Scruggs Nation, Day 21: State Farm files motion to disqualify former Scruggs Katrina Group

One thing that shocked me was one of the entries in the notes of Brian Ford, an engineer who had done a key engineering report on the property of Thomas McIntosh — remember that his report was rejected by State Farm because the report said the damage to the property was due to wind only, because I am coming back to this point. The SKG and others say this is evidence of State Farm’s fraud — that it changed engineering reports to get the conclusion it wanted — uncovered flood damage — and also that it avoided its obligation to pay wind damage and instead pushed the damage onto federally backed flood insurance. Again, please remember this, because I am coming back to it.

Now I have seen some of Brian Ford’s redacted notes before. I wrote about them in this post earlier this month. But Judge Robert Walker on December 12 required Ford to turn over the unredacted notes, and wow, there was a lot of stuff missing from the redacted version. I know this because Exhibit 36 to the State Farm motion is a good chunk of his unredacted notes, and you can see them by clicking here.

Look on the page with the Bates stamp Ford 0012 in the lower right corner. At the top of that page, Ford’s notes recount an apparent conversation between Special Assistant Attorney General Courtney Schloemer and an SKG attorney: “they agreed that a criminal conviction could help civil cases.” If you don’t believe me, you go read it for yourself, that’s what it says! An assistant to Jim Hood discussing with a private litigant the potential indictment and conviction of the other party and how that might aid that litigant. If the Ford notes accurately reflect what happened, that is outrageous. (NOTE: my guess would be this conversation contemplated an indictment of a State Farm official, not Dickie Scruggs).

Recall also that Schloemer is implicated in the dealings involving Hood and Scruggs, whereby Scruggs sent his copies of the Renfroe documents taken by the Rigsby sisters to Hood, in what Judge William Acker said was a deliberate violation of his order to turn them over to Renfroe’s lawyers. (Hood had his own copies and didn’t need Scruggs’). After Hood and Scruggs had a conversation about this plan immediately after Acker issued his injunction on December 8, 2006, Schloemer on December 12, 2006 sent a letter to Scruggs saying she was “not comfortable that the protective measures put in place by the Court will be effective in keeping these documents out of the grasp of State Farm” and asked Scruggs to send the documents to Hood, which he did that same day. See Acker’s criminal contempt order, page 8.

David Rossmiller
Insurance Coverage Blog