go to State Farm’s regional or headquarter offices, they have their own shredders and corporate employee operators. In fact, State Farm shredded copies of altered engineering reports and corresponding invoices right there in their temporary Katrina claims office off Pops Ferry Road). Also, you won’t see State Farm’s creepy data managers systematically scrubbing data off the head office’s mainframes and hundreds of work stations. You won’t see this same thing happening behind the walls of State Farm’s and Renfroe’s lawyer’s offices either, or even within the offices of the federal court in Birmingham. You won’t see crooked law clerks scurrying to isolate and delete phone logs or emails proving hundreds of unauthorized ex parte contacts with State Farm’s and Renfroe’s case lawyers. You won’t see the destruction of records detailing communications with FEMA’s David Maurstad or James Shortly, or with FEMA’s shadow manager, Computer Science Corporation (“CSC”), all to get the proof of loss requirements under the flood program waived, and in place within 48 hours of Katrina. Continue reading “A Corporate Predator”