a hush-hush-flush of a deal in high stakes game of Texas hold’em

…and since the mention of “trailer lawyers” put my nose out of joint earlier today, it seems like a good time to post this little jewel of a news story from the National Underwriter – more accurately described as an old jewel reset in recycled spin and titled State Farm quietly settles Katrina claims.

A spokesman for State Farm said today that it has now settled more than 200 hurricane damage lawsuits brought by the Scruggs Katrina Group in Mississippi.

Well, you can bet Katrina’s behind the “settlements” (plural) were quiet – and double your bet there would have been no  dismissal without prejudice of the RICO claims had their not been a “quiet settlement” of all RICO plaintiff’s individual claims.

Spokesman Jeff McCollum said in addition that a case involving 38 plaintiffs in a federal court action accusing the firm of civil racketeering had been dismissed.Terms of the settlements were confidential. Mr. McCollum said only about 250 other cases remain.

Although Provost Umprey made the public statement, IMO, the dealer tossing the burn card in this high stakes game of Texas holdem was Gloria Shows – an opinion that I have no fact to support.

Frankly, I don’t think any supporting facts are needed.  If one carefully reads the  RICO complaint the logical conclusion is the cowboys of PU were partnered with an Annie Oakley of a client in the form of Glenda Shows.

Using a .22 caliber rifle at 90 feet (27 m), Oakley reputedly could split a playing card edge-on and put five or six more holes in it before it touched the ground.

IMO, Ms. Shows is a better shot and a similar tribute to her might read:

[Using] a Plaintiff produced a spiral bound volume of self-compiled evidence…[that]…included an aerial photograph depicting the path of a tornado passing over her home…[consequently]…whether taking a shot face-to-face or from a distance as far as Pascagoula is from Beaumont, Texas or Bloomington, Illinois, she could split State Farm’s defenses edge on and put 462 holes in same with her spiral notebook before a spokeman for the company could hit the ground claiming:

[State Farm]…does not engage in the sort of activity alleged in this litigation. Now-disbarred attorney Dickie Scruggs made unsupported RICO claims to great fanfare in June 2007. Since then, numerous legal, political, media and PR tactics used by Scruggs have been exposed as distortions. The baseless RICO claims have been dismissed and the underlying contract claims are in the process of being settled.

Even with the  hush-hush-flush of “quietly” and terms that were confidential, State Farm was so outgunned that all it could do was take a pot-shot at Dickie Scruggs.  Continue reading “a hush-hush-flush of a deal in high stakes game of Texas hold’em”

Breaking: Katrina RICO suit settled!

All parties have engaged in discovery on a formal and informal basis, though all discovery is not complete.

Plaintiff’s have determined that all claims arising against the defendants under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act…(“RICO”)  should be dismissed without prejudice as to all defendants.

The Motion to Dismiss certain claims and defendants makes it clear that the plaintiff’s retain all but the RICO claims.

Thanks for the heads up, Proximo!  Any guesses about the story behind the story?

How about an appetizer of Rigsby Qui Tam and Katrina RICO news?

RICO first – before it’s too old to call “news”.   After an October status conference, the case was stayed until the 19th of December.  A status conference with Magistrate Judge Linda Anderson is now set for the 13th of January.

Now, for Rigsby Qui Tam and a new Order from Judge Senter.

That the Relators’ motions [242] [243] [248] [250] to dismiss this action as to Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.; Jade Engineering; Exponent, Inc.; and Structures Group are GRANTED.

SO ORDERED this 5th day of January, 2009.

Just two bites, sorry, but Gagne v State Farm is up next; and, believe me, it’s so filling that it has to be served in courses.

Katrina RICO case stayed until mid-December

This Minute Entry on the docket of Shows v State Farm speaks for itself.

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson: Telephone Conference held on 10/14/2008. Participants: Bryan O. Blevins and H. Scott Spragins. The Court discussed the present status of the case with counsel and informed them that the case would be stayed until 12/19/2008. A telephonic status conference will be scheduled for that date also. (WG) (Entered: 10/14/2008)

Renfroe files another unusual motion – this one in Shows

Maybe this motion isn’t as unusual as it seems; but, it has an air of the chicken-salad set about it that seems out of place to me. For all you lawyers unfamiliar with the term, the chicken-salad set are those who whisper things like, I think Mary brought store-bought brownies to bridge club last week.

I suppose that translates to a presumption of privilege when applied to this Response to “Unopposed” Motion to Sever filed today in Shows v State Farm et al, the Katrina RICO case, clarifying Renfroe’s position.

During the case management conference, counsel for Renfroe stated that it did not object to the proposed severance and would not oppose plaintiffs’ motions to sever.

Renfroe wants to make clear that its position is based on its understanding that the severed plaintiffs, Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson, do not intend to name Renfroe, Gene Renfroe, or Jana Renfroe as parties to their claims or to file a RICO or civil conspiracy claim.

Renfroe based its position on the fact that neither it nor its principals would be parties to the new, severed cases and that, because Ellen Summers, Stephen F. Summers, and Sandra Simpson would solely be pursuing “wind versus water” claims against State Farm pursuant to their respective State Farm insurance policies, such suits would differ materially from the RICO and other conspiracy claims asserted by the remaining plaintiffs in this action. There would, therefore, be a substantial distinction between the severing and non-severing plaintiffs’ claims that justified severing the actions… Continue reading “Renfroe files another unusual motion – this one in Shows”

Can a signed MDI Mediation Agreement prevent a policyholder from later filing under RICO?

