Judge rules for State Farm: bars attorneys from litigation and disallows Rigsby testimony (4/7/08)
U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter ruled Friday that Katrina Litigation Group (KLG) attorneys cannot represent plaintiffs in McIntosh v. State Farm or any other Katrina litigation filed against State Farm in Mississippi federal court. He also barred testimony from Cori and Kerri Rigsby, two independent adjusters who handled State Farm claims following Katrina, in any cases involving KLG or the Scruggs Katrina Group (SKG). State Farm is pleased with the judge’s ruling.
Originally the SKG, the KLG was formed after plaintiff attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs was indicted and later pled guilty to bribing a judge. The Rigsby sisters accessed State Farm systems and copied thousands of documents. Afterwards, they each were hired by SKG as "litigation consultants" for $150,000 per year.
Senter called SKG payments to the Rigsby sisters for consulting work a “sham.” Although Scruggs made the arrangements with the Rigsbys, Senter said the other attorneys’ “failure to take timely and reasonable remedial steps or to object to this arrangement amounts to a ratification of Scruggs’s actions.” Read the entire opinion and State Farm’s motion.
McIntosh v. State Farm is a case resulting from damage in Mississippi related to Hurricane Katrina. The plaintiffs in the case, whose home was insured by State Farm, contend State Farm chose to reject an engineering report indicating moderate damage to their home was due to wind, and instead chose to evaluate their claim based on an engineering report indicating the majority of damage was due to flooding. Plaintiffs will have 45 days to retain new counsel.
State Farm has always been interested in resolving these claims and has willingly participated in mediation, legal settlement negotiations and the Mississippi Insurance Department claim reevaluation program. We are still willing to work with our customers to resolve our differences and move forward.