Never met a murderer or an insurance company he failed to like…..

I wrote something along those lines long ago to describe Judge Helen “Ginger” Berrigan, a lady who has love in her heart for murderers and insurance companies that sometimes has a recusal problem. Overall she is a crappy judge because she evidently fails to understand that the concept of justice extends equally to civil torts and not to only matters involving someone’s liberty or in the case of certain murderers their very lives.

Naturally I chuckled when I saw NMC enrolled pro bono on behalf of murderer Robert Simon, winning him a stay of execution in the process.  As a point of disclosure I revealed here on Slabbed a while back that I am generally against the death penalty citing the execution of the innocent as my biggest reason. But there are exceptions in generally and I cited confessed cold-blooded murderer Isaiah Doyle as one of them.  I’m thinking Robert Simon Jr would be another.  This from the Jackson Clarion Ledger story “Heinous crime still haunts community”:

For many people in this rural farming community, Feb. 2, 1990, will always be remembered as the day Quitman County was rocked with a crime of unspeakable horror – the cold-blooded murder of a well-known farm family. Continue reading “Never met a murderer or an insurance company he failed to like…..”

Jim Hood needs a whistleblower on BP claims: A politician running for re-election update.

The subject of the BP claims process is one that has been well blogged upon in this area though not necessarily here on Slabbed despite the natural fit given our origins as a blog devoted to the insurance claims process.  Our silence here is due to the fact that I think it is too early to make a call on whether the process is fair overall. On one hand certain elder statesmen type former politicians such as former Mississippi Gov William Winter think the process is fair and that Ken Feinberg’s heart is in the right place. OTOH several of my blogging brethren and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood think Feinberg is a sorry piece of crap from Wall Street.  For his part Jim Hood is fanning the anti-Feinberg flames in his most recent call for a whistleblower to step forward so he can nail Feinberg.

He did such a shitty job shielding the whistleblowing Rigsby sisters from State Farm I guess he wants a second crack.

For my part my mind is still open to information on this topic.  One of my sources of information is from the professional claims adjusting community in Debbie at Dimechimes, who can be found on our blogroll. She is tracking some of the litigation involving BP, Worley etc and is back in the game after taking a short break from blogging. Continue reading “Jim Hood needs a whistleblower on BP claims: A politician running for re-election update.”

11th Circuit overturns Scruggs contempt citation!

Renfroe’s suggestion of mootness by virtue of Scruggs’ satisfaction of the June 5, 2008, contempt judgment is unavailing… The satisfaction of a joint and several liability does not moot the appeal of the debtor satisfying the judgment. See United States v. Balint, 201 F.3d 928 (7th Cir. 2000) (citing Corley v. Rosewood Care Center, Inc., 142 F.3d 1041, 1058 (7th Cir. 1998)) (“Payment of the sanction does not moot the appeal because the appellate court can fashion effective relief to the appellant by ordering that the sum paid in satisfaction of the sanction be returned”)…

That interesting piece of information comes from a footnote in the 11th Circuit ruling vacating Judge Acker’s Order.

The Sun Herald has the story and the 11th Circuit’s ruling.  Way to go, Anita Lee!

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a federal judge who cited then-attorney Dickie Scruggs for contempt of court…Acker held both Scruggs and the adjusters, sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby, in contempt of court when the records were not returned to the Rigsbys employer, independent adjusting firm E.A. Renfroe. Acker levied a $65,000 fine to compensate Renfroe’s attorney’s fees in pursuing the records.

Scruggs paid the fine into a holding account and appealed Acker’s decision.

Renfroe, which supplied adjusters to State Farm after Katrina, had sued the Rigsbys in the company’s home state of Alabama for breach of contract. The appellate court held that Scruggs was not a party to the Renfroe vs. Rigsby lawsuit and, therefore, could not be held in contempt. The appellate judges also removed Acker from any further proceedings in the case.

The 11th Circuit ruling has Acker eating his own words:

…Based upon our review of the district court’s two contempt orders in this case, we conclude Continue reading “11th Circuit overturns Scruggs contempt citation!”

