Recent Cori Rigsby deposition: hoped to remain anonymous, continue adjusting for rest of life

The Rigsby sisters better hope that False Claims Act lawsuit pays off, they are just about out of meal tickets.

Here is a copy of the latest Cori Rigsby deposition.  It was taken in January 2008 in the Renfroe v. Rigsby lawsuit, and unfortunately a great many sections were removed — apparently these sections are sealed because the documents the sisters took from State Farm were being discussed.  So some of the really good stuff is missing, probably the stuff that got the prosecutors in the criminal contempt of court proceedings against Dickie Scruggs in Alabama so excited.

What is left, a lot of it we knew already.  But surprisingly to me, it appears she actually had a notion that she was going to funnel these documents to Scruggs, remain anonymous, and continue adjusting for State Farm for the rest of her life.  Wow.  This begs the question of why you would want to continue adjusting for a company you claim engaged in fraudulent practices, but that issue aside, if she believed she would not be found out, she was either naive or duped.

In reading the transcript, she confirms that the Scruggs(less) Katrina Group, now known as the Katrina Litigation Group, cut the Rigsby sisters loose from their $150,000 a year "consulting agreements," citing lack of money to pay them. (Could just be an excuse, some in the SKG were against hiring the sisters in the first place).  Scruggs, you remember, wanted them hired, allegedly to take care of them after people at State Farm and Renfroe began to figure out they were spies for Scruggs.  But, the transcript says, when the KLG said adios to the sisters, he didn’t step up and agree to continue paying them.  I wonder what they are going to do now — not much chance of getting back into claims adjusting.  I felt kind of sorry for Cori when, during the deposition, her phone rang and it was her realtor — she is selling her house. 

It was interesting that she continued to deny having spoken with Scruggs about taking documents from State Farm prior to February 2006.  The date is significant because in December of 2005, according to a deposition in the same case of Lee Harrell, Mississippi deputy commissioner of insurance, Scruggs had a meeting with then-Commissioner George Dale where Scruggs came in with some grandiose scheme that frankly sounds like Scruggs’ intellectual train had left the rails, wherein Dale was supposed to support Scruggs’ move to extort some $500 million from State Farm for a Katrina compensation fund over which Scruggs would preside, throwing out some shekels to the people while no doubt making a few dollars for himself.  Dale refused.  Think about this for a moment — Himself wanted to set himself up as some kind of autocrat, some Katrina Czar.  It just sounds so utterly — what’s the word I’m looking for here — nuts!

But also in that meeting, according to the Harrell deposition, Scruggs claimed to have insiders at State Farm that had access to documents, just like in the tobacco litigation.  Why did Scruggs say this if he had not talked to the Rigsby sisters until two months later?  We know Scruggs represented the sisters’ mother in her insurance claim, and it may be that based on conversations between the two, he had reason to believe he would have the sisters’ cooperation.  For example, their mother could have told him the sisters were extremely troubled by certain documents, and even related what the contents of those documents were. 

Go ahead and read through it yourself.  When I read these Rigsby sisters depositions, one thing sticks out time and time again, and that is the sheer audacity of hiring material witnesses, that were testifying in civil cases and before grand juries, as "consultants" of a law firm.  Being paid by someone doesn’t necessarily buy your testimony — if you work for a company and continue to draw your check, that doesn’t mean if you give testimony favorable to them it’s a bribe.  But you worked there already.  This is completely different. They take documents to support Scruggs’ litigation, quit the place where the took the documents from and then he hires them at a very high fee for jobs at which they have no set duties and no set hours, and at a time when they are to offer testimony against the party from whom they took the documents.

Looking back over this, I wonder, would they do it again? 

40 Comments

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40 Responses to Recent Cori Rigsby deposition: hoped to remain anonymous, continue adjusting for rest of life

  1. outofstateadjuster

    I recall that prior testimony (Riggs or Scruggs) was that he had agreed to defend and indemnify them. What’s the prospects for them suing Scruggs based on his refusal to carry through on that? He may be going to jail but suspect he still has money

  2. David Rossmiller

    Although she was vague on the details, she indicated that she thinks there is still an indemnity agreement for damages, and someone is paying those attorneys, although you many remember the post recently where I mentioned that one set of the Rigsby lawyers had dropped out because they weren’t being paid.
    The termination of the consulting agreement is different. I can’t see the Rigsby sisters having really great employment prospects — they are trained as adjusters, but obviously that kind of work is out. Initially, I thought they might open a real consulting business where they use their expertise in claims adjusting on behalf of policyholders. But my guess is they are so radioactive no one would want to be affiliated with them for a long time to come.

