The prospect of fame and fortune motivated former insurance adjusters Cori and Kerri Rigsby to accuse State Farm of defrauding policyholders after Hurricane Katrina, the insurance company says in court documents that include testimony from two of the Rigsbys’ former friends and co-workers.

Two of their former co-workers on Katrina claims say the Rigsbys talked about landing a book deal and wondered who would play them in a movie. The co-workers, adjuster Tammy Hardison and her assistant, Dana Lee, said they observed no wrongdoing by State Farm while they adjusted Katrina claims.

All four women worked for independent adjusting firm E.A. Renfroe, which provided adjusters to State Farm after Katrina.

A federal judge later disqualified the Rigsbys and attorneys associated with Scruggs from participating in Katrina cases against State Farm, finding the attorneys had behaved unethically because Scruggs paid the Rigsbys consulting fees after they lost their State Farm jobs in June 2006.

The Rigsbys are trying to find new attorneys. State Farm introduced the pre-trial testimony of the two other Renfroe adjusters as evidence that they should not be allowed to retain the Texas firm Provost Umphrey. Provost Umphrey has signed on most of Scruggs’ previous policyholder clients and also wanted to consider representing the Rigsbys in their fraud lawsuit against State Farm.

State Farm argues the law firm would have a conflict of interest in representing both policyholders and the Rigsbys. The company also says Provost Umphrey’s representation of the Rigsbys would violate the judge’s disqualification order, which applied to the Rigsbys and documents they took from State Farm.
Sun Herald
7/29/8