archives

Zurich Financial Services

This category contains 31 posts

Payments to Eligible Class Members Being Mailed in Collusive Litigation Fogel v. Farmers Group Involving Raoul Kennedy / Thomas Nolan / Alec Chang of Skadden Arps and Skadden’s Clients Tom Girardi / Walter Lack of In Re Girardi

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Highberger  granted final approval to the Settlement on December 21, 2011. 

Certain appeals were filed, but they are no longer pending, and the Court’s decision is final.  Payments to eligible class members will be mailed during the week ending Friday November 2, 2012.

Source: https://fogelsettlement.com/Home.aspx

BACKGROUND:

Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc.) is primarily based on the case originally advanced by the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, along with the Texas Department of Insurance, against Farmers Group, Inc. in approximately 2002.

Within days after the State of Texas filed the case, settlement negotiations commenced, and very shortly thereafter a settlement was announced in the amount of approximately $100 million. Joe K. Longley, an attorney from Austin, Texas (alongside Philip K. Maxwell and Steve McCleery), representing policyholder Jan Lubin, stated that Texas is settling on the “cheap,” and immediately commenced legal proceedings to derail the settlement.

Farmers’ policyholders Gilberto Villanueva and Michael Paladino both had previous class actions pending in the State of Texas prior to the State action being brought. These Intervenors were represented by State Bar of Texas members Alice Oliver-Parrott, David Burrow, David Jones, and R. Martin Weber.

At that time, Mr. Longley publicly stated that Farmers was unfairly enriched in an amount 10 times greater than the settlement amount, and presumably Mr. Longley wanted the State of Texas to settle for an amount close to $1 billion. Longley. along with several other lawyers (Phil Maxwell, Mike Gallagher, and Stephen McCleery), who were later joined by David Burrow, Alice Oliver-Parrot, Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey (collectively “Texas Class Counsel” ), immediately commenced legal proceedings to halt the settlement.

Beginning in December 2002 and continuing thereafter for five months in 2003, the parties engaged in intensive discovery; motion practice; document review; hearing preparation; hearings; and depositions, and extensive lawyer time and effort took place to prepare for, and participate in, the preliminary approval hearing the Texas District Court had set to be heard commencing in May 2003.

In February 2003, it became apparent to the Lubin’s co-counsel that additional legal assistance was needed. Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey were added at that time to act as co-counsel, with Longley & Maxwell, LLP, in representing Jan Lubin.

During those proceedings, particularly during the initial phase, Texas Class Counsel obtained and reviewed thousands of documents, and through masterful lawyering, and while opposed by the endless resources of the Attorney General of the State of Texas managed to derail the settlement. This matter became known as the “Lubin Proceedings,” and is still pending in the Texas courts, 261 Judicial District Court of Travis County.


Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, noted that “Farmers Insurance represent nearly twenty percent of the homeowners’ insurance market in Texas.”  Governor Perry further noted that “the investigations are still ongoing, but the findings reflect that at least on company, Farmers Insurance, has engaged in unfair, discriminatory prices to charge consume excessive and unjustified rates.” In the above photo, Governor Perry is seen before a hunting trip near Merrill, Iowa. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

Recognizing that much of the legal work was already completed by the State of Texas and the Texas Department of Insurance — which gave rise to a presumption of validity and credibility to the allegations against Farmers — Mr. Longley and some of the Texas Class Counsel saw the enourmous opportunity that had been presented to them and sought to file a nationwide class action against Farmers.

As such, in 2003, Longley and a few of the Texas Class Counsel flew to Los Angeles to meet with Messrs. Thomas Girardi (of Girardi & Keese) and Walter Lack (of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack); one month later, after the appropriate plaintiff had been selected, the case was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court styled Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group Inc.

In approximately 2010, a settlement was reached in this pending matter allocating $455 million to be shared by the class, and $90 million in attorneys’ fees. Class counsel (both from Texas and California) advanced a motion for attorneys’ fees supported by declarations and exhibits. The declarations from Texas Class Counsel submitted to this Court are based on work performed in BOTH the Lubin and Fogel matters.