  3. xmarksx

    Caveat venditor – Your empathy is admirable. I have no doubt they (the sisters) envisioned themselves dining with Scruggs for many years, then stepping-out and selling their wares as expert witnesses.

  4. MS Smitty

    On more than one occasion after reading these various Rigsby depositions I’ve come away with the gut feeling that their mother played a larger role, at least initially, than has been discovered or divulged.
    The mother had the long time pre-Katrina relationship with Scruggs; the mother was present at nearly all the critical pre-data dump meetings between her daughters and Scruggs; Scruggs was representing the mother, etc.
    What I’ve not read, or don’t recall reading, is if Scruggs had any pre-Katrina knowledge that Mother Rigsby’s daughters were gainfully employed as, specifically, insurance adjusters — recall that the sisters had met Scruggs earlier in their lives per one deposition — and that upon remembering after the storm he pro-actively sought out Mother Rigsby so that he could initiate contact with her adjuster daughters. In other words, based on the lucrative results of his past experiences did Scruggs throw out a net, did he prospect, for potential “whistle blowers”?
    Or, did Mother Rigsby birddog her daughters in from the field for Scruggs on her own after hearing some of their recountings about troubling behavior in the post storm adjustment environment.
    Obviously there could be any number of scenarios we’ve not heard about that eventually hooked the sisters up with Scruggs.
    Fast forward to today. Now having lost almost all they so shortly “gained” from their wild side walk with Scruggs, with Scruggs discredited, with their own credibility maybe irreparably damaged, with their incomes gone and their legal bills no longer being paid by the deeper pockets of 3rd party payors, etc — I keep wondering why the sisters haven’t rolled on Scruggs and come clean about their own roles while, in the wake of Scruggs’ guilty plea, it is probably an opportune time to do so.
    Then I keep coming back to their mother. Is that who the sisters are protecting? Are the sisters reluctant to spill all the beans about conspiring with Scruggs because to do so would expose their mother to legal ramifications?

  5. Entertained

    I have often wondered the same thing — what in the world was Scruggs thinking when he hired his key witnesses, paying them lotsa money to do nothing in particular? I’m not sure what he was thinking, but I know what he couldn’t possibly have been thinking: he couldn’t have been thinking the case would ever actually go to trial, because no lawyer in his right mind would purposely set up that neon-sign of an impeachment opportunity if he thought a jury would ever really get exposed to it. Instead, he must have been convinced that this “whistleblower” episode could play out the same way the tobacco one did, if only he could keep all his ducks in a row. If that meant he had to shell out a few hundred G’s a year to a couple of the ducks while the thing was pending, so what? He’d obviously make it all up at the back end. I betcha the Rigsby sibs had huge stars in their eyes over the attention they were getting from ole Dickie. Can you imagine what he must have said to them about the vitally important cards that fate had dealt them, and how it was their destiny to ensure that the little guy (not to mention a countryful of taxpayers) weren’t exploited and abused by Big Insurance? And, that they alone could fulfill that crucial mission? Boy, how times change. I wonder how long it’s been since Dickie Scruggs even thought about the Rigsby sisters at all.

