The Trailer Lawyers yesterday filed an emergency motion for a stay of the "whistleblower" case, Ex rel. Rigsby. Here it is. They want things on hold — probably so they don’t have to waste any time on a case they may wave goodbye to — until the motion to disqualify them is decided. I liked this paragraph:
State Farm’s disqualification motion is based upon the misguided premise that GBM and BFRG are vicariously responsible and can be disqualified for acts about which they had no or incomplete knowledge, and did not in any way direct. The motion is over-brimming with innuendo ad [sic, I think it’s supposed be "and" but I like it anyway] inflammatory rhetoric, and lacks any factual basis that GBM and BFRG are unqualified to continue this representation. This motion is nothing more than a transparent attempt to focus attention away from the fraud State Farm perpetrated on its own policyholders and on the federal government, and create a side-show big enough to camouflage its own obvious wrongdoing.
A couple things: "had no or incomplete knowledge, and did not in any way direct." What does that mean? That when Cori Rigsby fired up the laptop, they thought they were going to be taking an online survey about kitchen products? "Hey, this is the strangest looking ad for a blender I ever saw!" Think about it: "my knowledge that they were going to illegally access documents was incomplete because I didn’t really know what was in the documents!" Consider the statement that they did not direct anything: "Hi, I’m Dickie Scruggs, welcome to the first meeting of what we’ll call the Trailer Lawyer Katrina Group. Now, everyone look for the cardboard footprints with your name on them, and stand right there, put these blindfolds on and we’re gonna have quite a surprise for you!!"
Also, consider that last sentence — if it’s a side-show, I’d say the side-show is working, wouldn’t you? As you read the emergency motion, you can see they think there is a very real chance they will be disqualified. As all this goes on and intensifies, I wonder how long until the Rigsby sisters figure enough is enough, that they’ve been led around long enough, and just spill their guts? The day will come when they will talk.
Here’s State Farm’s response to the motion to say proceedings. Two interesting things. One, it claims the Trailer Lawyers are already disqualified under the terms of Judge Senter’s order disqualifying the Katrina(less) Litigation Group. Two, it doesn’t oppose a stay, but says the motion to dismiss the case on jurisdiction grounds needs to be decided first.
The fact that State Farm lawyers turned this brief around in a few hours tells me State Farm has learned a lot about controlling the news cycle and effectively promoting its position. Compare that to 15 months ago, and it’s like night and day. Take a good look, ladies and gents, because what you are seeing, what you have seen the last nine or 10 months, is one of the most sophisticated and successful corporate litigation and public relations strategies you will see in your lifetime. I mean, for a while Scruggs had it all goin’ on with linking public relations with litigation, but this rivals any effort ever put out by Scruggs.
UPDATE: Someone asked me why Todd Graves’ name is not on the emergency motion, although the name of his firm is. I don’t know.
SECOND UPDATE: This is as good a place as any to scoop up all the pleadings that have been filed in recent days, not all of which I have linked to previously. In addition to those above, here are:
The counterclaims are interesting to read, make sure to check them out — civil conspiracy, breach of contract, trade secret theft, computer fraud, common law fraud. Yikes. I don’t think the Rigsby sisters had any idea what they were getting into, that they were going to be in the middle of a Lawyer Riot. They certainly wouldn’t be the only ones of whom this could be said in the Katrina Follies, but ordinary people who get caught up in the machinery of litigation, it just grinds your bones to dust, till there’s nothing left of you.