Breaking News (Smile)- David Rossmiller is Back! First full post on Zach Scruggs

March 3, 2009
 

In the first of our Just a mentor moment sponsored by ClaimSmentor for quick claim hot topic links here we go!

Wow, I had just posted about two days ago in a post about how much those who follow the legal developments on social networks miss David Rossmiller’s posts at the Insurance Coverage Blog.

 Between David’s famous blogs that thousands in claims on our side of the fence (and those just lurking from the other side) get a pretty well rounded pictures of current claim litigation hot topics if you combine reading at Rossmiller’s site expressing an insurance coverage /defense attorney standpoint, Chip Merlin’s blog from a consumer advocate attorney ( an now the infamous Citizens Mission Task Force Consumer Advocate) , now throw in a Slabbed blog review and we have atleast all sides of the published internet social network opinions for viewing.

Yall politics you will love if you want all sides of the stories published together! Hey Yall Politics- when you are you going to add in the Chip Merlin blog to the Scruggs stories so we have all the important blogs? Hint hint…. by the way – wouldn’t claims adjusters and managers love to see these 4 together LIVE on a panel for a Q & A discussion? It would be sold out within 10 minutes!

By the way- if  you scroll down the right side of our blog here, you will find links to Claims Blogs of Interest I have found quite interesting when trying to locate information! We hope you will enjoy them!

http://www.insurancecoverageblog.com/archives/industry-developments-scruggs-nation-zach-was-halfway-home.html#trackbacks

Just another mentor minute link-When was the last time you thanked your mentors?

Here is who I thank as my mentor! Have you thanked yours by paying it forward?

http://www.claimsmentor.com/about.php (Now at 1,010 members and growing)

ClaimSmentor began on 12/08/2005 in recognition of William Robert Kane Sr. my father, my mentor, my friend.ClaimSmentor inception was on the 5th anniversary of his departure.. I thank him continuously for his willingness to mentor me throughout my life and my career. We hope all of you seeking a mentor get matched up so you have someone to truly thank for helping you along the way and that you too pass that on to a new trainee years from now.
 
Thank you David, Slabbed ( I still don’t know who they are), Chip Merlin, and Ya’ll Politics! Now when  will the carriers pipe in? (Yes we know they  THINK they can’t) Feel free to reply to this post and let the claims community know who you want to thank publicly!
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Settlement negotiations between Plaintiff E. A. Renfroe & Company, Inc. and Defendants Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby -Whistleblower Case- Links Updated Information

March 3, 2009

Thanks to Slabbed for updating this topic many claims industry professionals are interested in. You can find any news your looking for over there:

http://slabbed.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/whats-another-30-days-when-things-are-going-so-well-renfroe-v-rigsby/

You will find links over there to all prior posting they have done. I’m looking to the future working on training issues but will just post quick links as I come across them so you can view updates from other sources you may not know about.

***Update- David Rossmiller is back at  The Insurance Coverage blog (see right column for links-Wordpress says I’ve linked too many times to this blog so I’ve edited these entries 3/21/09)  and has more posts than you can imagine on this case and hopefully now that he is posting again, he’ll post on some of the major developments during the six months he has not been posting. David- thank you for your humorous online e-mentoring. It is appreciated more than you know.

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/breaking-news-smile-david-rossmiller-is-back-first-full-post-on-zach-scruggs/


MS AG Hood and State Farm reach agreement on Katrina disputes Wednesday 8/6

August 7, 2008

 

 

MS AG Jim Hood and State Farm apparently reached an agreement on Katrina insurance claim disputes on the wind vs water claim settlement issues. We’ve gone around the net for a wide view of opinions on this news and here are some very different perspectives on who is the victor if there is one in this lengthy battle:

First we have the Sun Herald News from Biloxi, MS who includes a response from State Farm regarding comments made by AG Jim Hood on the settlement you can view here:

http://www.sunherald.com/199/story/731995.html

Legalnewsline discusses State Farm’s reaction about “perplexing comments” made by AG Hood:

http://www.legalnewsline.com/spotlight/214612-state-farm-calls-ag-hoods-spin-on-settlement-perplexing