  6. M. Williams

    It is well established that Dickie Scruggs took information from me on April 15, 1994, and got documents from Nina Seltz, against Kentucky Court Orders, and that he executed a management of document discovery that was illegally perpetuated by learned and scholarly individuals, including those which joined ranks – against my own knowledge and interest – and were the heros of Mike Moore~s/Christine Gregoire~s MASTER SETTLEMENT. The rationale and m.o. of Scruggs in dealing with the Rigsby sisters is directly taken from the pages of the drill book on handling tobacco companies beginning in April 15, 1994.
    Do you actually imagine that two fawns of an unspecific idiomatic identity acted on their own to purloin hot documents under a theory of law – right vs wrong, perhaps, but not in the vien of conspiracy or some such dribble that is indicative of legal training. It`s silly.
    Barrett and Moore still harvest the wild grass of theoretical loopholes in ethics and law, and it will continue to allow the furtherance of inspection from legal bodies that actually care – well, ethics is one thing to care for, but looking for more of the same, as could be jointly in common, or conjointly uncommon, is bound to happen in Mississippi.
    But, if I understnd co-conspiracy, acting without legal theory, is pretty much a wild hair. This pair of boo-boos had a band-leader and the bank was the quid pro quo. D.Scruggs owns banks.
    Where on earth can there be anything in law except in the hearts and minds of lawyers? Don, Mike – I know how you work. What surprises me is you

  7. Nomiss

    I agree with M. Williams that Scruggs and Moore had planned to manipulate Katrinna cases using the model of the Tobacco settlement. Except in this settlement, there would be no Arbitration Panel, Scruggs himself would act as the arbitration panel.

  8. Underdog

    One would almost feel sorry for these sisters. BUT, from the testimony it appears the friends who helped with the data dump now have had to hire lawyers. With friends like these…. How many policyholders had false hopes about a big win against their insurance companies because Scruggs and company promised them the world? And how many scoffed at reasonable offers they did receive, thinking they’d get millions with Scruggs’ help? Now they’re stuck with “star” witnesses and attorneys with no credibility whatsoever and may have to wait years for any money. How many employees from how many insurance companies were dogged by Jim Hood and in fear of being charged with a crime for nothing more than doing their jobs? A crime. Prison. Naw, I don’t feel sorry for them. What goes around, comes around.

  9. MORE COWBELL

    Would they do it again? Ask the whistleblowers from Enron and WorldCom ($11 billion! accounting fraud). From the talks the WorldCom whistleblower is making on her publicity tour (she lives in Rankin County and has written a good book) all women whistleblowers say they would do it again. The men usually say they probably wouldn’t. Women are known for stronger ethics.

  10. Underdog

    Enron and WorldCom devised plans to commit fraud and bilk people out of billions. After two and 1/2 years of crawling up insurance company arses with the help of stolen documents, the most anyone has found is that, after hundreds of thousands of claims were filed for a loss that occured on one day, some mistakes were made. I don’t buy the women have stronger ethics argument, either. P.S. I’m a woman.

  11. MORE COWBELL

    A shout out to Rebecca Mowbray, business writer for the Times-Pic in N.O. She won the Enterprise Award from the leading organization for business journalists out of 842 entries. Her story on “Same House, Same Repairs” detailed the insurance companies shifting costs substantially to the National Flood Ins. Program, rather than the insurance company coffers.
    Can we also get some recognition for Anita, Patsy and Alyssa for their coverage of the First National Bank of Scruggs? And, a writer waiting in the wings is a scribe for the Ole Miss Daily Mississippian.

  12. Cowbell, take it easy with the anti-insurance propaganda, the Scruggs is gone, no amount of false cheer will bring him back. These are all fine reporters, no doubt, all do very good work. The Mowbray story, however, if you read it, is based on limited anecdotal evidence from biased sources. What did the state insurance department do about theses facts? Were they adjudicated and found true and made the basis of a civil award that was not overturned? Was anyone prosecuted for this “fraud”? Could the facts noted have had other explanations than the ones pushed by Brian Martin and Gene Tayor. Don’t forget, I have won newspaper awards myself, I know how the game is played. I think there is another interesting story that should be done. How many millions of dollars has the US Attorney for S. Mississippi spent on investigating NFIP fraud and why has he found no evidence of it yet? Apparently AUSA Burkhalter won’t give it up because no one dares tell Trent and Gene there is nothing there. Who is going to write that story, about how the office is controlled by Trentlings?