 

GIRARDI AND LACK

Usually, the relationship between Girardi & Keese and Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack is based on a business model whereby Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi are responsible for financing the litigation, as well as providing much needed “clout,” very often withing the judicial system of Los Angeles County and the State Bar of California (to wit Thomas Girardi’s friendship with former California Supreme Court Chief Justice George; his friendship with former California State Bar Chief Trial Counsel and former crack addict Mike Nisperos, to whom Girardi serve as a “mentor”; his financing of the political career of the present Executive Director of the State Bar of California, Hon. Senator Joe Dunn; and other questionable “friendships” and relationships, the basis of which are usually political contributions and gifts).

Walter Lack and his firm, who are more methodical, are responsible for the day-to-day management of the litigation through motion practice, discovery, hearings etc. Once serious settlement negotiations commence, Mr. Girardi himself takes over the discussions, and has the final say on whether and under what terms the case should settle.

 

YR’S ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST SKADDEN GIRARDI LACK

According to sources familiar with the situation, ethical breaches took place as a result of Skadden Arps’ representation of Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi because, at the same time, Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps were on opposing sides in the case of Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc.

According to the sources, the parties named in the complaint were Raoul Kennedy, Thomas Nolan, and Richard Zurmoski of Skadden Arps as well as Graham LippSmith and Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese.

Fogel v. Farmers, Skadden Arps, Girardi & Keese,

The complaint alleged that in August 2003, Walter Lack (of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack) and Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith (of Girardi & Keese) filed a class action suit on behalf of plaintiffs Benjamin Fogel against Farmers Group, Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit — which is still pending and is anticipated to settle in September 2011 — was defended by attorneys from Skadden Arps (Raoul Kennedy and Richard Zurmoski).

Despite their respective roles as plaintiffs’ counsel and defendants’ counsel in Fogel v. Farmers, Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps entered into an agreement by which Skadden Arps and partner Thomas Nolan would represent Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi before the Ninth Circuit in the matter of In re Girardi following the Ninth Circuit’s issuance of an order to show cause why Girardi & Keese, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, Thomas Girardi, and Walter Lack should not be suspended, disbarred, or otherwise sanctioned as a result of the massive fraud which took place in litigation pursued by them against Dole Food Company.

On July 13, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued an order suspending Walter Lack for a period of six months and reprimanding Girardi; the order also imposed almost $500,000 in monetary sanctions against the two attorneys.

In Re Girardi

Skadden Arps Thomas Nolan

On July 14 2010, in an attempt to conceal their attorney-client relationship, Skadden Arps and Thomas Nolan filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit asking for their names to be redacted from the published opinion.

 

Skadden Arps and its clients were in a rush to remove their names from the Ninth Circuit’s published decision in hopes of further hiding from the public  the existence of its relationship with Girardi & Keese, see above.  Below is yet another sample of a  letter/objection alluding to the improper relationhip between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese.

 

On April 28, 2011, after Zurich Financial Group and Farmers Group, Inc. realized that a complaint had been filed with the State Bar of California alleging ethical violations, attorneys for both Zurich and Farmers approached the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge overseeing the Fogel matter (Judge William Highberger), seeking and obtaining an ex parte order modifying the settlement agreement, with little or no opposition from the plaintiff class. (Thomas Girardi, Walter Lack, as well as several attorneys form the state of Texas)

Additionally, per the ex-parte order, the class was notified that once the court approves the settlement, class members will be prohibiting from alleging in the future that they were not adequately represented by their attorneys due to the prior attorney client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps.

 


A substantial factor leading to the State Bar of California’s ethical and moral collapse allowing Thomas Girardi, Skadden Arps, and others to operate with impunity was provided courtesy of individuals who fall into two categories: minorities and/or close political allies from

Shockingly, and based on the ex parte papers submitted by Zurich and Farmers which were, presumably (and predictably), unopposed by class counsel (because any opposition would expose their own misconduct), the Court issued an order allowing the modification of a notice to the class by which the members would be informed of the attorney-client relationship between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese. The order also, shockingly, stated that members of the class would be prohibited in the future from asserting that they were not adequately represented by class counsel due to the Skadden-Girardi relationship.

CRIMINAL CONCPIRACY TO INJURE AND SILENCE YR

In a shocking turn of events, YR was earlier this year served with a search warrant while at home. Six investigators from the Yolo County District Attorney’s office (some of them armed) arrived at on February 23, 2012, searched the premises, and confiscated two computers and documents relating to, among others, Thomas Girardi, Alec Chang of Skadden Arps, including all materials involving Fogel vs. Farmers.