For a truly different perspective see comments from the anti insurance side of things- look at what the SLABBED web blog is saying on this :

http://slabbed.wordpress.com/2008/08/06/breaking-jim-hood-settles-with-state-farm/#comments

and a second SLABBED blog post today:

http://slabbed.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/ag-hood-and-the-state-farm-settlement-by-the-record/

Directly from State Farm’s Hurricane Response web page is this:

http://www.statefarm.com/about/hurricane/sf_suit_dismissed.asp

Here is another detailed story from the National Underwriter’s Property and Casualty news providing additional background and information on this “settlement”:

http://www.propertyandcasualtyinsurancenews.com/cms/nupc/Breaking%20News/2008/08/06-HOOD-dh?origin=Auto%20and%20Homeowners

Saving the very best for last, you won’t want to miss Attorney David Rossmiller’s detailed and often humorous look back at Hood’s deposition testimony and other detailed history on these cases with Hood:

http://www.insurancecoverageblog.com/archives/industry-developments-amazingly-hood-claims-credit-for-state-farm-payments-announces-settlement-of-lawsuit.html

Here are links to 3 prior blogs we have posted on this subject :

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/did-the-state-farm-vs-ms-ag-hood-case-settle-2608/#comment-1153

 **Update-here is the pdf of the agreement posted by the Sun Herald:

http://media.sunherald.com/smedia/2008/08/07/06/state_farm.source.prod_affiliate.77.pdf


Sentencing date set in Scruggs Bribery case

May 30, 2008

The sentencing date for Scrugg’s and his son and Backstrom has been announced for July 2, 2008 (moved from initial date of June 18, 2008 per the following blog posts:

http://letterofapology.com/2008/05/30/scruggs-sentencing-set-for-july-2-and-other-updates

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/05/30/sentencing-roundup-weisss-looms-the-scruggs-gang-gets-a-date/

http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080529/NEWS/80529034

The www.letterofapology.com link (1st above) contains a copy of the judge’s order in the case and information about why the sentencing date was moved to July 2, 2008.

Here’s one more blog on the subject providing additional background info on the Scruggs case:

http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/213036-five-weeks-until-scruggs-learns-fate

Here’s a late edition- an interesting blog over at www.property-casualty.com which is National Underwriter’s editor Sam Friedman’s blog on many insurance issues that would interest many of you:

http://www.property-casualty.com/2008/05/how_the_mighty_have_fallen.html


State Farm Seeks Dismissal on Rigsby False Claim Act/KLG update/ Levee Break (Sher) decision including Overhead and Profit issues

April 9, 2008

It sure is difficult to get to work these past few days with all of the breaking claims news involving Katrina cases.

First we have developments with State Farm’s move to have the Rigsby Whistleblower (False Claim Act )case dismissed, the attorneys removed which actually comes as no surprise after the decision last week that the Katrina Litigation Group (KLG which picked up where SKG- Scruggs Katrina Group left off) could not represent the remaining policyholders on their pending claims nor could the Rigsby documents any longer be used. The surprising news which also should have been anticipated was that State Farm says they have filed a counter suit against them. If you missed the news last week which I didn’t have time to blog about on those actions- just view this topic and this carrier press release to catch up to speed on the court decision on the Rigsby’s and the KLG.

State Farm has released much information including information from the Rigsby’s depositions along with many court documents. Here is a link to their site with more documents than I’ve seen released on any of the blogs and forums thus far (thank you State Farm!):

http://www.statefarm.com/about/media/media_releases/rigsby.asp

I have to say that I am very pleased to see several of the insurance carriers posting their side of these stories/hot topics in the news with links to documents and their summary of the carrier position. Years ago when a staff manager, I found it very frustrating when you’d read bad press and could only speak “talking points”  and I often wondered why a carrier wouldn’t respond with more details than the very limited press releases. Things have changed post Katrina I feel sure due to today’s internet environment to include blogs,  forums, and in response to policyholder attorneys posting their side of the story on their websites. Their posts are most helpful to independents who have a very hard time locating information to keep up to date with developments on major hot claim topics and cases between assignments and this is going far to help educate us all rather than just reading bad press in non insurance related news articles, forums, and blogs.

