In Alabama, there’s drama on the federal bench

Actually, this is an Alabama case with both feet in Mississippi. Two sisters from Ocean Springs, Kerri and Cori Rigsby, were employed by E.A. Renfroe, a Birmingham-based company which handles claims for State Farm Insurance Co. The sisters became convinced State Farm was fraudulently handling claims arising from Hurricane Katrina, and supplied thousands of documents to Scruggs, the well-known trial lawyer and brother-in-law of Sen. Trent Lott. They were found out, fired, and went to work for Scruggs as $150,000-a-year consultants.

Renfroe sued the sisters for breach of confidentiality agreements, and Acker granted an injunction directing Scruggs to turn the documents over to Renfroe’s attorneys. Instead, Scruggs sent them to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who was also investigating State Farm.

It was possession of the information, not the information itself, that was at issue here. Both Hood and Scruggs already had copies of the documents; Renfroe, although it had the same information it its database, didn’t know which records the Rigsbys had copied.

Acker hit the ceiling. Scrugg’s “brazen disregard” of his injunction made no sense, he wrote in a stinging order finding Scruggs in criminal contempt, unless, as Renfroe had suggested, “Scruggs and Hood had teamed up to bully State Farm into civil and criminal settlements” by playing a guessing game with the documents.

Southern Political Report
10/29/7