The November 20, 2007 deposition of Kerry Rigsby in the McIntosh v. State Farm case makes for some really interesting reading. Here’s a pdf of the deposition so you can see for yourself.
Highlights of the deposition are listed below.
* Check out this exchange on page 15.
Q: He [Dickie Scruggs] was going to give you advice on what to do with the documents you had stolen?
Q: And by then you had stolen what kind of documents from State Farm?
A: In February of ’06, I had obtained the McIntosh report and some other documents. I can’t recall the specifics. I believe it was some protocol that had been issued through State Farm, possibly e-mails that I had received, directives.
This is a somewhat more direct variation of the "Was it raining or sunny when you killed your parents with an ax" question every deponent is warned about. I may incorporate this question and answer into my deposition prep as an example — "if someone asks you if you hired a lawyer to tell you what to do with stolen documents, what are you going to say?"
* Note that on page 2 of the deposition, Sid Backstrom of the Scruggs Law Firm (now under indictment in the alleged bribery case) says he is there representing the plaintiffs, the McIntoshes. Another lawyer from another firm was defending Rigsby’s deposition. But when the questioning turned to whether Rigsby used her laptop to access State Farm claims files while meeting with Dickie Scruggs in a trailer (see pages 24-36), Backstrom stepped in and instructed her not to answer on grounds of attorney-client privilege. (See also around pages 180-190 for more on the assertion of attorney-client privilege).
The attorney conducting the questioning appears to have handled this with a far more even temper than I would have displayed under the same circumstances. The attorney-client privilege applies to communications, including non-verbal acts intended as communications, such as nodding your head, giving your lawyer the thumbs-up, and the like. The fact that your lawyer told you to drive down to Wendy’s to pick up a large fries and a side salad does not mean that the fact that you traveled from the lawyer’s office to Wendy’s is protected from disclosure, particularly if it becomes relevant in a lawsuit whether it was you behind the wheel of a car that sideswiped 15 parked cars along the route. Driving your car is not communications. Neither is using a laptop to access claims files, even if it was done from your lawyer’s trailer and at his instruction, especially when the act of logging onto a password protected computer system creates a record accessible to parties outside the attorney-client relationship, thereby waiving any expectation of secrecy in the act, if not in the communications themselves.
Note that starting on page 36, her attorneys let her answer questions about which documents she gave to Scruggs and when. It was only what happened in the trailer — from the questions, it appears State Farm believes Scruggs may have plugged a USB drive or other form of memory device into the computer to store the accessed information — that Backstrom objected to.
* Dickie Scruggs provided three different law firms, in addition to his own representation and that of the now Scruggs(less) Katrina Group, to represent Kerri and Cori Rigsby. (Page 42).
* She says that Scruggs never had verbally agreed to indemnify her for any damages that she might be assessed in the Renfroe v. Rigsby case: "I just believe he will take care of it, but I don’t know that for a fact." (Page 45). This answer, to me, is somewhat different from the answer provided to Judge Acker’s query about when Scruggs entered into an indemnity agreement with the Rigsby sisters. See the answer here, and compare for yourself.
* From the questions on pages 49-50, one can infer that State Farm believes that either Kerri or Cori Rigsby told supervisors she thought someone in the office was working for Scruggs as a mole and she couldn’t believe it, and that she hated Scruggs. The questions and answers on page 51-52 show that Kerri Rigsby’s mother knew Scruggs and was recommending in the fall of 2005 that she and Cori should go see him to show him claims documents they had already taken.
* She has no career plans for after the consulting contract with the Scruggs Katrina Group is done. Q: "You certainly won’t go back to insurance adjusting, will you?" A: "No. I don’t believe I will." (Page 53). We know from other information, as discussed in a previous post (see the second item), that the renamed Katrina Litigation Group has stopped paying the sisters, although this does not mean that Dickie Scruggs himself has stopped paying them.
* She says that, on pages 64-67, while still working for Renfroe, it is "probable" she lied in every one of the Katrina mediations she attended, including after she had formed an attorney-client relationship with Scruggs. (Apparently the allegedly probable lies were in favor of State Farm).
* She has no information that State Farm shredded any documents responsive to grand jury subpoenas and says it is customary in claims operations to shred documents that are not necessary (page 70). She has no information that specific State Farm employees ever shredded any documents. (same page).
* See beginning on page 100 or so for information about the "data dump" weekend. Although the testimony is that the sisters pulled documents using engineering report rosters of claims, State Farm, in other pleadings on file in the McIntosh case, has provided documentation from computer records that the files were accessed in order of the names as they appeared in the McFarland mass complaint (the McFarland cases are those that were part of the big settlement in January 2007 of 640 SKG cases against State Farm).
* Pages 142-143 relate what sounds like a pretty bizarre incident of investigators from the state Attorney General’s office photographing the license plates of State Farm employees who were attending a meeting called to talk about the bad press State Farm was receiving. Apparently the sisters had told Dickie Scruggs of the meeting, and he told the AG’s office.
* See starting on page 198 for a description of some Inspector Clouseau-like tape recording of one of the Rigsby sisters’ bosses.
* She testified that, for a brief time, she was employed both by Renfroe and the Scruggs Katrina Group. (See page 247).
Remarkable stuff. There’s more in there, of course. Read it yourself and see what you think.