The disputes between the parties to this action were previously settled and dismissed by an order dated April 7, 2009. Following a reversal of the contempt findings against non-parties Richard F. Scruggs and the Scruggs Law Firm, P.A. by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Appeal Number 08-14716-DD, the remaining disputes have been settled between E. A. Renfroe & Company, Inc., and the above-referenced non-parties. Therefore, by and through their respective counsel of record, the undersigned do hereby jointly stipulate to the dismissal of all remaining issues and claims between them in this matter, with prejudice, each party to bear its own respective costs.
The judges name is Jed S. Rakoff, and he “sits” in the US District Court of Manhattan. He’s a man I could address as “Your Honor,” and sincerely mean it. He isn’t shy about stating that the public must be able to “see” what our court system is doing if they are to have any confidence in it at all. He’s adopted strict rules limiting what sort of materials may be kept confidential in cases before him. He calls this “transparency,” but what he’s really saying is this . . . every time a court does something under the table, (like sealing State Farm’s documents without any basis whatsoever), it demeans the justice system and destroys people’s belief in their government.
We all know how corporate defendants constantly game the system with their pseudo “trade secret” claims. Good God, think of the horror stories posted on this blog alone. Sadly, these shameless lies presented in signed court papers governed by Rule 11 honestly standards are rarely subjected to the mandatory test for excluding discoverable information: (1) the movant has the burden of proving everything they withheld is a bona fide trade secret; and (2) a record finding must be made, based on facts and/or testimony, and the controlling law in discovery cases; and (3) all of this must be preserved in a public court record, susceptible to appellate review.
Contrast Judge Rakoff’s “transparency” with what happened in Birmingham, corporate rat’s nest of the South. Not only were documents concealed, hell, the entire case against Cori and Keri Rigsby was ginned up to keep evidence of federal flood program fraud a secret, and at the same time persecute and defame the Rigsbys and Dick Scruggs as document thieves. Imagine that. What would people like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Benjamin Cardozo do if they were alive to witness an Article III Tribunal, a United States Federal Court involved in this sordid and illegal mess? Imposing personal jurisdiction over persons not even within the court’s constitutional power . . . for the purpose of concealing a multi billion dollar fraud upon the US Treasury? Continue reading “Here’s a judge who took an oath of office, and lives up to it. An anonymous guest post.”
There is no evidence in this record to indicate State Farm had the authority to terminate the Relators’ employment status. Accordingly, I will grant State Farm’s motion for summary judgment on this portion of the Relators’ claim.
In awarding State Farm summary judgment on this point, Judge Senter put his yardstick for all decisions on the table – evidence and controlling law.
However, his decision on the Relators’ Claim for Retaliatory Discharge from Their Employment begs the question – Where’s the evidence?
In a zoo? Exactly. Isn’t that where seals usually do their tricks? In this case, the zoo is the Federal Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the trick seals do in that zoo is shield evidence – the contract between E.A. Renfroe and State Farm, for example.
Knowing what evidence is needed begs a second question that in turn begs a third – Could the Rigsby sisters overturn this decision? and, in their position, Would you focus on winning every battle or winning the war?
Did Chip Merlin discover the slabberator mentioned in the scheme? That I don’t know; but, he definitely happened upon some interesting information — cross posted below — and the title of his related postposes a very interesting question: Are Computerized Estimates by Pilot Catastrophe Adjusters Low Because of a Special Database?. SLABBED tags on to the end of Merlin’s post with comments linking the Rigsby qui tam.
Some Mondays are more interesting than others. When I go to conferences with adjusters, I make a point to ask about “in the street” information on insurers I am litigating against. The information and leads to witnesses or evidence are often extremely valuable to my clients. Adjusters know when the orders from claims management are wrong and aimed at paying less than what is fairly owed. Most want to disclose facts about insurers that wrongly demand underpayment.
I could offer the reason this second evening edition of the SLABBED Daily is that I was waiting on Judge Senter’s bit of housekeeping news:
TEXT ONLY ORDER finding as moot Defendant Exponent, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss; finding as moot Defendant Jade Engineering’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction; and finding as moot Defendant Jade Engineering’s Motion to Dismiss. These motions are rendered moot in light of the Court’s order dismissing these two defendants, among others. NO FURTHER WRITTEN ORDER SHALL ISSUE.
