What a petty, little man. It is pitiful what we have as our representative.
He voted against the fiscal cliff bill. And what did that vote mean? It meant to raise taxes on 100 percent of Americans, every one of them!!! And he ran on job creation for a second time, and no taxes. He sided with a radical wing for political reasons, and said the 98 percent of the working middle class can go straight to hell.
This child is too immature to hold such an office. He has no idea what he is doing, he is just taking his marching orders from a political/lobbyist group, but NOT from the people in his district.
Palazzo votes no on $9.7 billion Sandy relief measure ~ Anita Lee
How ironic since his family has been fleecing the local taxpayers for decades that this fool we have for a Congressman would deprive people that paid their flood insurance premiums their insurance settlements. To the extent dear ol’ papa Palazzo is one of Bill Walker’s friends and family Palazzo’s vote is particularly disgusting.
Man ‘o man how the people of south Mississippi shot themselves in the foot electing this clown back in November 2010.
“Two roads diverged…and…I could not travel both…and be one traveler…long I stood…and…looked down one as far as I could”
When Sop and I reached the fork in the road and one lead to slabbed.org, circumstances required that I follow “the road not taken”. I hope it’s not a one-way street but it will be some time before I know. Please follow Sop to slabbed.org and know that I’m with you in spirit and, in the future, may see you there.
With love to the SLABBED nation, hope for the success of slabbed.org – and unending support for the two women who stood up for those slabbed by Katrina when it counted and made a difference, Cori and Kerri Rigsby
“It has come to my attention that my Memorandum Opinion Concerning State Farm Fire and Casualty Company’s Motion To Dismiss For Relators’ Violation Of Seal Order, Docket Number 871, contains a factual error stated at the top of page 11 and repeated near the bottom of page 13. The opinion states that the Relators have previously been represented by the Scruggs Katrina Group, and this is not the case. Relators were previously represented by The Scruggs Law Firm, LLC, and not by the Scruggs Katrina Group. By this order, I am amending this Memorandum Opinion to correct this error.”
The Order makes no mention of how this matter came to his attention. My guess is from his exceedingly careful reading of documents he’s reviewing before deciding matters currently before the Court. Not that he wouldn’t otherwise, but Don Barrett’s recently filed Motion for Fees pointing out “defense lawyers have been banking their money for years” from Katrina litigation and piling on more work for an already overworked court staff in the process.
In that regard, I suspect – actually I hope – Judge Senter will do as he’s done in the past and allow a document to be filed once and referenced in all briefs thereafter. My experience reading briefs in ex rel Rigsby is like reading the first chapter of a newly purchased Agatha Christi and realizing you paid for a new cover and title to a book you’d already read!
My hope and Agatha aside, Judge Senter’s Order clearly documents his intent to ensure everything about ex rel Rigsby v State Farm accurately reflects the facts of the case. The text revised as a result of his correction is below the jump. Continue reading “just absolutely a class act – Judge Senter corrects the record (a Rigsby qui tam update)”
Judge Senter’s Order denying State Farm’s Motion to Dismiss the Rigsby qui tam case was Breaking News on the 24th of January. In a different sense, it was also breaking news at State Farm – news that broke the Company’s front line defense.
Shortly thereafter State Farm filed a Motion asking the Court to allow the Company to throw the allegations at a different wall – a motion to certify the seal to the Fifth Circus claiming the Court’s “denial of State Farm’s motion to dismiss due to the Rigsbys’ violations of the seal order presents a controlling question of law, that an immediate appeal would materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, and that there are substantial grounds for a difference of opinion as to this question”.
The Rigsbys recently filed a Response. However, before taking a look at the State Farm Memorandum and Rigsby Response in Opposition, a little stroll down memory lane is in order. In his Opinion Memorandum, Judge Senter recognized the significance of the partial lifting of the seal that took place on “January 1, 2007, to allow the Relators to make certain disclosures in judicial proceedings in related but independent litigation in Alabama”:
The order partially lifting the seal does not specify that the judicial disclosures themselves be made under seal, and this order could therefore be reasonably interpreted to authorize these judicial disclosures in pleadings and other documents distributed to the litigants and their attorneys in the Alabama litigation. This type of disclosure would effectively make the original seal of the qui tam case moot. In these circumstances, I consider the relevant period of the seal to be from April 26, 2006, (the filing of the original FCA complaint) through January1, 2007 (the partial lifting of the seal)…and the stay was fully lifted on August 1, 2007.