  13. Ironic

    “Q. Are you Mr. Butts’ father.
    Scruggs: No, I’m not. I’m not Mr. Butts. Nor is Mike Moore. I may be subject to a paternity suit. But I am not Mr. Butts.”
    This is a clip of a FrontLine article. Was Scruggs really subject to a paternity suit? Did he mean this literally? I am not sure what the Mr. Butts questioning is about, so I do not understand the context of the question.
    Just wondering if Scruggs was doing more on his plane than negotiating settlements.
    Ironic

  14. Seacrest

    I don’t buy the women have stronger ethics argument, either. P.S. I’m a woman.
    I don’t buy it either and P.S. I’m a woman too.

  15. bellesouth

    I bet you do know how the game is played. Here you are working for a law firm who defends insurance companies. Of course, you or your sources wouldn’t be biased? Why don’t you tell us the answers to those rhetorical questions you ask, since you seem to know the answers already. Evidenty they were adjudicated and found true and made the basis of a civil award. It must have been overturned, uh? Congratulations on your awards, too. Did you misrepresent the facts to get these awards?

  16. Nomiss

    Well, David, I don’t think anyone else is going to write that story, so I guess you’ll have to do it.

  17. David Rossmiller

    Ironic, I know you are joking, but just so there are no misunderstandings, the context of the entire interview gives a different meaning to “paternity test.” Here’s the URL to cut and paste if anyone wants to read the transcript:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/settlement/interviews/scruggs.html

  18. Nomiss

    Who is Mr. Butts?

  19. WOW

    Bellesouth ~
    Go back to some other site with that garbage. How can your boy Dickie give it up in only four months and years and years later there is no criminal indictment for any carrier or any official at the NFIP? This is even with Mr. Hood and his minions (or chief minion Courtney). Guess what, there was an unprecedented flood event. Guess what else, private carriers never intended to cover flood.
    Look at the wind payments compared to the flood. You might be surprised by the results.
    Good post Underdog and again our thanks Mr. Rossmiller.

  20. David Rossmiller

    Almost forgot, Bellesouth, where have you been, hiding in the tall grass since the fall of Scruggs? Wow, what’s with the hostility, must have really struck a nerve. Try some yoga or something to chill out.
    I hope you show up at my speech at Miss. State to heckle me, it will be good entertainment for the crowd. Don’t forget, though, I get to say stuff back. I can tell you have absolutely no idea what my firm is about or how we make our dough and you are just guessing. Also, I do not claim to be unbiased, as I’ve said many times. In addition, I would point out I did not say the Mowbray story is made up, I point out that it is a small slice of the evidence, of the kind that newspaper contest judges, usually editors of various publications selected to review entries, really like. Lastly, I would point out I have given you numerous chances to learn to work and play well with others, and yet you insist on coming here and talking guff. If you’re going to insult me, come up with something funny or at least true. Good Lord, it is disappointing that this keeps happening.

  21. bellesouth

    Look Mr. Rossmiller, you come to Mississippi and you better be prepared! We ain’t the people you made us out to be. There’s a reason we don’t like Yankees and one of them is you. Best to visit http://www.mississippibelieveit.com/ before you come here.

  22. wow

    Belle, is that a threat? Can you really speak for all of Mississippi? You have no credibility at all.

  23. David Rossmiller

    Belle, I have to admit, that is better comedy. Me a Yankee? I’m from North Dakota. Wait’ll you hear my accent — pure Norwegian Upper Midwest. My favorite food is lutefisk — cod soaked in lye — try that out in New Yawk and see how it goes over. Mrs. Vanderbilt would faint, and Daddy Warbucks would call for an exterminator and the police! Why, the smell of it alone would make the good folks at Harvard lose their appetites for crumpets for a week.
    Round about the time of the Civil War, my people were in Europe trying to figure out how to get the heck out of there until someone came up with a great idea: “I know, let’s go to NoDak — it’s so cold in the winter no one will bother us and in the summer we can stay cool in the shade of the clouds of mosquitos.”
    Although when I was a kid, I did have a little dog named Yankee, come to think of it. But it was balanced out, my Mom had a horse name Dixie! Among my friends in school were a guy named Robert, one named “Big E.” and one named Lee — put it together and what do you have? Why, Robert E. Lee, of course!! My wife’s car was even made in Alabama, and our cat is named George in honor of that great Virginian, Gen. Washington. I’m not sure what you mean about what kind of people I made Mississippians out to be, Mississippians are nice people, everyone there has been great to me — with one or two notable exceptions.

