BREAKING NEWS – Judge Senter denies Haag Engineering’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Rigsby qui tam

With just one day remaining before the December 1st Status Conference, Judge Senter continues to clear motions on the docket of ex rel Rigsby v State Farm.  Today he made short work of one – granting the Government’s Motion to Dismiss Forensic (FAEC) Without Prejudice – and moved on to a bigger piece of work, denying Haag Engineering Company’s Motion for Summary Judgment:

For the reasons set out below, this motion will be denied.

Relators have alleged that Haag participated, along with State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (State Farm), in a conspiracy to submit false claims for reimbursement of flood insurance payments made after Hurricane Katrina. The Realtors contend that this conspiracy was intended to maximize flood insurance payments and thereby reduce payments made to settle wind insurance claims.

There is no direct evidence that such a conspiracy existed. Relators rely upon the statements in a report Haag prepared for State Farm and the use to which State Farm put that report.  Relators contend that this report contains factual errors concerning the timing and effect of the storm winds and storm surge flooding and that these errors gave State Farm a plausible basis for giving its adjustors instructions that resulted in overpaying a substantial number of flood claims. Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS – Judge Senter denies Haag Engineering’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Rigsby qui tam”

Breaking News! Judge Senter’s issues two Orders in Rigsby qui tam – makes it clear he’s the boss, will hold December 1 Status Conference and reschedule trial

Well, State Farm’s proposed juror questionnaire obviously didn’t tickle Judge Senter’s funnybone like it did mine, nor did he find it as valuable as Sock.  However, there’s no guessing what he thought as he issued an Opinion – Order denying State Farm’s motion today and made his thinking exceedingly clear:

In the past I have used a juror questionnaire consisting of a single yes or no question: “Do you or any member of your family have a pending lawsuit for Hurricane Katrina damages, or have you had such a lawsuit in the past?” This questionnaire has worked well in the past as a means of screening jurors who would be subject to dismissal for cause without creating any of the problems outlined above. I will follow this same procedure in this case.

He actually said a bit more about his objections but I need to move quickly to the other order Judge Senter issued today because I, first, have to apologize for leaving a related October 5, 2010 Orderr lingering in my bulging “drafts file”.

I will decline at this time to vacate my order of dismissal until I reach the merits of the USA’s objection to this settlement…negotiated between Relators and Forensic Analysis and Engineering, Inc. (Forensic)…the United States of America shall have a period of twenty days within which to make known any objection it may have to the terms of the settlement at issue by the filing of appropriate pleadings; and Since the United States of America is not a party to this action, I will allow the Relators and the other parties a period of ten days from the date the United States files its pleadings to respond through pleadings addressing the issues raised by the United States. (emphasis added)

The USA was johnny felicia-on-the-spot and a few days early filing the government’s Notice of Rejection of Settlement…and Motion to Dismiss…[Forensic]Without Prejudice – but I suppose an assistant US Attorney pays more attention when reportedly under consideration for the top spot.  Nonetheless, the government has a history of untimely filing in the Rigsby qui tam case that includes a nunc pro tunc January 11, 2007 Application for a Second Six-Month Extension of Time to Consider Election to Intervene.

Judge Senter may or may not have been surprised by the timing of the government’s filing but hisOrder Continuing Trial and Setting Status Conference clearly indicates he was perplexed by the government’s position. Continue reading “Breaking News! Judge Senter’s issues two Orders in Rigsby qui tam – makes it clear he’s the boss, will hold December 1 Status Conference and reschedule trial”

Breaking News – Government asks Court to reconsider dismissal of Forensics from Rigsby qui tam

“The United States respectfully requests that this Court reconsider its order of July 29, 2010 granting the motion to dismiss filed by defendant Forensic Analysis and Engineering Corp. (FAEC). The United States requests that this Court vacate that order and deny FAEC’s motion to dismiss, without prejudice, because the Government has not approved FAEC’s proposed settlement and cannot do so in its current form.”

Read theUnited States’ Motion for Reconsideration of Order Dismissing Defendant Forensic Analysis and Engineering Corp and supporting Memorandum.

Back later with comment.

State Farm "dickin" around in Kentucky while Forensic releases settlement agreement with the Rigsbys – A Rigsby qui tam update

“It is my conclusion that the envelope of the structure was ruptured by wind and wind-driven debristhat allowed the winds and debris to enter the home and cause interior damage.” October 10, 2007 Deposition of Brian Ford in McIntosh v State Farm(13-16, page 80)

Brian Ford’s engineering report on damage to the McIntosh property is central to the merits of the Rigsbys’ qui tam case.  When the deposition of former Forensic’s engineer Brian Ford continued on January 11, 2008, State Farm launched an all-out attack on Mr. Ford’s credibility that continues to this day.

During that deposition, Ford was asked if the Scruggs Katrina Group (SKG) had paid him for any services.  Ford’s testimony on lines 6 – 22 of deposition page 337 follows:

Q Do you have an understanding, either expressed or implied, that Mr. Wyatt, Mr. Scruggs, David Nutt, Meg McAlister, or anybody from the SKG or Katrina litigation group is going to pay you something for your services today?
A No.
Q Have they paid you anything to-date?
A No.
Q Have you asked for payment?
A No. We discussed a consulting service agreement many months ago and we never reached an agreement. We never consummated an agreement. And I haven’t provided a service and they haven’t paid for it.
Q You have provided no services?
A I haven’t provided them consulting services, no.

State Farm’s attempt to make fantasy into reality had reached such a fevered pitch by January 2008 that Ford refuted the Company’s allegations and innuendo in an Affidavit that should have put an end to State Farm’s game.

Fast forward to July 2010 and, despite already having all the answers, State Farm is “dickin” around and playing its Brian Ford fantasy game in the Eastern District Kentucky Federal Court: Continue reading “State Farm "dickin" around in Kentucky while Forensic releases settlement agreement with the Rigsbys – A Rigsby qui tam update”