…and the Saints go marching in Katrina litigation

Oh, the Lord works in mysterious ways.  For example, tomorrow the trial in Bossier v State Farm begins on – trumpets, please – on All Souls Day.  Today, however, we celebrate All Saints!

One could say the slabbed have some saints-in-the- making –  it really is a miracle a case ever gets to trial! For now, we’ll just call them angels:

The English word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos, which means ‘messenger’.

Three who come to mind are Coast attorneys Judy Guice, Deborah Trotter, and Rose Hurder.  Guice will take her message to court tomorrow; so, let’s take a look at the others – and, since the Saints will still be marching if I type fast enough to get ahead of the Souls, a look at New Light Baptist v State Farm seems the appropriate place to start.  If you need background, check Oh my God! State Farm files motion to compel New Light Baptist Church to supplement discovery and the update in September’s SLABBED Monthly.

I’ve been regularly checking PACER for weeks expecting to see that New Light’s counsel,Deborah Trotter, and State Farm had settled the case. When new items appeared on the docket Friday, it was clear the case had not settled (understatement).

…pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Plaintiff, New Light Baptist Church, will take the video deposition upon oral examination of one or more officers, directors or managing agents, or other designated person(s) who consents to testify on behalf of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company on December 14, 2009 and December 15, 2009, at the offices of Hickman, Goza & Spragins, 115 Homestead Drive, Madison, MS 39110, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

When you pull the Notice, you’ll find a detailed list of the information State Farm’s 30(b)(6) representative needs to be capable of discussing.  Trotter never fails to surprise me; yet, even knowing that, the last thing I was expecting was a second 30(b)(6) Notice for an IT Video Deposition and Issuance of Deposition Subpoena Duces Tecum:

Plaintiff requests that, at the time and place of the taking of said deposition, said corporation produce for inspection and copying the original of each note, memorandum, item of correspondence, picture, videotape, audiotape, policy and/or procedure manual, drawing or other document evidencing or relating to all matters described below as they relate to the occurrence made the basis of Plaintiff’s Complaint, which are more specifically described and requested in the attached Schedule B. (emphasis in the Notice)

Plaintiff further requests that the corporate representative(s) should be the person or persons most familiar with the topics listed in the attached Schedule A.

The usual comeback for a subpoena duces tecum starts with  “Plaintiff’s counsel is fishing…”.  However, considering the Plaintiff, Trotter would be a fisher of men – specifically, men (or women) with the information on the handling of New Light’s claim as she requested.

Trotter is also Plaintiff’s counsel in Lebon v State Farm and has filed similar Notices specific to that claim with an additional Subpoena Duces Tecum to Ida McAllister of Pilot Catastrophe Service (Mobile):

…The terms “you” or “your” shall mean “Pilot Catastrophe Services” and “Ida McAllister” and any respective agents, representatives, employees, predecessors, successors and any person acting or purporting to act on your behalf…

The term “document” or “documents” is used in its broadest sense and includes, without limitation, drafts, and documents whether printed, recorded, stored or reproduced by any mechanical or electronic process, or written or produced by hand, and including computer tapes (including backup tapes) and all other computer-related documents, within your possession, custody or control. “Documents” shall also include (1) each copy that is not identical to the original or to any other copy, and (2) any tangible thing that is called for by or identified in response to any request. “Document” as used herein shall be construed broadly to include all documents and things within the scope of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and refers to all writings or other graphic matter, as well as any other medium by which information is stored or recorded. It includes originals, drafts, copies and reproductions; and it includes, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, letters; memoranda; repOlts and/or summaries of investigations; police reports; accident reports; opinions or reports of consultants; diagrams; marginal comments appearing on any documents; accounts; telegrams; studies; lists of persons attending meetings or conferences; records or memoranda of telephone conversations; written statements; transcripts or recorded statements; recorded statements; records of personal conversations or interviews; calculations; computations; specifications; drawings; advertisements; circulars; trade letters; press releases; prints; recordings; positive or negative films, slides or photographs; magnetic, electronic or video tapes; computer tapes, cards or printouts; and all other things of like nature; and any and all containers, boxes or other receptacles or repositories housing or containing such “documents.” The term “document” or “documents” are specifically intended to include email and “Electronically Stored Information” as defined below…

Read the attachments to the Notice and see if you don’t agree that Deborah Trotter is definitely not fishing!  Rose Hurder does not strike me as a fisher either.  Her name is new to SLABBED but her work is not.   She’s counsel for the Plaintiff’s in Anthony v State Farm.  Background on the case is in the post Eleuterius is named defendant in a second State Farm case and there is an update on this case in September’s SLABBED Monthly, too.

I added Ms. Hurder to the angel list on a wing and a prayer.  State Farm made an Offer in Judgment as I was writing her introduction to SLABBED and all of that background is safely tucked away in my old computer for several more days.  Trust me, nothing about her work that I’ve read suggests she is anything other than another saint-in-the- making for the slabbed.

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