Diving accident claims life of State Farm attorney James Robie (dates corrected)

James Robie, 61, a partner in the Los Angeles firm Robie & Matthai, was State Farm’s top gun in Katrina litigation.  Robie represented State Farm at the January 15 12, 2011 Status Conference on the Rigsbys’ qui tam litigation and died the following day Sunday while making making a certification dive near Catalina island.

Although word just reached SLABBED today, his death was report in the San Francisco Chronicle and on Legal Pad.  The Metropolitan News-Enterprise , a Los Angeles daily, ran a longer story, as well as a recent update announcing plans for a memorial service on the 30th and a website with details and a guest book.

jamesrobie.com recognizes him as both the “fierce adversary” we came to know in Katrina litigation and a man with “deep love and loyalty to his family and friends”. Condolences to his friends and family.

14 thoughts on “Diving accident claims life of State Farm attorney James Robie (dates corrected)”

  1. This is very “strange”. No one dies during “a certification dive”. Not only is a “buddy diver” close at hand, but there are MUCHO Instructors close at hand. Even if this was an “equipment failure”, which takes everyone by surprise, there are ways to deal with it by sharing air with other nearby divers, and EVERYONE is trained for such an eventuality. I would like to know more FACTS. Ashton O’Dwyer, SCUBA and “muff” diver.

  2. Or maybe everyone will go to the table and settle?
    If this teaches nothing else it teaches how fragile life can be and maybe spending more time on important matters while the time is nigh is more important than battles on imaginary fields of law.
    I am sure his family and friends wish more time had been spent with them.
    May he rest in peace and may his family and friends and acquaintances and enemies learn the lesson.

  3. “Settle” not! When people commit crimes like those involved in claims handling following Katrina, the notion of “going to the table” instead of going to jail is offensive IMO.

  4. You’re so right, Nowdy (and hello by the way)!

    Nonetheless, no doubt this is a big loss to State Farm and an even bigger one to Mr. Robie’s family, friends, colleagues, etc.

    Regarding the assertion that maybe this will – in essence – “wake State Farm up” – not going to happen. In the corporate conglomerate world such as S/Farm, humans are totally expendable and replaceable. The practices of corruption live on and on and on and on….an engrained corporate culture if you will.

  5. There are some additional details from Channel 5, KTLA-TV in Los Angeles: “Robie had been diving with an instructor when his body went limp as the two ascended together. The instructor reportedly performed CPR for 20 minutes until paramedics arrived and Robie was placed in a hyperbaric chamber. He was pronounced dead some two hours later. A cause of death has not yet been determined.”

    So, unless Robie’s air supply was contaminated with one or more agents, which killed him (unlikely, since he would have been affected EARLIER in the dive), it would appear that this was “a death while diving” rather than “a death caused by a diving accident”. The dive depth (was the hyperbaric chamber a precautionary measure or a necessity? – the instructor does not appear to have used it) is unknown, as are the autopsy results, although the Media are reporting that an autopsy would be performed. My “shooting from the hip” guess is that it was a heart attack or a stroke. He died doing something he liked doing and wanted to do. I hope he didn’t suffer and get “scared” in a foreign atmosphere (water). Ashton O’Dwyer.

  6. Appreciate the additional information, Ashton – and also appreciate evidence that you can shoot helpful/kind comments from one of your hips! By all means, keep shooting from that one and not the one that shoots off comments that hit you in the foot. 🙂

  7. i’d like to know who the dive instructor was, the autopsy outcome, what the dive shop was called. During a similar dive, i had a very teffifying experience made so by a dive instructor. I ‘ likd to know if it the same one

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