State Bar of California Board of Governors (presumably, State Bar of California Executive Director Joe Dunn of Voice of OC, Alec Chang of Skadden Arps, and others  have presented claims to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Jeff Reisig and Michael Cabral to file criminal charges against YR, for among other things, alleged violations of Business and Professions Code section 6043.5, on the purported basis that the ethics complaint against Raoul Kennedy, Tom Nolan, Thomas Girardi, and Walter Lack were unfounded and constituted criminal conduct.  (See ethics complaint concerning the Fogel v. Farmers Group HERE.

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Ninth Circuit’s Kim Wardlaw’s RICO Defendant Bill Wardlaw Hereby Asked to Opine on Connection Between Joe Dunn’s Voice of OC’s Norberto Santana to Your Predecessor Kinde Durkee ?

Voice of OC Kinde Durkee
Joe Dunn’s VOICE OF OC located at 1212 S. Victory Blvd. Burbank, CA 91502

 


Kinde Durkee of 1212 S. Victory Blvd. Burbank, CA 91502

Norberto Santana of Voice of OC
Norberto Santana of Voice of OC

Sir James J. Brosnahan
James Brosnahan of Voice of OC (former). Brosnahan, the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the Democratic Party and spouse of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan, gained fame after his psychiatrist — Berkeley-based Scyzophrenia specialist Dr. Bruce Africa — threaten to kill him due to an alleged sexual affair between Brosnahan and Marty Africa of Major Lindsey & Africa. In September of 2009, once Ruthe Ashley existed CaliforniaALL, Dunn (with the help of Escutia, Girardi and Brosnahan) launched online publication “Voice of OC.” Dunn is also a trustee of UCI Foundation — an entity which absorbed most of the grants CaliforniaALL collected from utility companies Senator Dunn officially investigated during California energy crisis.(Image: courtesy photos)


David Washburn of Voice of OC

Martha Escutia
Martha Escutia of Voice of OC (former)


Girardi & Keese’s Tom Girardi of Voice of OC (former). Per the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequent to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (Image: courtesy photo)

 

Mr. Joe cotchett

 

 

 

 

 

California Democratic Party operative and home-nudist Joe Cotchett of Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy, represents Diane Feinstein in suit against Kinde Durkee. Cotchett, as well as Nancy Fineman and others, were part of a criminal conspiracy to file false criminal charges against YR in connection with the ethics complaint in re CaliforniaALL / quadriplegic UC Davis  law student Sara Granda.  As a result of said conspiracy,  Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig and Mike Cabral obtained a search warrant which resulted in the confiscation of all data referring or relating to Voice of OC and CaliforniaALL.

COPY OF YR’S COMPLAINT AGAINST VOICE OF OC SUBMITTED TO IRS IN 2011, BELOW:

Internal Revenue Service
Exempt Organizations Unit
1100 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75242-1198

Re: A referral for noncompliance with tax laws against exempt organization “Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency” (dba “Voice of OC”):

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT:

In lieu of using IRS Form 13909 (Tax-Exempt Organization Referral Form), please consider this communication a formal complaint (referral) against an Orange County, California not-for-profit entity known as “Orange County Nonprofit Investigative News Agency,” which operates an online publication under the name “Voice of OC” (located at www.voiceofoc.org).

On September 1, 2011, Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency and Voice of OC (collectively, “Voice of OC”) were duly served with a request for production of IRS Form 990, Form 990 Schedule A, and Form 1023. (See Exhibit 1.) To date, this request to produce Voice of OC’s tax returns has been ignored, despite the clear mandate by the Internal Revenue Service to fully comply with such requests within 30 days. As such, reluctantly, the undersigned makes this referral.

INTRODUCTION OF ACTORS:

1. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as the creator of online publication “Voice of OC” – Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency.

2. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as Trustee of the UCI Foundation (an entity which obtained funds from a separate charitable entity known as CaliforniaALL (FEIN Number 51-0656213).

3. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as Executive Director of the State Bar of California – an entity which also controls and maintains a foundation known as the California Bar Foundation. The California Bar Foundation very quietly transferred close to $780,000 to CaliforniaALL.

4. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as a politician and business partner of Martha Escutia, who was involved in matters relating to utility companies operating in California.

5. Ms. Gwen Moore – a former Assembly member in the California legislature. Ms. Moore has “clout” over the CPUC and utility companies. Ms. Moore presently serves as a member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors; she has previously been the subject of an FBI sting operation.

6. Mr. Geoffrey Brown – a former commissioner with the CPUC and former board member of the California Bar Foundation. During his tenure as a board member of the California Bar Foundation, a hush-hush transfer of $780,000 was made to CaliforniaALL. Subsequent to this transfer, Mr. Brown abruptly quit his position as board member.

7. Mr. Thomas Girardi of Los Angeles-based law firm Girardi & Keese. Mr. Girardi helped Joe Dunn to establish the Voice of OC, and was a member of its board of directors. Recently, he abruptly quit that position. Mr. Girardi is a well-known donor to the Democratic Party and, in particular, to California Senator Barbara Boxer.

8. Mr. Howard Miller of Los Angeles-based law firm Girardi & Keese. Mr. Miller was a member of both the State Bar of California Board of Governors and the California Bar Foundation board of directors when the “hush-hush” transfer of $780,000 from California Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL took place.

9. Mr. James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster – Mr. Brosnahan represents utility companies. He – along with Thomas Girardi – helped Mr. Joe Dunn create the Voice of OC, the subject of this complaint. Like Mr. Girardi, Mr. Brosnahan also served as member of Voice of OC’s board of directors, and recently also abruptly quit his position.

10. Ms. Susan Mac Cormac of Morrison & Foerster – Ms. Mac Cormac was part of the legal team that created the legal entity known as CaliforniaALL.

11. Mr. Victor Miramontes – a resident of San Antonio, TX and business partner of former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. Mr. Miramontes was the chairman of CaliforniaALL.

12. Ms. Ruthe Catolico Ashley – a former employee of McGeorge School of Law who later served as a “Diversity Officer” at CalPERS. Ms. Ashley also served as member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors, and came up with the idea to create CaliforniaALL during a meeting with Sarah Redfield and Peter Arth, Jr. (the assistant to CPUC President Michael Peevey). After CaliforniaALL came into existence, Ms. Ashley, after a simulated search, was selected to serve as CaliforniaALL’s executive director.

13. Ms. Sarah Redfield – a visiting professor at McGeorge School of Law and a member of the State Bar of California Committee. Ms. Redfield was chosen to serve as the “interim executive director” for CaliforniaALL, and later also allegedly served as a consultant to CaliforniaALL. For her services, Ms. Redfield was paid for the year of 2008 close to $160,000 as an “independent contractor.” Even though CaliforniaALL was housed pro bono at the law offices of DLA Piper in Sacramento, there is an entry on CaliforniaALL’s tax return for close to $16,000 for “occupancy.”

14. Ms. Judy Johnson – the former Executive Director of the State Bar of California. For the past 8 years, she has been secretly serving as the president of an entity with a misleading name (“California Consumer Protection Foundation”). This entity absorbed close to $30 million in class action cy pres awards, as well as fines and settlements imposed by the CPUC on utility companies. This entity forwarded those funds to mostly questionable ACORN-like entities. On its website, CCPF claims that it has available information on all grantees going back 10 years. Not so. The information is scattered and extremely difficult to ascertain. In fact, a whole year is missing (2002). During that year, incidentally, CCPF awarded funds to the real ACORN as well as to Eric Moore of Educate LA, who is presumably related to Gwen Moore. Ms. Johnson used her position as executive director of the State Bar of California (which is supposed to supervise and discipline lawyers) as “clout” to obtain cy pres awards from the settlement of class actions prosecuted and defended by countless law firms.

15. Mr. Jeffrey Bleich of Munger Tolles & Olson – presently the U.S. ambassador to Australia and a close friend of President Barack Obama. Mr. Bleich served as member of the BOG when CaliforniaALL was conceived. He is mentioned only in reference because Verizon Communications (which heavily contributed to CaliforniaALL) is a client of Munger Tules & Olson.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND:

In approximately 2007, Ruthe Catolico Ashley — an attorney from Sacramento and a member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors — was employed by CalPERS as a “Diversity Officer.” Prior to her employment with CalPERS, Ms. Ashley was employed as a diversity officer at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. While at McGeorge, Ms. Ashley met diversity expert Sarah Redfield.