Where did I get such a question? Well, after I read Sop’s recent post with a reference to the Order and Opinion in Boyd v State Farm et al issued last week by Judge Senter, the question came to mind. Ordinarily, reading the Opinion would – and should – have answered my question.

However, Judge Senter’s Opinion does not address the Statue of Limitations governing RICO and the Katrina RICO case was filed on June 20,2007 – the same day the Boyd complaint and approximately 200 nearly identical complaints were filed. However, the date on the Mediation Agreement signed by Boyd was July 19, 2006, almost a year earlier.

Judge Senter’s Opinion also does not address the potential confusion possible when the Q&A that MDI issued with the announcement of the Katrina Mediation Program failed to mention the finality of the Agreement.

Mediation is a non-adversarial, non-binding, alternative dispute resolution procedure designed to facilitate the resolution of claims as fairly and quickly as possible. During the mediation Continue reading “Can a signed MDI Mediation Agreement prevent a policyholder from later filing under RICO?”

Calendar page? Maybe so – Shows and Rigsby qui tam scheduling now

Where shall we put the tree, Sop? How about it, Bellesouth, should we hang stockings? Guess you can tell It looks as if we’re going to be here a while. There’s so much work to be done on these cases and not nearly as much time as one would think is needed. In fact, as I read the two scheduling orders, I began to think that those who work in the Southern District Court must feel like they’re working the only open register at Wal-Mart on a Friday night – the one with a line that goes all the way to the back of the store.

Shows, the Katrina RICO case, and Rigsby, the qui tam, are big cases in every way and both have new counsel that must be working round the clock.

Magistrate Judge Anderson, who keeps cases moving for Judge Barbour, issued her second amended case management and scheduling order with two more to come as Provost Umphrey files motions to sever Plaintiffs that retained other counsel after the Katrina Litigation Group was disqualified and adds new Plaintiffs representing approximately 22 properties insured by State Farm.

Judge Senter does his own scheduling and it’s hard not to smile at the thought as you read his Rigsby qui tam scheduling order. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the new legal team for the Rigsby sisters all goes out and buys new running shoes this weekend. Continue reading “Calendar page? Maybe so – Shows and Rigsby qui tam scheduling now”

So, they sell Bud and crazy things just keep happening – check this court report

I tell you what, selling Bud really threw this country for a loop – and, as usual, the Coast was hit the hardest. Stands to reason if you figure that desire for a cold one is proportionate to the heat – inside the courtroom and out.

McIntosh has been the hot one for sometime – guess it’s all the back and forth between here and Alabama. Well, today, the “next” I’ve been looking for finally showed up on PACER. It’s the response from McIntosh to the Renfroe motion supporting State Farm’s objection to introducing out-of-state conduct – the subject of a recent post of mine.

My hat’s off to the Merlin Law Group for their response. Actually, my hat’s off because I’m ROFLMAO at their response

COME NOW the Plaintiffs and respond to Renfroe’s Objections to Out of State Evidence (Document 1224).

The Plaintiffs do not intend to offer any of the specified evidence of out of state conduct as evidence against Defendant Renfroe. To the extent that any of the evidence refers to Renfroe,the Court may create safeguards including, but not limited to jury instructions, that ensure that Renfroe is not prejudiced by the reference to it.

That’s it! Every word.

Merlin’s Tina Nicholson did what every lawyer on the Plantiff’s side – here and in Alabama – has been itching to do for almost three years. She filed a motion telling the Renfroe’s this is none of your business. You go girl! Continue reading “So, they sell Bud and crazy things just keep happening – check this court report”

Shows files motion for amended RICO complaint – Part 3 Complaint against E.A. Renfroe

This narrative account of E.A. Renfroe’s misconduct and basis of liability is taken directly from the RICO statement amended and submitted by Provost Umphrey – and represents only one side of the legal argument detailed in Part 1 of the series.

Renfroe participated in the day-to-day adjustment of claims and assisted and counseled with Lecky King and State Farm in furtherance of the scheme. Renfroe adjusted a number of the named Plaintiffs’ claims according to the purpose of the scheme and to effectuate a coverage denial based on the policy exclusion for water damage, as well as to create a biased record for later coerced settlements or litigation proceedings.

In adjusting claims pursuant to Lecky King and State Farm’s directives and the mutually agreed upon Enterprise plan, Renfroe ordered contrived engineering inspections and, as the “client” of Forensic and recipient/addressee of the reports, Renfroe knowingly utilized the false reports in divesting the Plaintiffs of coverage benefits through informal settlement negotiations, or as part of the Insurance Commissioner’s mediation program. Continue reading “Shows files motion for amended RICO complaint – Part 3 Complaint against E.A. Renfroe”

Eeny, Meenie, Miny, Moe

If you have a case against State Farm, you’re already in the game. Judge Senter made that Rule. What you’re trying to do is stay in the game – and to keep playing you need a lawyer.

To start the pick-a-lawyer game, just pick one – Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe.

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe.
Catch a lawyer by the toe.
If State Farm squeals, don’t let go.
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe.

My mother said
To pick the very best one
And you’re it!

You picked Eeny. Sorry, you’ll have to pick again. Eeny’s second cousin twice removed went to kindergarten with the third son of the second wife of the uncle of Dickie Scruggs. Continue reading “Eeny, Meenie, Miny, Moe”