Cat scratch fever strikes insurance industry – State Farm has bad case

If you been reading the comments to the post about the Louisiana Legislature chances are you won’t be suprised the story Business Insurance News linked as Cat bond activity levels off. (Large H/T to Editilla at the Ladder)

It seems the cats scratched the subprime market a lot deeper that earlier reports suggested and now the cat bond market is suffering from cat scratch fever.

Activity in the markets for industry loss warranties and catastrophe bonds has lessened in 2008, after several years of rapid growth.

Cat-bond activity, in particular has taken a knock, as competition from a softening reinsurance market and waning interest from investors have taken their toll.

After a record year for industry losses in 2005, there were three record years in terms of catastrophe-bond issuance…

Corporate-bond markets now offer more opportunity and so demand for insurance-linked securities has fallen…Cat-bond issuers—namely insurance and reinsurance companies that seek coverage from capital market investors— are in competition with other issuers of bonds, in particular issuers of corporate debt—where credit spreads have widened…This means that the cost of insurance-linked securities has risen as investors now require higher interest payments than in the past to entice them into buying cat bonds…

A number of cat bonds have been devalued…because the investment-banking counterparties were thought to be exposed to subprime exposures. (emphasis added)

State Farm has been in a different kind of cat fight since Hurricane Katrina and this report suggests its running a pretty high fever – otherwise the delusional views cited in the story are just more of the examples of State Farm spinning allegations as fact. Continue reading “Cat scratch fever strikes insurance industry – State Farm has bad case”

Jim Hood grandstanding or standing on the law in September 2005?

Open mind, now – Hood’s September 2005 lawsuit against State Farm and others is the underlying legal action of discussions here and elsewhere about his recent recent settlement with State Farm.

Common perception seems to be Hood was grandstanding in 2005 and his recent settlement announcement was just his taking another bow.

Evidence suggests otherwise, however, and makes the case that Hood was standing on the law when he filed suit; but, take a look – first at the allegations Hood made in the lawsuit as summarized by the Insurance Information Institute.

Adam Scales, Washington and Lee law professor and U-Conn visiting professorformer chair of the AALS section on insurance (American Association of Law Schools), provided commentary: How Will Homeowners Insurance Litigation After Hurricane Katrina Play Out?The Key Dynamics, the Mississippi Lawsuit, and the Courts’ Likely Views. Continue reading “Jim Hood grandstanding or standing on the law in September 2005?”

Insurance Commissioners v Jim Hood Part Deux. Trumpet Sham Mediation, Forget About Woullard

My fellow slabbers we passed through the looking glass into wonderland yesterday as today’s Anita Lee report in the Sun Herald indicates.

This is manna from heaven for the slabbed as we finally have received a chance to set the record straight and to that extent we are grateful Mike Chaney is willing to insert his foot into his mouth so the story keeps churning. Our readers no doubt remember Mr Chaney’s declaration our wind insurance premiums are at nearly pre Katrina levels in the process confirming our suspicions he secretly visits the lemonade spring.

Nowdy’s excellent post yesterday gave a good account of the events surrounding the current controversy between Attorney General Hood and disgraced former insurance commissioner George Dale and his successor Mike Chaney. The short version of the story is that Dickie Scruggs and his Scruggs Katrina Group tried to work out a global settlement with State Farm for the remainder of the Katrina claims. State Farm wanted Jim Hood, whose office had open criminal and civil cases against them included so they could have a global solution to their legal problems in Mississippi. They hammered out an agreement which became known as Woullard after the case Woullard v State Farm. Jim Hood memorialized the Woullard settlement in his state court case, dropped his criminal investigation while the Farm and Dickie Scruggs presented their agreement to US District Court Judge Lt Senter for his approval. Continue reading “Insurance Commissioners v Jim Hood Part Deux. Trumpet Sham Mediation, Forget About Woullard”

Breaking: Jim Hood Settles with State Farm

I had to laugh when I was alerted by a reader to this story, it was her live blogging from the US Court in Natchez that landed Bellesouth on the cyber map here in Mississippi. It was her insistence that Hood did not do badly on the witness stand under Robie’s questioning and that he still did indeed have litigation ongoing against State Farm that put her on the outs with some folks who thought they knew better. In my world of finance blogging it is far better to be right and on the outs with the know it alls about a stock than wrong and losing your ass. Congratulations Belle.