Judge Senter obviously didn’t think it necessary to provide supporting evidence or he would have mentioned a particularly significant event that took place between the date the seal was partially lifted and the date it was fully lifted some eight months later – the May 30, 2007, Motion to Compel that State Farm filed in McIntosh v State Farm: Continue reading “In an amazing act of hubris, State Farm asks Judge Senter to certify seal to the Fifth Circus (a Rigsby qui tam update)”
In late January, SLABBED reported Double Vision – Rigsbys and State Farm each file Notices citing Branch as “Intervening Authority”. Not content to let the two positions stand, a week later State Farm filed a Motion for Leave to Submit Supplemental Memorandum on three motions – the Rigsbys’ Motion for Reconsideration of Scope of Proceedings, State Farm’s Motion for Summary Judgment, and State Farm’s Motion for Summary Judgment on the Claims of Cori Rigsby.
In light of the significance of the Branch Opinion – a significance acknowledged by both sides to this litigation – State Farm believes it would assist the Court to have a response from State Farm to the matters briefed by the Rigsbys in their Notice.
Judge Senter quickly followed with a text-only Order granting State Farm’s Motion and setting the date for the Rigsbys’ Response. Time will tell if State Farm’s motion “assisted the court” but it definitely assisted the Rigsbys. Continue reading “Tangling over Branch – a Rigsby qui tam update”
So much for my thinking the next item listed on the Rigsby qui tam docket would be one of the two remaining motions argued at the recent Status Hearing. State Farm filed its first Notice of Intervening Authority before the ink was dry on Judge Vance’s order dismissing the Branch qui tam case; and, when Judge Vance filed an Amended Judgment, State Farm filed a second Notice. (Notices in scribd format follow)
The Rigsbys legal team obviously differed with State Farm’s take on case and Friday they, too, filed a Notice of Intervening Authority citing the Branch decision (Notice in scribd format follows):
[T]he Rigsbys believe that the latest Branch decision again supports their motion to reconsider the scope of the current litigation. The Branch court’s ruling recognized that “a relator need not be an original source of the actual false claims made by the defendants to the government,” as long as the relator is “an original source of a certain core of information, such as the basic modus operandi of the fraud.” Thus, this most recent opinion reinforces the Branch court’s prior ruling, which held that original-source knowledge would have “entitle[d] [the Branch relator] to discovery on all the alleged instances of fraud in the loss-shifting scheme, even those outside the examples in the First Amended Complaint.”
State Farm incorrectly contends that the Branch decision suggests that the “threshold issue in this litigation” is the McIntosh claim rather than State Farm’s scheme to defraud the government. Continue reading “Double Vision – Rigsbys and State Farm each file Notices citing Branch as “Intervening Authority””
It is abundantly clear that Richard Scruggs and the SKG used formidable public relations resources, including use of The Rendon Group, in an effort to control the public perception of the issue at the heart of this qui tam action, i.e. whether State Farm deliberately mischaracterized wind damage as flood damage in assessing claims under the insurance policies it was adjusting. As far as the wind damage claims are concerned, these attorneys were acting well within their rights as advocates for their clients who had homeowners policy claims. These attorneys were not free to disclose the existence of this qui tam action, and had their improper disclosures (Items 3,7, and 12 above) led to accounts in the public media indicating that such an action was underway, the government’s ability to investigate the Relators’ allegations might well have been compromised. But that is not the case disclosed in the record before me.
State Farm’s Motion to Dismiss the Rigsbys’ qui tam case (for violations of the seal order) was among those motions argued at the recent Status Conference. Today’s uncharacteristically long Memorandum Opinion on Judge Senter’s denial – the 14 page Scribd document at the end of this post – is the first Judge Senter has issued on those motions. One of the more surprising aspects of his decision is his consideration of the partial lifting of the seal that took place on Order of Judge Walker in January 2007:
The first question I must consider is the effect of the partial lifting of the seal on January 1, 2007. At the time Magistrate Judge Walker entered his order partially lifting the seal, this action had been filed and sealed for some seven months. In partially lifting the seal, the Court authorized the Realtors to make disclosures concerning this action to judicial officers presiding in the Alabama litigation. The order partially lifting the seal does not specify that the judicial disclosures themselves be made under seal, and this order could therefore be reasonably interpreted to authorize these judicial disclosures in pleadings and other documents distributed to the litigants and their attorneys in the Alabama litigation. This type of disclosure would effectively make the original seal of the qui tam case moot. In these circumstances, I consider the relevant period of the seal to be from April 26, 2006, (the filing of the original FCA complaint) through January1, 2007 (the partial lifting of the seal).
