“defense lawyers have been banking their money for years” – a lawyer’s perspective on Katrina litigation

“This is one of those cases where people see the verdict and the motion and think about all the money that the plaintiff’s lawyers will make. But the defense lawyers will make as much or more than the plaintiff lawyers while taking no risk. Equally as important, the defense lawyers have been banking their money for years while the plaintiff lawyers have to collect to fill a big hole.” (emphasis added)

In a comment to Katrina plantiffs win a big one, I mentioned Phillip Thomas at the Mississippi Litigation Review blog also had a post on Penthouse Homeowner’s Association v Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London.

Thomas’ blog is one of my daily reads and his most recent post on the case, Winning Plaintiff in Katrina Wind vs. Water Trial Requests $3.5 Million in Attorney’s Fees, Expenses and Interest, provided both the title and introductory quote of this post as well as a link to Plaintiffs’ attorney Don Barrett’s Motion (in Scribd format below with Exhibits added by SLABBED)

Barrett made a strong argument in support of his request for $3.5 million in fees, expenses and interest – and a “must read” IMO for attorneys on both sides of the bar.  However, what struck me as even more interesting was this paragraph in Barrett’s Affidavit documenting his personal history of litigation as justification for his $450 hourly rate:

I am presently lead counsel of the Katrina Litigation Group, a consortium of lawyers who represent hundreds of homeowners along the Mississippi Coast who were victimized first by Hurricane Katrina and then by their insurance companies. To date our group has favorably settled over 1,600 homeowners’ claims Continue reading ““defense lawyers have been banking their money for years” – a lawyer’s perspective on Katrina litigation”

Shows Takes Expected Hit

While we await Friday’s responses in Ex Rel Rigsby there were other developments yesterday with the litigation involving the Katrina Litigation Group.  As we expected the racketeering suit was dealt a blow with the disqualification of the Rigsby sisters and the Katrina Litigation Group. The issues in Shows were virtually identical to McIntosh and other policyholder lawsuits involving the old Scruggs Katrina Group. It will be interesting to see how this suit in particular is impacted as Racketeering is specialized litigation that requires deep pockets to litigate. My blog partner Nowdy tells me the McIntosh family has retained Chip Merlin to represent them. Excellent choice IMHO.  Here is today’s Anita Lee Sun Herald story:

A federal judge on Wednesday disqualified from a Katrina lawsuit all former Scruggs Katrina Group attorneys, who in June 2007 filed a racketeering case against State Farm and its vendors. Continue reading “Shows Takes Expected Hit”

The Human Equation in the Katrina Litigation Group DQ

We have our first filed news story concerning one of the former clients of Katrina Litigation Group now forced to find new representation courtesy of WLOX. Some background is in order. Like the McIntoshes these policy holders reside north of I-10.   Following the print story is a Youtube clip of the their lead story on February 28, 2008.

A Gulfport couple is among the hundreds of Mississippi homeowners sent scrambling to find new attorneys this week.

On Friday, a federal judge disqualified lawyers who had worked with attorney Dickie Scruggs on Katrina insurance lawsuits. The judge said Scruggs made improper payments to witnesses in Katrina cases. But Ann and Eddie Collins say the policy holders are the ones being punished. Continue reading “The Human Equation in the Katrina Litigation Group DQ”

Breaking: Judge Senter Disqualifies Katrina Litigation Group

Anita Lee has broken the story that the remainder of the old Scruggs Katrina Group is disqualified from representing their insurance plaintiffs. The order entered today was in the McIntosh case but applies to all their remaining clients. I have a feeling Chip Merlin’s phone will now be ringing off the hook. Here is a copy of the order and here is a copy of Judge Senter’s opinion.

The reasoning relates to the payments made to the Rigsby sisters by Dickie Scruggs:

I have determined that disqualification is required because Scruggs, acting in furtherance of the SKG joint venture, paid the Rigsby sisters a substantial sum of money (a consulting fee of $150,000 per year) despite Scruggs’s knowledge that the Rigsby sisters were material witnesses in connection with many hurricane damage claims that were likely to become the subject of litigation. While Scruggs made the arrangements for these payments, the other members of the SKG joint venture knew or should have known that the payments were being made, and I am of the opinion that their failure to take timely and reasonable remedial steps or to object to this arrangement amounts to a ratification of Scruggs’s actions. While the other ethical misconduct alleged by State Farm and Renfroe are substantial, the payments to the Rigsby sisters are, in and of themselves, sufficient to warrant disqualification. Continue reading “Breaking: Judge Senter Disqualifies Katrina Litigation Group”

Speaking of Fat Mama’s, have you read Brown v Nutt?

Sop says he’s “really busy” – tax time and all that – so he hopes I “don’t mind posting today’s update on Brown v Nutt” – like I don’t know he’s ROTFLHAO at the thought of me trying to compose one of my “straight news posts” about the Exhibits submitted with the latest response from the defense.

No problem, Sop, I’ll just link folks to Legal News Line so they can read the first part of the email mail message and insert the rest of the Maria Brown version of the 2007 Tax Code as a quote:

10-12″ Luxury Tax $300.00
8-10″ Pole Tax $250.00
5-8″ Privilege Tax $150
3-5″ Nuisance Tax $30.00

Readers who don’t want to put the two parts together can just download the Exhibits and read it all on page 37 – that’s as far as I was able to read without thinking that you were going to owe me a case of Fat Mama’s and some sweet potatoes for this post!

I’m cutting this short – so to speak – to set up a new page under Legal – leaving you and our readers to decide if the good neighbor isn’t a bit of a peeping Tom for including Maria Brown in their effort to disqualify KLG.

Shows RICO Suit Lawsuit Against State Farm: Amendment Allowed

I noted this story in today’s Sun Herald along with some new case filings in the RICO case against State Farm. One of the recent rulings rejects State farm’s arguments against amending the complaint, especially their unsubstantiated charges of ethical breaches on part of the Katrina Litigation Group. For the sake of the defendants I hope they come up with better defenses for the trial to rebut some of the more damning evidence in possession of the Plaintiff’s such as Forensic Engineering’s computer hard drive than Kerri Rigsby’s sex life.

It is worth noting that buried in the Dickie Scruggs case publicity was a little noticed news story about Forensic flipping and cutting a deal with the Katrina Litigation Group in exchange for their cooperation. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say about their part in this alleged criminal racketeering enterprise.

I have updated the Katrina Insurance Case Documents page to include the Shows case and added files to McIntosh. Please bear with us while we build our data base. Without further commentary on my part here is today’s Anita Lee’s Sun Herald story on Shows:

A lawsuit that Dickie Scruggs and his Scruggs Katrina Group filed for 22 policyholders against State Farm is moving forward in U.S. District Court. Continue reading “Shows RICO Suit Lawsuit Against State Farm: Amendment Allowed”