Allstate painted (literally) company in a Billion $ Corner – ex rel Sonnier v: FOURTH qui tam Complaint filed against Allstate

And, then there were four – ex rel Rigsby, ex rel Branch Consultants,  ex rel Denenea and, now, ex rel Sonnier v Allstate:

ALLSTATE’s price allowed on wind policy estimates of loss in the State of Louisiana for painting damaged areas was between $0.15 and $0.38 per square foot. However, on NFIP flood policy estimates, ALLSTATE allowed $0.56 per square foot, a difference of between $0.18 and $0.41 per square foot. Thus, if the true and correct cost to repaint flood damaged property was between $0.15 and $0.38 per square foot (i.e., the same cost listed by defendant, ALLSTATE, to paint the same unit of drywall covered under the wind policy issued for the same property by defendant, ALLSTATE, and applicable to the same loss event), ALLSTATE caused the federal government to overpay ALLSTATE between $0.15 and $0.41 for every square foot required to be painted in every NFIP flood policy loss estimate adjusted and initially paid by ALLSTATE but subsequently submitted to the federal government for full reimbursement to ALLSTATE.

Kermith Sonnier, “the Relator is a licensed insurance adjuster with 30 years experience…principal shareholder of Sonnier & Fisher Public Adjusters, LLC, a public adjusting firm based in Lake Charles, Louisiana”.

The allegations in Mr. Sonnier’s recently unsealed qui tam Complaint against Allstate are Plus-Size over a $1,00o,ooo,000 federal dollars fraudulently by manipulating  multiple costs in claims submitted to the NFIP from multiple disasters in multiple locations over the six year period prior to filing the Complaint under seal on December 10, 2009. Continue reading “Allstate painted (literally) company in a Billion $ Corner – ex rel Sonnier v: FOURTH qui tam Complaint filed against Allstate”

The Sun Herald picks up the coverage of Judge Senter’s decision in Ex Rel Rigsby

Michael Newsome has the Sun Herald story:

A federal judge ruled Monday that whistleblowers Cori and Kerri Rigsby can testify in the lawsuit the sisters brought against State Farm alleging the insurer defrauded the government through claims filed after Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. also asked State Farm Monday to turn over details of certain claims that the company filed through the National Flood Insurance Program. The Rigsbys’ suit alleged the company defrauded the federal government by wrongfully denying homeowner’s insurance claims and shifting the burden for the storm’s damage to the taxpayer-funded NFIP.

A previous order in a different case had prohibited the two from testifying in civil suits against State Farm, but the Risgbys had asked Senter whether that would apply to the current proceedings. Senter said the matter at hand was substantially different than previous actions. He said the two, who worked as insurance adjusters for E.A. Renfroe, a company State Farm used after Katrina, “have relevant knowledge” and should be permitted to testify in all further proceedings. Continue reading “The Sun Herald picks up the coverage of Judge Senter’s decision in Ex Rel Rigsby”

State Farm’s little bit pregnant fraud

The birds and bees of the qui tam case were fluttering over two new State Farm entries on the docket when I checked early evening. State Farm called the first a Bench Memorandum Re: “Knowingly False” Claims; but, regardless of what they called it, there is no mistaking what it is – an admission the Company committed fraud against the government when they submitted the  McIntosh claim for payment.

Retitled, it’s the story of their little-bit-pregnant fraud – which they claim is not a crime because the fraudulent claim they submitted in McIntosh was “unknowingly false”.

This is what they expect Judge Senter to believe:

State Farm did not “knowingly” present to the government a “false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval” with respect to the McIntosh property, as expressly required to establish liability under the False Claims Act.

GFL, what is it they think people have been talking about for almost four years?  As their defense they show how their adjusters are trained to commit fraud Continue reading “State Farm’s little bit pregnant fraud”

Double Trouble Doubled Down – Kuehn v State Farm

Remember the Kuehn’s of Double Trouble Kuehn v State Farm?

On February 28, 2008, the appraisal process concluded, and the umpire and the parties’ appraisers signed an Award setting forth the appraisal amount of $174,811.80…counsel for State Farm Fire told the appraisers and the umpire that the Award did not specify which part was for wind…the appraisers and umpire rewrote the Award to indicate that the entire amount was for wind damage.

Well, I ran into their case when I was looking at recent filings and decided to take a look and see how things were going.

We left them back in February shortly after Counsel for Plaintiffs learned during the deposition of State Farm’s designated appraiser, John Minor, on or about February 6, 2009, that counsel for State Farm will be, at the very least, necessary and material witnesses in this action. Counsel for State Farm recognized this fact and the deposition was halted.

John Banahan had just stepped in as new counsel for State Farm and requested an extension on the period of discovery on the appraisal issue until March 31 that would move the deadline for motions back to mid-April.

What happened between then and now would be easier to explain if this case had not bounced between state and federal court twice since  Hurricane Katrina. Wait, I take that back!  Let’s take a closer look at this case.

Hurricane Katrina ravaged their insured property, causing destruction to the structure and its contents.  On September 27, 2005 an adjuster for State Farm inspected the property.  The time line and documents that follow tell the story.

January 4, 2006
State Farm Fire…informed Plaintiffs that it would not cover the loss beyond what was already paid, which was $10,765.48.pages-from-kuehn-v-state-farm-41

April I, 2006 Continue reading “Double Trouble Doubled Down – Kuehn v State Farm”