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Lawyer lash out at insurer in Katrina...

Lawyer lash out at insurer in Katrina case

By: Magnolia Tribune - April 22, 2008

Lawyer lash out at insurer in Katrina case

Former U.S. attorney Todd Graves and former Missouri Supreme Court chief justice Chip Robertson are angrily denying charges of wrongdoing by State Farm Insurance in Hurricane Katrina-related litigation in Mississippi.

“There’s a reason people call them ‘Snake Farm,’?” Robertson said Monday. “This is a travesty. I know they’re trying to sell a story, but it would be useful if they’d try to get the facts before trying to influence improperly any judge who might be reading the Internet.

“They’re just plain wrong about this, and the way they operate, it’s not surprising. But it is disappointing they continue to operate this way.”

Although Graves and Robertson were not part of the Scruggs Katrina Group, State Farm wants them off the whistleblower case. The insurer charges they were at meetings during which its computer data were illegally accessed.

That accusation met with angry denunciations this week by Graves and Robertson, who emphatically denied they had any role — as participants or observers — in the matter.

“They’re trying to cast these aspersions on us by saying that on March 11 (2006) we were with these girls in a trailer and got on the State Farm Web site and viewed stuff,” Graves said. “The depositions State Farm cites don’t say that.”

Graves acknowledged the Rigsbys might have given some of the downloaded information to Tony DeWitt, Robertson’s partner. But that, he said, “was not an ethical violation.”

“You’re not supposed to be able to go in court and just throw things up there,” Graves said. “Maybe in the blog world you can, but that’s not how you’re supposed to plead cases.”

Graves and Robertson plan to file a detailed response in court this month.

Kansas City Star

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