In April 2007, Ashley, along with Sarah Redfield, met Peter Arth at a restaurant in San Francisco. During that meeting the idea to create CaliforniaALL was conceived. Eventually, CalPERS, CPUC, and the State Bar of California endorsed in principle the creation of CaliforniaALL – a Section 501(c)(3) entity that would raise funds to be used to support a more diverse workforce in California.

Papers were filed with both state and federal agencies to allow CaliforniaALL to operate as a tax exempt entity. Victor Miramontes listed himself as Chairman of the Board, and Sarah E. Redfield served as CaliforniaAll’s interim-executive director for a period of 6 months. Serving as CaliforniaALL’s legal counsel was Susan Mac Cormac of Morrison & Foerster.

California Attorney General RCT reflects that CaliforniaALL obtained its “Charity” status on March 14, 2008 (FEIN Number 510656213). The address for CaliforniaALL is listed as 400 Capitol Mall, Suite 2400, Sacramento, California. This is actually the address of DLA Piper, where CaliforniaALL resided pro bono.
In June 2008, after a “nationwide search” and aided by a pro bono head-hunting firm in its search for a permanent CEO, CaliforniaALL, not surprisingly, hired Ruthe Catolico Ashley as its chief executive officer.

Also not surprisingly, Ruthe Catolico Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL in September 2009 – the same month Joe Dunn launched his non-profit online publication “Voice of OC.”

CaliforniaALL was abruptly dissolved in June 2010.

CaliforniaALL’s 990 returns for 2008 list Sarah Redfield of Orono, Maine as an “independent contractor.” Her job description is listed as “Program Director.” and she was paid $157,763. It is unknown to the undersigned whether Redfield paid self-employment taxes or any other applicable state income taxes, either in California or Maine. (Incidentally, Redfield falsely states on her resume that she was part of a “curriculum committee” with SAL-UCI, an entity associated with UCI and the UCI Foundation where CaliforniaALL forwarded funds. In addition, Redfield falsely stated that she “launched” SAL-UCI, an entity that was already in existence from 2005.)

In its brief existence from 2008 to 2010, CaliforniaALL collected close to $2 million from utility companies (AT&T, PG&E, Verizon, Sempra), including a sub rosa “hush-hush” contribution of $769,247 from the State Bar of California Foundation.

To date, data collected by the undersigned shows that CaliforniaALL (which was supposed to forward most of those funds) transferred between $300,000 to $400,000 to the UCI Foundation (where Joe Dunn serves as trustee), spent an unknown amount to honor Gwen Moore at a lavish dinner held at a luxury hotel in Sacramento, paid for other incidental expenses such as salaries, and subsequent to moving out from the offices of DLA Piper to a more modest location , paid for a UPS Store mail box slot in Citrus Heights. (Later, CaliforniaALL relocated its base to the loft of one Larrisa Parecki in Sacramento.)

Between 2001 and 2007, Geoffrey Brown served as a Commissioner with the CPUC. From 2006 to 2009, Brown served as a director of the State Bar of California Foundation. In 2008, California Bar Foundation quietly transferred $769,247.00 to CaliforniaALL. CaliforniaALL never acknowledged receipt of the $769,247.00 from the Cal Bar Foundation in any of its publications, although it did acknowledge the transfer on its IRS tax returns. Likewise, California Bar Foundation never acknowledged the largest grant it ever bestowed in its newsroom, the California Bar Journal, or similar publications; it did, however, recognize the transfer on its IRS returns, and in a 2 by 2 inch blurb in its annual report.

Several months ago, the undersigned asked the State Bar of California Board of Governors to examine the suspicious circumstances surrounding CaliforniaALL (i.e. the hush hush transfer, etc.). While simply presenting facts similar to the above, Geoffrey Brown immediately, as though bitten by a snake, threatened to file legal action against the undersigned even though the communication with the BOG was absolutely privileged and justified, and only made mention of Brown in passing.