  24. bellesouth

    Now, WOW, what kind of threat does that sound like? Given the respondents’ answer, it sounds like he is coming to Mississippi to tread [to press or beat with the feet so as to crush or injure; trample
    to oppress or subdue, as if by stepping on
    ] on it.

  25. David Rossmiller

    Belle, I believe you are trying to have some fun — geez, at least I hope so — but this site is not Festivus, which if you remember the Seinfeld episode “begins with the airing of grievances.” Enough is enough. If all you are going to talk is guff, go talk it somewhere else.

  26. wishbone

    the real dick scruggs has been exposed for the sociopath he became somewhere along the way. kudos to judge lackey, for sure. but, this didn’t have much of anything to do with a couple of men, a judge, a few lawyers, or a trail of angry folks. nope. what happened here was that GOD had a belly full of this trampling and trespassing on his holy ground. call it karma, call it the reap/sow thing, call it what goes around comes around. GOD takes a lot of crap from all of us, but when he’s had enough, well, game’s over. there should be a lesson here for every single human being. you just can’t go through life lying, cheating, committing violence against others (whether by physical assault or any of an untold myriad of other ways) without the house crashing down as a result. this is not about politics, who your brother-in-law is, whether you grew up poor, whether your parents divorced, whether you got one too many spankings when you were a kid. no. this is way more sinister.

  27. Underdog

    David,
    Now I’m picturing you typing away furiously in your puffy shirt. Wish I could be there for your speech. Will it conclude with the Feats of Strength?

  28. M. Williams

    IRONIC QUOTE; NOMISS concerning the identity in reality of Mr.Butts. During the many shootings by the ITV channel in UK, I met often with the film director, but the Producer of the DISPATCHES series (1995) had a final shoot with me in Ocean Springs. We talked Barrett and Butts.
    Peter Pringle, who was the Producer of the series based on the tobacco issue in Mississippi, finished shooting at Don Barrett´s enclave, and came back to shoot some footage with me in Ocean Springs. During this, we conversed at length about Mr Butts in vivo.
    Peter Pringle, who is a fine writer, lives in upper state NY and is a Brit who published CORNERED, a chronicle of big tobacco, and a better book, THOSE ARE REAL BULLETS.
    In many visits, the Butts name came up, it was clear that Barrett was the origin, and that`s his admission. He used FedX or UPS, but he sent at least one collection of stolen documents to Stanton Glantz, who wrote from them, THE CIGARETTE PAPERS and, with others, one entire JAMA journal in the summer of 1995.
    The sequence of events before Butts got his documents to Stanton Glantz is well known to me since Scruggs went to Orlando where he met Dr.Nina Seltz, long time friend of mine. Dick had his pilots put two boxes in his Lear, and returned to Destin, FL.
    On the ground there, he picked up a paralegal who spirited the documents to an old bank building in Pascagoula where there were half dozen copy machines, and, unknown to me, many dozens of copies of Nina~s documents [including the Brown and Williamson Documents] were copied and sent in various directions – the Mike Moore Assistant A.G~s, but also stacks to Glantz, at USFC, and some boys at JAMA.
    Scruggs did this against a TRO holding by the Kentucky Supreme Court from the lower trial court, Division 10, Judge Tom Wine. Both inplicitly and expressly, Scruggs was informed of many State TRO~s and Court Orders. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag, all you historians, but I absolutely knew nothing about Scruggs

  29. M. Williams

    Scruggs was defintely the father of Butts. And he also had an incestuous relationship with Barrett, Moore, Minor, Glantz, the AMA JAMA boys, and the bubba world of misappropriated infomation that belonged to another State, and Court.

  30. DeltaNative

    Did belle just get banned twice?!?
    Even though she’s gone , I second wow’s comment posted 3/29 at 7 pm in the strongest possible terms.