The truth, I’m sorry to say, is that I just got so caught up in MRGO that I forgot! I don’t expect the qui tam lawyers to forget about the two events noticed yesterday – their upcoming deposition of Lecky King on May 5 and Jack Ford’s the following day.
State Farm has so far been unable to confirm to its satisfaction whether exhibit 7 to the April 30 and May 1, 2007 Cori and Kerri Rigsby deposition transcripts in McIntosh is still subject to restrictions. For that reason, out of abundance of caution, Exhibit 7 to those depositions is not being produced at this time.
Otherwise, the included a list of 16 items produced and delivered to the attorneys for the Rigsby sisters and this snark:
No need to spell relieved when Judge Acker’s lip prints are all over his Order kissing Renfroe v Rigsby good-bye – and, just guessing, but I suspect there’s lipstick on the Rigbys’ copy and Renfroe’s, too.
The court having been informed that the parties in the above entitled action have reached a settlement, the action is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The parties shall have until 4:30 p.m., April 30, 2009, to request the substitution of a modified stipulated final judgment and to inform the court what should be done with the documents in the court’s custody. Unless there is a joint request to relinquish the documents to a named person, the documents will be shredded by the court.
The parties shall bear their own respective costs. DONE this 7th day of April, 2009.
Judge Acker’s realization that he’s stuck with a truckload of qui tam evidence in his office reminds me of State Farm’s Response to Relators’ Motion for Leave to Propound Expedited Document Requests in Order to Respond to Defendants’ Pending Dispositive Motions:
Two Mississippi experts have reviewed published articles on bed bugs, and their findings will be appear in Wednesday’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Jerome Goddard of Mississippi State University and Dr. Richard deShazo of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson examined the evidence regarding the health and medical effects of bed bugs and control and eradication strategies…
I had no idea how little I knew about bed bugs until I read the reader comments to this story:
We brought them back from from vacation two years ago, but I eradicated them very painstakingly…lots of wetting down everything with big jugs of bug spray from Lowes (bedbugs listed on bottle)…Now, first thing we do when entering a hotel room is pull the sheets away from the bed and check corners of mattresses for signs of bedbugs. They leave lots of little specks behind.
The only other news I have to report is that Judge Acker has granted the seven day extension requested by Renfrom Rigsby.
ORDER granting and ordering accordingly Motion for Extension of Time. Signed by Judge William M Acker, Jr on 03/31/09.
Sop and I will be on the lookout for stories to add during the day. Feel free to add any you find in comments.
The settlement agreement between Plaintiff E. A. Renfroe & Company, Inc. and Defendants Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby includes not only the remaining issues in this case but also all of the issues between these parties in the qui tam suit pending in Mississippi (United States ex rel. Rigsby v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company, et. al, Cause No. 1:06-cv-433, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Southern Division). Because this settlement encompasses both suits and complex issues, there are, of necessity, numerous lawyers involved in crafting the precise language of the settlement agreement and its supporting motions and proposed orders…
ACCORDINGLY, the parties jointly and respectfully request that this Court grant this Joint Motion for Additional Extension of Time, extending the current deadlines to April 6, 2009 and April 8, 2009.
I guess we just wait and see who gets the chocolate bunny.
The settlement negotiations between Plaintiff E. A. Renfroe & Company, Inc. and Defendants Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby are bearing fruit, and the parties are very close to finalizing a settlement. They do, however, need additional time to resolve specific language of the agreement and its supporting documents.
To provide them the time necessary to finalize their settlement documents, the parties jointly request that this Court again extend the deadlines for briefing set out in the Order dated January 28, 2009…the Memorandum Opinion and Order dated February 9,2009…and modified by Docket entry on February 13,2009.
The parties seek to extend the deadlines…by an additional 30 days to allow the parties to work out the details of settlement. The parties will promptly notify this Court when the settlement documents have been finalized to seek abatement of all remaining· deadlines.