The undersigned has met Brown casually once or twice, and was highly impressed with his modest and genteel nature. A group conversation transpired and Brown immediately, without even being asked, volunteered to help and assist. This however, can and will not serve to bar the mentioning of his name as part of the overall description of events (such as in this communication). Such tactics would be unfair to the other individuals and the proper administration of justice. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the undersigned possesses not even a scintilla of evidence that demonstrating that Brown somehow pocketed any money unlawfully or engaged in any other unlawful activities, other than the convenient circumstances described above.

Due to unsettling circumstances involving the State Bar of California (such as the highly secretive control of CCPF by Judy Johnson, the refusal of the State Bar of California to disclose amounts it transfers to Bet Tzedek, a Los Angeles-based entity, the amounts it obtains from “voluntary contributions,” and, in particular, circumstances surrounding CaliforniaALL, Joe Dunn, and the Voice of OC), the undersigned asked Voice of OC to produce its tax returns for the past 3 years.

Specifically, the following circumstances surrounding Voice of OC have caused concerns:

1. Senator Martha Escutia, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications (EU&C) also participated in meetings with the CPUC concerning diversity. She is a founding member of The Senators (Ret.) firm, LLP, as is Joe Dunn.

2. The fact that some individuals and entities involved in the creation of CaliforniaALL and the subsequent transfer of $769,247.00 from the Cal Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL, were also involved in assisting Joe Dunn with the creation of “Voice of OC” to wit – on one hand Morrison & Foerster’s Susan Mac Cormac as legal counsel for CaliforniaALL; Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller in his capacity as BOD member of Cal Bar Foundation, as well as BOG members who voted to endorse CaliforniaALL and consider it to have been a partner of the State Bar of California. On the other hand Morrison &Foerster’s James Brosnahan and Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi as part of helping Joe Dunn with the establishment of Voice of OC.

3. CaliforniaALL was to transfer funds forward. It did so by awarding approximately $300,000 in grants to the UCI Foundation, where Joe Dunn serves as trustee and chair of the Audit Committee. It appears that CaliforniaALL preselected UCI Foundation, making a prior simulated request for proposal (RFP) by Sarah Redfield that led to the grant – a sham process.

4. In September 2009, Ruthe Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL. That same month, Joe Dunn publicly launched his online publication, “Voice of OC.” (as though Ashley’s mission had been completed).

5. The recent abrupt departure of Thomas Girardi and James Brosnahan from ‘Voice of OC” (as though they were fleeing the scene with guilty consciences).

As such, several months ago, on September 1, 2011, the Voice of OC was duly served with a request for production of IRS Form 990, Form 990 Schedule A, and Form 1023. (See Exhibit 1 attached) Additionally, said request was delivered to Joe Dunn.

To date, this request to produce Voice of OC’s tax returns has been ignored, despite the clear mandate by the Internal Revenue Service to fully comply with such requests. As such, reluctantly, the undersigned filed this complaint.

As such, I urge you to investigate this matter to determine whether Voice of OC who ignored the request to produce said tax returns violated IRS rules and regulations. I ask that you impose appropriate sanctions against any and all involved, if supported by the results of your investigation.

I look forward to your response. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Keker & Van Nest’s Jan Little — Spouse of Hastings College of Law’s Rory Little (In Re Girardi Special Prosecutor Accused of Criminal Conduct) Launches New Website As YR Prepares to Picket a Beach in San Francisco

Keker & Van Nest partner Jan Little has launched a new website.

Little, who is married to Rory Little — a professor at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, handled high-stakes criminal and complex civil litigation for more than 25 years, and was previously recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers In America” for bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense according to Keker & Van Nest.

The address of the new website is http://jannielsenlittlekeker.net/

UC Hastings Prof Rory Little

Rory Little, spouse of Jan Little of Keker & Van Nest.  Professor Little is a Ninth Circuit judicial aspirant and professor of law at U.C. Hastings. He  was appointed special prosecutor in the matter of In Re Girardi by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.


Judge William Fletcher, a member of the Ninth Circuit panel that adjudicated the matter of In re Girardi, 08-80090, rejected the lenient recommendations of Rory Little. He stated: “with any competent lawyer if you’re omitting part of a document, that is not accidental. That is intentional.” The court adjudicated that the grave misconduct by Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi included “the persistent use of known falsehoods,” and that the “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation.