One comment …. I hope the carriers do a better job at maintaining the archived stories on their websites rather than untimely removing them as MS AG Jim Hood did in December 2007 with his web redesign taking down many documents he had up against the carrier. If you missed it, here’s a news story that ran about his site taking down the documents( it’s by www.legalnewsline.com run Dec 2007). Leaves you to ask the question- why? I’ve heard folks guesses which include this was within weeks of Trent Lott’s retirement and the Scruggs indictments. Is there something he didn’t want us to view any longer? I have no idea but the timing is certainly interesting. Also- wasn’t it January 2008 (yes it was- here is a news story that ran when this happened at www.insurancejournal.com and here is a link to that story here when he reopened the criminal investigation against the carrier? Something he didn’t want them to be able to link to any longer? Again, no idea! In addition. many of the links in forum blogs that were connected to the Scruggs Katrina group no longer work since they have pulled that site down now making it frustrating I’m sure for folks trying to read through former blogs that contained links to any of those documents referred to in posts.

In addition to reading State Farm’s official website with all of the documents you could want to read, run over to Rossmiller’s insurance coverage blog here for great details and opinions from an Insurance carrier attorney point of view, over here to FOLO for more outstanding information. I particularly enjoyed the Folo comment on the release of an aircraft carrier group of court filings having grown up myself as a Navy brat with my dad serving on numerous aircraft carriers so it was quite easy to envision the author’s description. Once you view the State Farm link above and see all the documents- no doubt you’ll agree with the comparison! Finally, the Sun Herald has several news stories up on the topic to include a quote by a Rigsby attorney you’ll definitely not want to miss-here on page 2 of the story. There are links in the story to about 4 other stories they’ve done on the case as well.

Before I move on to the Sher case, I want to point out this comment on the State Farm press release “State Farm has filed a counterclaim against the Rigsbys seeking damages for their admitted, unauthorized, theft of information from State Farm, in violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.” I didn’t know what that act was so doing a search for more information, I found this article by a law firm out of FL which addresses it and shows the fines and the departments having a right to investigate the fraud and abuse: click here to view it. I am curious if the Rigsby’s did this with several attorneys present as the State Farm site info says, would those other participants also be held to this act? Would the Rigsby’s then have an action they can file against the folks that were there acting as their counsel who didn’t tell them about this act or what they were getting themselves in to? It looks like this allegation if upheld will lead to years of more news on these issues, possible fines and sentencing depending on the subsections violated if this located article is up to date. It looks like there is MUCH we still don’t know about what really happened and when (see blog discussions and court docs- did they first meet with Scruggs in Feb 06, Dec 05, Oct 05…when?)

The second major claims news story deals with the levee break decision in the Sher case. Many of the blogs are reporting on the decision but not commenting on a concern many of us in claims have regarding the decision on page 25 where the judge allows 25% for overhead and profit and 20% for basically unforeseen contingency damages due to “unopposed” testimony of the insureds expert. Page 25 also discusses comments about “water hammer” damage which after over 30 years in claims, I have not heard that term used from the claims side. Someone want to enlighten us on that? Going back to the overhead and profit issues and trying to figure out why Lafayette’s Insurance counsel  did not oppose the plaintiff expert testimony, I am curious if that was a calculated move due to the other overhead and profit suit I posted about (click here) on the 20% standard used for overhead and profit on insurance claims by most carriers? They may have just preferred to let this particular claim settle and then those decisions be addressed under the other suit which named numerous carriers. I’d have to go back and look at that to see if Lafayette was one of them but in any case, it would be strictly a guess only. I tried to find the volume referred to by the judge in the  Louisiana Office of State Facility Planning and Control and couldn’t find it on a google search but did find an instruction memo they did release about hurricane damage to state buildings here written in Sept 2005 after Rita and it sure doesn’t sound like they  were letting contractors by with just adding 20% for contingency damages and expenses when you read their comments about inspections on contractors estimates and inspections required on the progress on repair projects. Without being able to review the exact Volume referred to by the plaintiff’s expert as discussed by the judge in his decision, it sure is hard to understand what that has to do with insurance practices and general insurance claim settlement standards isn’t it? You will find the entire decision ruling on the validity of the  flood policy exclusion language on the Sher case here at Rossmiller’s blog on the Sher decision as well as his supplemental blog adding more information found here.

