Late afternoon on Thursday, May 15, Magistrate Judge Robert Walker produced an order about State Farm seeking documents from the Scruggs/Rigsby Gal document theft consortium.
This is a huge hammer that forces Scruggs to disclose a variety of things that he likely will not want to including all the docs the Rigsby Gals stole, what he disclosed to ABC’s 20/20, Scruggs’ “secret source” at State Farm in Bloomington, all docs surrounding Brian Ford, and any secret interests he might have in ongoing litigation.
Request No. 5 seeks documents concerning the American Broadcast Company pertaining
to State Farm and Hurricane Katrina. The objections to this request are that it is overbroad, that
it seeks documents which are irrelevant, not reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of
admissible evidence, are subject to work-product protection, and are available elsewhere. As
State Farm points out, the Court has previously ordered Scruggs’employees/clients the Rigsby
sisters, to produce documents evidencing their communications with the media [Order 563], and
the Court finds no reason why the Scruggses should be treated differently. Although it appears
the McIntoshes’ were not even clients of the Scruggs group at the time, the Scruggses clearly
used State Farm documents, including the McIntosh claim engineering reports, for purposes of
the ABC 20/20 broadcast in August 2006. The Court will limit the request to documents
evidencing communications with the media leading up to, including, or in any way related to the
20/20 broadcast, and all documents which the Scruggses provided to the media in connection
with that investigation/broadcast. With that limitation, Richard and Zach Scruggs are ordered to
produce the documents requested in Request No. 5.
Request No. 9 seeks all documents concerning communications between the Scruggses
and Brian Ford, including any proposed or actual employment, reimbursement, indemnity and/or
compensation. Brian Ford is the engineer who prepared the October 5, 2005 engineering report
on the McIntosh property. The Court orders Richard and Zach Scruggs to produce the
documents requested in Request No. 9.
Request No. 10 seeks all documents concerning communications between the Scruggses
and “any State Farm employee who worked on any Hurricane Katrina claim.” The Court will
limit this request to documents concerning communications in any way related to the Rigsbys or
the McIntosh claim, and as limited, the Court orders Richard and Zach Scruggs to produce the
Request No. 11 seeks all documents concerning communications between the Scruggses
and “any person affiliated with or employed by any media outlet pertaining to or arising out of
Hurricane Katrina, including without limitation any documents provided by [the Scruggses].” As
with Request No. 10, the Court will require production only of documents concerning such
communications in any way related to the Rigsbys or the McIntosh claim.
Request No. 17 seeks all documents represented to the Scruggses to have been “taken
from, removed from, copied from, forwarded from, or downloaded from, directly or indirectly,
any State Farm office or State Farm computer system, including, without limitation emails,
pertaining to or arising out of Hurricane Katrina.” With the exception of documents produced by
State Farm in discovery in this case, the Court orders Richard and Zach Scruggs to produce the
documents requested in Request No. 17.
Request No. 23 seeks documents “picked up or otherwise retrieved by Richard Scruggs
from a highly placed source at State Farm on a trip to Bloomington, Illinois, which Richard
Scruggs referenced in a March 30, 2006 interview.” The Scruggses’ objection to this request is
that it is “not reasonably calculated to lead to discoverable evidence” in the McIntosh case and
that the documents are privileged “to the extent that they were provided by individuals who are
clients or former clients of Messrs. Scruggs.” The Court has been provided nothing upon which
to base a finding of privilege, and orders Richard Scruggs to produce the requested documents.
Request No. 25 seeks all documents concerning any financial interest the Scruggses have
in this or any other State Farm-related Hurricane Katrina matter following their withdrawal as
counsel of record. The Scruggses object that the request is not reasonably calculated to lead to
discoverable information in this case. The Court finds that the information sought might have
bearing on the Scruggses’ bias or credibility, and will require the Scruggses to produce the
This was done at the Magistrate Judge level, so Scruggs can appeal this to Judge Senter. Unfortunately, Judge Senter has not been Scruggs’ biggest fan of late.