It is heating up in Gulfport, Mississippi. Yesterday, According to an Associated Press article on Forbes, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Walker, ordered a whistleblower case to be unsealed, even though the federal government had argued against it. The Federal government was deciding on whether or not to intervene in the qui tam lawsuit accusing insurance companies of overbilling the federal government for flood damage from Hurricane Katrina.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Walker said, "The government gives no explanation for how the investigation would be compromised by unsealing the case".
It is also important to mention that this case has a twist. The Attorney for the whistleblowers, sisters, Cori and Kerri Rigsby, struck a cord with U.S. District Judge William Acker. The Judge ruled in June that the law firm "willfully violated" a court order requiring him to return all of the documents that the Rigsby secretly copied. A writer could not make up a story so interesting as this. A prominent Attorney that fights fraud against the government, being accused of criminal charges, while trying to represent his client in a whistleblower claim. I can see this as a basis for a future best seller from the great John Grisham. This is good foundation material for a juicy novel. The ironic twist for this story is that it will be based on truth.
The saga between State Farm Insurance, the whistleblower sisters, Cori and Kerri Rigsby and their valiant lawyer, Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, who dared to take on the major Katrina insurance carriers is bound to heat up even more. The lingering question is, Will this qui tam claim be prosecuted with the government's intervention or will the it be prosecuted on its own? Stay tuned, for more details.
Thanks to the Torts Prof Blog, edited by Professor William G. Childs and Professor Sheila B. Scheuerman for the recent blog post on this new revelation.
Click here to read more on this article from Forbes.