All input appreciated on these cases and the overhead and profit issues addressed by the Sher decision. Just reply below.


Cori Rigsby January 2008 Deposition- Hoped to Remain Anonymous -Let’s Compare

March 29, 2008

Attorney David Rossmiller  has posted a newer January 2008 deposition for Cori Rigsby taken after her loss of income from the Katrina Scruggs Group (now Katrina Litigation Group).

This should provide interesting weekend reading and comparision to an earlier deposition we’d posted taken in November prior to Scruggs indictment and all the events which have taken place. At the time of the earlier deposition, they were still being paid going into their second year.

I’ll post any interesting comparisons between the two if there are any major discrepancies between the two. See Rossmiller’s 3/28/2008 post (click here) for his comments regarding her January 08 testimony that she hoped to remain anonymous (hard to believe when her earlier deposition said she reported it to State Farm the day after the data dump weekend…also consider the number of associates they brought in to help with the data dump weekend). Here is a link to our prior blog on Rigsby’s earlier deposition if you want to read both for yourself to compare the two. Wouldn’t it be great to have a copy of ALL of the depositions they both have given (Kerri and Cori) and compare the details of ALL of the depositions? I’d volunteer my time to compare them all if anyone has links to all of them for viewing. There remains a big question as I believe Rossmiller points out as to when they began their relationship with Scruggs- December 2005 or February 2006 as they testified to although this differs with other info available. That would be a major development if they pin down the fact they have provided inaccurate information on the initial meeting dates as many suspect (two additional months of their access to files and documenting their allegations?)

So what do you think about this more current deposition? As an adjuster or adjusting firm, are you glad to see these whistleblowing sisters have lost their income they were getting at a time that many experienced claim adjusters and managers were without income after no major storms in 06/07 while the Rigsby’s were drawing 150K for little to no work as they testified to in earlier depositions? Do you agree or disagree with Rossmiller’s guess that the Rigsby’s careers are “radioactive” in the independent adjusting or staff adjusting/management field? How about as public adjusters should they make a decision to flip if they cannot get employment again on the independent/staff side of claims?


Dickie Scruggs- Navy Fighter Pilot? Carl Horowitz article about Scruggs Career Up in Smoke

March 29, 2008

I ran across this article today by Carl Horowitz– very colorful by the way- summarizing the Dickie Scruggs saga and fall from grace. It’s an excellent detailed summary. I was very disappointed to read about his history as a Naval fighter pilot which I wasn’t aware of. I’m curious if anyone knows if he did 20 years in the Navy and if so if his military retirement and medical benefits would be jeopardized by the felony he’s pled guilty to? This article was written pre- son Zach Scruggs pleading guilty in the case but is still an outstanding summary of major litigation in the Scruggs law firm history.

Many of you who are members over at ClaimSmentor know that this mentoring project was started and dedicated in honor and memory of my mentor and best friend, my dad who served proudly for 35 years in the Navy as an aviation maintenance officer- AIMD- and I hate to think that anyone with a similar background and training could have done what Scruggs has plead guilty to. Here’s a link to the ClaimSmentor ABOUT US  page dedicating the project in my father’s honor if you aren’t aware of that.

Please comment if you know more about the number of years Scruggs served in the Navy and if it was 20 years if his retirement would be withheld as a result of this conviction (the loss of the income would be minor to Scruggs I’m sure but it’s the honor of it all I’m curious about). I’ve read alot about his history as discussed in this article with Presidential candidate John McCain and wonder now if they met while serving in the Navy.