Also we congratulate Jim Hood who has been viciously attacked by the combination of State Farm, Scruggs haters and the Mississippi GOP. Today’s announcement shows he stood firm and with resolve to do what was right for State Farm policyholders even in the face of the withering political criticism. I hope he enjoys the well deserved credit for the additional $74 million he got for the slabbed.

Here is the breaking story from Anita Lee:

Attorney General Jim Hood and State Farm have settled a lawsuit Hood’s office filed against the company.

Hood said State Farm has paid policyholder an additional $74 million for Hurricane Katrina claims, Continue reading “Breaking: Jim Hood Settles with State Farm”

While Senter’s Qui Tam Burns, Acker, Renfroe & State Farm Churn

We have a new Renfroe v Rigsby page that we are still updating with docs as they have come out from under seal. Belle & Nowdy have literally spent hours pouring through them helping make me look good to our readers. The ladies are simply heaven sent gifts to the slabbed.

This post will be long out of necessity. As Nowdy posted yesterday even his worship, Judge Acker pointed out Renfroe V Rigsby and Ex Rel Rigsby were joined at the hip. To get our readers up to speed we start by linking a New York Times News story from January 2007 on the proposed settlement between SKG and State Farm that Judge Senter ultimately rejected:

To close the deal, State Farm wants the approval of Mississippi’s attorney general, Jim Hood, and the state’s insurance regulator, George Dale, lawyers close to the talks said. As a condition of the deal, these lawyers said, Mr. Hood would be required to drop a criminal investigation into State Farm’s handling of claims as well as a civil lawsuit against State Farm and other insurers. Continue reading “While Senter’s Qui Tam Burns, Acker, Renfroe & State Farm Churn”

Grab your hiking boots – time to wander from Perdigao v Adams & Reese to USA v Scruggs

If you find yourself lost as we wander from NOLA way up to the land of Faulker, worry not – this is not about changing the facts to fit the picture, it’s more of a sight-seeing trip to see if the facts fit the frame.

Among the comments made to the Perdiago update Sop posted today, were several about Perdiago’s allegations about Allstate and Robert Wooley, the former Louisiana insurance Commission who joined Adams & Reese. Take note of section 73 and these two sentences:

Notably absent from Wooley’s list ofpotential clients in his business plan was a “big fish” that was not already a client of the firm. The firm already represented State Farm, the largest homeowners’ insurer in the state. Continue reading “Grab your hiking boots – time to wander from Perdigao v Adams & Reese to USA v Scruggs”

There was more going on before Judge Acker threw his temper tantrum

NMC over at folo unearthed some very interesting filings in US. v Scruggs. The three “so-called” special federal prosecutors appointed by “so-called” Judge Acker to prosecute Scruggs for criminal contempt were confused about the timing for appeal of Judge Vinson’s order. Criminal appeals have to be within 30 days, other appeals have 60 days to file.

. . . a little over two weeks after thirty days, the special prosecutors filed a motion for more time to file a notice of appeal, saying they had inadvertently misunderstood the rules. The motion is Exhibit B to Judge Acker’s order (found here).

Scruggs’s lawyers (Keker’s firm) fired back with a forceful and blunt response that this wasn’t allowed, and Judge Vinson almost immediately agreed, ruling that there was no basis to extend the time for a notice of appeal.

Well, Judge Acker apparently liked the description of the facts about Scruggs’s behavior in the special prosecution’s motion (although he does admit Judge Vinson was correct in overruling it), and so Judge Acker attached the motion as an exhibit to his opinion from yesterday.

Scruggs’ response is very telling about what happened. The special three called for evidentiary hearings in Continue reading “There was more going on before Judge Acker threw his temper tantrum”