State Farm identified a total of 48 incidents the Company claimed as violations of the seal order on the Rigsby qui tam complaint. One item alone (#48) required the Court to review a “106-page compilation of e-mails concerning media contacts”. Judge Senter’s Memorandum Opinion lists all, starting on page 1 and continuing until page 8, concluding with, “State Farm contends that the disclosures reflected in these documents constitute such egregious violations of the FCA’s seal requirement, 31 U.S.C. §3730(b)(2), that dismissal of this action is justified. Judge Senter, obviously, thought not: Continue reading “Breaking News – Judge Senter denies State Farm Motion to Dismiss Rigsby qui tam!”
Rebecca Mowbray reports State Farm will raise rates for mom-and-pop landlords, drop their wind coverage in today’s Times Picayune:
State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., the state’s largest residential insurer, is asking for an average 9.9 percent rate increase for homeowners coverage in Louisiana.
The filing with the Department of Insurance comes just over a month after Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon rejected the company’s request for an average 19.1 percent rate hike. Donelon called that proposal unreasonable and unjustified.
State Farm received an average 8.3 percent increase last year in Louisiana after asking for 13.7 percent.
Although the average rate hike would be 9.9 percent, hurricane-vulnerable coastal areas would bear the brunt. The New Orleans region would see a 17.7 percent increase while rates in the Lake Charles region would go up 22.5 percent, said State Farm spokeswoman Brooke Cluse…
Cluse said the proposed rates are based on future loss projections and not past claims experience. She said that although State Farm believed its earlier rate increase request was justified, the company was trying to work with regulators to “move closer to adequate rates.”
What a game! Just how many coastal policyholder contracts for coverage did State Farm honor following Hurricane Katrina? Very few, according to the evidence of the multi-state scheme provided in the Rigsby qui tam complaint. What a waste of public resources to put an agency through the process of reviewing an inflated request just to make one “closer to adequate” appear a better deal! Continue reading “What a “good neighbor” – State Farm sticks another knife in coastal economy!”
Although I wished to have been a “fly on the wall”, I don’t think I could have held on for four hours – and Anita Lee reports that’s just how long the attorneys argued:
Judge L.T. Senter Jr. is weighing whether to dismiss a whistle-blower lawsuit against State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. or expand its scope beyond one policyholder’s Katrina claim.
Attorneys spent four hours in federal court Wednesday presenting their arguments to Senter, who is presiding over his last major Hurricane Katrina case, Rigsby vs. State Farm.
State Farm attorneys argue the case should be dismissed because sisters and former insurance adjusters Cori and Kerri Rigsby have turned up no evidence of fraud during extensive pre-trial investigation, called discovery. Senter limited the scope of discovery to one policyholder claim, McIntosh, because the Rigsbys have firsthand knowledge of how it was adjusted.
Attorneys for the Rigsbys argue they have discovered a pattern of fraud by State Farm and should be allowed to expand discovery beyond the McIntosh claim. The Rigsbys maintain State Farm minimized its costs for wind-damage claims by overcharging the National Flood Insurance Program for losses caused by storm surge.
It takes two to tango but you can’t dance around the fact that an “exemplar case” alone is not the widespread scheme alleged in the Rigsbys’ complaint. In that regard, Judge Vance’s related decision in the Branch Consultants qui tam case is insightful: Continue reading “Anita Lee reports on the Rigsby qui tam Status Hearing”
Would love to have been a fly on this wall!
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Senior Judge L. T. Senter, Jr: Motion Hearing held on 1/12/2011. Court Hearing adjourned. APPEARANCES: August J. Matteis, Jr., Benjamin R. Davidson, C. Maison Heidelberg, Derek Yoshio Sugimura, Lucien C. Martinez for Plaintiffs; Michael B. Beers, Robert C. Galloway, Amanda B. Barbour, E. Barney Robinson, III, Jeffrey A. Walker, Benjamin McRae Watson, Phillip B. Abernathy, James R. Robie for State Farm; Larry G. Canada for Haag. RE 738 MOTION for Reconsideration of Scope of Proceedings in Light of Evidence Adduced in Discovery filed by Kerri Rigsby, Cori Rigsby, 734 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, 736 MOTION for Summary Judgment on Claims of Cori Rigsby filed by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, 739 MOTION to Dismiss Due to the Rigsbys’ Repeated and Calculated Violations of this Court’s Seal Order filed by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company. (Court Reporter Kati Vogt (228)563-1751)(kbo) (Entered: 01/12/2011)