  31. M. Williams

    Ironic, the question about Butts was who did Dickie Scruggs know as MR.BUTTS, and Dickie absolutely knew to whom he sent tobacco documents, the Brown and Williamson Tobacco documents, especially, but more that Seltz had, and they went from Dickie~s offices on or about the 16th of April, 1994 – to Don Barrett~s office, which were sent to Dr. Stanton Glantz of UCSF, who got them, read them, put them in the library, put them on line, thereby destroying the concept of attorney-client privilege, and then Glantz wrote a book titled THE CIGARETTE PAPERS, solely from the information that papa Scruggs sent to Don Barrett who sent it to Glantz. Therefore, make your on conclusions. This was no slippery slope, but a violation of the law of the Commonwealth of KENTUCKY. [FORGET ABOUT TOBACCO, it was the law of TRO´s. And only TWO sealed copies were under protection of an order of Tom Wine, District Court, JEFFERSON COUNTY KENTUCKY.] Be that as it may, lawyers have rules, cannonical concerns, but, unfortunately, this was a blitzkreig, so much so that I, VERY much in touch with the purpose of Dickie~s intended promise to Seltz, was taken unawares – and didn~t actually know what brilliant timing set the discovery in motion – not for years! Brilliant lawyering! Can you disagree?
    Now, on the other hand, if what you~re writing is a deposition in the record of a court, there~s absolutely no question that the paternal voice should examine the meaning of purgary, ya think?

  32. Nomiss

    Mr. Williams, thank you for the information.

  33. Ironic

    Mr. Merrell Williams, thank you as well for the information. As I was poking fun at Scruggs paternity suit, I was hoping you would respond, and I appreciate you sharing your insight. I started reading Rossmiller for insurance coverage, and then became a daily reader during Scruggs Nation. Yet, as time passes, I find myself getting more interested in the events that led to Katrina’s SKG, especially the big tabacco settlement. I see many similaries between today and yesterday, and I see Scruggs using “every trick in the book”.
    I am perplexed as a citizen of the USA at how one lawyer was able to find himself in a position of being paid $800+ million. Even if I hand wave away all the ethical issues and the backroom discussions, how did lawmakers find a way to create a billionaire on the backs of US citizens. Should not any reasonable settlement with the government be capped? For example, wouldn’t Scruggs have agreed to $50M? That’s still a lot for any government to approve. Scruggs found a way to get 20X that! Good gracious.
    Heck the US paid $15M for the LA purchase, of which MS was only a small part. He he.
    Ironic

  34. When lawyers pay material witnesses

    Things don’t always work out happily, as David Rossmiller notes of Dickie Scruggs’s Katrina informants, the Rigsby sisters….

  35. ThirdSouth

    This Rigsby testimony is beyond sad, it evokes pity. Beyond stealing documents, she identifies no service performed for the money she was paid and she appears to admit that whatever she was doing wasn’t consulting. If she is telling the truth, how dare these fabulously wealthy joint-venturers and co-conspirators use this woman this way? How can they sleep at night if they lured her with an exhorbitant “salary” into a contrived media “limelight,” then callously discarded her after she was no longer useful to them?

  36. Underdog

    A point I forgot to make earlier: If the Rigsbys are so convinced State Farm was committing fraud, who profited? State Farm is a mutual company. No one owns stock. No stock option bonuses; no buying low and selling high. If no one stands to gain, what incentive is there? A fatal flaw in the theory?

  37. brewski

    David while you are here in ms. please help us determine how we can unseal the records of insurance settlements negotiated by scruggs on behalf of public officials.While many people got small percentages WE want to know what percentage US Judge Louis Guirola ,Trent Lott andother connected people were able to get thru the scruggs/moore/hood team of indictment threat mongers.We appreciate you and your site. Ms. born and living well.

  38. MORE COWBELL

    Agree with Brewski. But, every settlement I am aware of is “sealed” so to speak, since the homeowner is forbidden to tell anyone what they got. Standard procedure. And let me tell you, the insurance industry will jump on you with both feet if you tell anybody. Go read your agreement.

  39. brewski

    cowbell i spoke with an insurance adjuster friend and he said not all settlements are sealed. I have recently finalized my settlement as was not asked to keep anything confidential. My point is that these very settlements were part of the scruggs team with hoods muscle settlement.Would be interesting to know how with thier politico stature these compare to the other parties percentage of policy limits.It will eventually be known.I understand some party is getting ready to file suit to unseal the records.

  40. C.Daltro

    Father of American law – fraud vitiates all.