I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name

October 11, 2005 at 10:41 AM

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October 11, 2005 at 10:50 AM Continue reading “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name”

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)

State Farm revives “good neighbor” to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey

Defendants, all of them, have no objections to the Court extending all deadlines by 30 days;

Texas geography isn’t my strong suit.  In fact, a day or so ago I spent the better part of an hour reading maps to make certain the Bolivar Peninsula was in Galvaston County – wondering the entire time; and, wonder if they’d been in Ike’s path.

After reading this motion, filed by State Farm attorney H. Scot Spraggins of Oxford in Shows v State Farm, the Katrina RICO case, I had an answer.

1)Plaintiffs’ counsel’s primary office is located in Beaumont, Texas;

2) Beaumont and the surrounding areas has recently been affected by Hurricane Ike, leaving Plaintiffs’ counsel’s law office damaged and without power;

3) The homes of many attorneys and staff members were also damaged;

4) Currently, Plaintiffs’ counsel do not know when power will be restored at their office, or when repairs to the office and homes will be completed; Continue reading “State Farm revives “good neighbor” to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey”

State Farm revives "good neighbor" to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey

Defendants, all of them, have no objections to the Court extending all deadlines by 30 days;

Texas geography isn’t my strong suit.  In fact, a day or so ago I spent the better part of an hour reading maps to make certain the Bolivar Peninsula was in Galvaston County – wondering the entire time; and, wonder if they’d been in Ike’s path.

After reading this motion, filed by State Farm attorney H. Scot Spraggins of Oxford in Shows v State Farm, the Katrina RICO case, I had an answer.

1)Plaintiffs’ counsel’s primary office is located in Beaumont, Texas;

2) Beaumont and the surrounding areas has recently been affected by Hurricane Ike, leaving Plaintiffs’ counsel’s law office damaged and without power;

3) The homes of many attorneys and staff members were also damaged;

4) Currently, Plaintiffs’ counsel do not know when power will be restored at their office, or when repairs to the office and homes will be completed; Continue reading “State Farm revives "good neighbor" to file motion to extend scheduling calendar to assist opposing counsel and Ike victim Provost-Umphrey”

Catch-all update on Shows, McIntosh, and the Rigsby qui tam claim

Along with the truckload of State Farm motions in the qui tam cases that I’ve yet to post and the orders in McIntosh that I’ve just posted, there are a handful best tossed in a single catch-all post.

In Shows v State Farm, Magistrate Judge Linda Alexander issued an Order granting the pending Motions to Sever, incorporating the language requested in Renfroe’s related unopposed motion, and authorized the transfer of these cases to Judges Walker and Senter.

The motions are unopposed by any party, subject to the understanding that E. A. Renfroe & Company, Inc., Gene Renfroe, or Jana Renfroe, shall not be named as defendants in the amended complaints filed by the Summers and Simpson, and that the amended complaints do not include a RICO conspiracy or civil conspiracy claim relating to their Hurricane Katrina insurance claims. The Court finds that the motions are well advised and should be granted.

Is the ease with which it appears these plaintiffs dropped claims against Refroe an indication of anything other than the nature of the claims? Something to think about – particularly if you’re one of the Renfroes.

The leading candidate for snark-of-the-week thus far is State Farm’s Response to the Rigsby’s motion requesting an extension of time to prepare a response to various State Farm motions.

…no discovery is necessary “in order [for the Rigsbys] to prepare responses, rebuttals, or supporting memoranda,” to the pending dispositive motions. Continue reading “Catch-all update on Shows, McIntosh, and the Rigsby qui tam claim”

"It's like deja-vu all over again" in motion to compel depositions of Scrugges

Yogi, or so it appears, called the signal for what State Farm and Renfroe put into action as their strategy for getting Judge Walker and Judge Senter to play ball and compel the deposition of the Scruggses – it’s like deja-vu all over again from December 2007.

However, the Scruggses won that round but Renfroe obviously felt and Yogi said, you wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.

Judge Alexander handed Renfroe the defeat – and one might say they took the hint.

For a subpoena ad testificandum, those factors are: (1) the relevancy of the proposed testimony; (2) the need for the testimony; (3) the breadth of the subpoena; (4) availability of the testimony by other means; (5) burden on the subpoenaed party in obeying the subpoena. Collapsed down to its essence, the inquiry is one of balancing burden against benefit. (emphasis added)]

Now, do you see it? Smoke and mirrors – by reducing the document request, they created the impression of a more narrow inquiry than either intended to conduct. Had they not, it is highly likely the Scruggs would have prevailed on the basis the intended discovery was overly broad as restated in Judge Walker’s order. Continue reading “"It's like deja-vu all over again" in motion to compel depositions of Scrugges”

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”