Peviously, in papers submitted to federal court, a party not associated with TLR/YR accused Ninth Circuit Judicial Aspirant Rory Little of compromising his ethics in exchange for a promise of judgeship. (see above)

Unfortunately, Keker & Van Ness questionable method of operating through a diverse proxy in various matters, including in the matter of In Re Girardi, ipso facto created a scenario by which the interests of Jan and Rory Little are inconsistent with those of The Leslie Brodie Report and YR — who exposed the scheme in the matter of In Re Girardi / Howard Rice.


Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese. Per the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequent to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (Image: courtesy photo)

As such, consistent with the efforts to obtain publicity for the cause, YR is mulling, reluctantly,  a peaceful assembly to expose the antics of Rory Little/ Keker & Van Nest in front of Hastings College of the Law, in the rotunda known as “The Beach.”

Other alternative methods to expose Little may include the use of leaflets, which will be placed in the SIC folder of each student.

Alliance of California Judges Puzzled by Indifference Chief-Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye; Dan Dydzak Asked to Disclose if RICO Evidence in Dydzak v. Schwarzenegger Pertains to Yolo County Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire, Laura Chick

October 18, 2012

Dear Members and Others,

We attach an article by reporter Cheryl Miller of The Recorder which highlights remarks the Chief Justice made last weekend. You will see from the article a number of direct quotes from the Chief Justice. We urge you to carefully read this article, and then read it again.

Please share the article with your colleagues. If you know your State Senator or State Assembly Member, we also encourage you to forward the article to that elected official with a personal note from you.

We will comment on only one matter as the rest speaks for itself.

The Chief Justice, in an apparent reference to the Alliance, indicates that she does not understand why our message is different from that of her handpicked Judicial Council. She also indicates that she is unaware of or confused as to our message.

Please continue @:

http://judicialcouncilwatcher.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/chief-justice-unveils-…

————————————————————————————————————-

Dan Dydzak hereby asked to disclose whether preliminary evidence in support of  RICO suit naming as defendant (among others) Arnold Schwarzenegger pertains to events dealing with Yolo County Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire — former Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Specifically, state officials declined to say how they plan to spend the money. $26 billion headed to California from the federal stimulus bill.

Judge Dan Maguire, then acting as deputy legal affairs secretary, stated: “disclosure would chill critical communications to and within the Governor’s Office, thereby harming the public interest.”

Please see @:

https://lesliebrodie.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/dan-maguire-yolo-county-superior…

Laura Chick, please see @:

http://laist.com/2009/04/03/city_controller_laura_chick_to_beco.php

Dydzak, in an almost unprecedented turn of events and somewhat ironically, accused the man who once stated “our justice systems, our courts, are the best things about this country because in other countries, they settle their problems through violence”  of conspiring with others to operate the justice system as a criminal racketeering enterprise.

Court documents filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia reveal that controversial trial attorney Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese is accused of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Among the claimed misconduct, the civil suit alleges that in exchange for favorable treatment in court cases, Girardi resorted to the use of payoffs, underwriting social events, and the laundering of money to effect the outcome of court cases “with certain judges and attorneys.”


Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese. Per the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequent to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (Image: courtesy photo)

RICO is a federal law that authorizes a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. RICO focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be held civilly liable for the crimes that they ordered others to commit or which they assisted in committing.

Tom Layton and Tom Girardi
Girardi (far left) enjoys an authentic dinner, friendship and comradery during an Italian-American Lawyers Association event. The gentleman at the center of the photo is State Bar of California employe Tom Layton who according to sources is part of an ongoing “ambulance chasing” scheme the Girardi Syndicate operates in San Bernardino County vis-a-vis a satellite office located in San Bernardino and managed by Thomas Girardi’s son-in-law, David Lira. (Image:courtesy)

The suit also asserts that other individuals engaged in racketeering activities, including Tom Layton — a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff/Senior State Bar of California investigator, and Alec Chang of Skadden Arps.

News Roundup of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Suits

A U.S. trial has been set for next fall in a Chevron Corp lawsuit that accuses Ecuadorean residents, their lawyers, and advisers of fraud in obtaining a $19 billion pollution award against the U.S. oil company.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan said at a brief hearing on Thursday that the trial would begin on Oct. 15, 2013.

Donziger and the Ecuadoreans deny they acted improperly and argue that Chevron’s claims were brought improperly. In May, Kaplan refused the defendants’ request to toss out Chevron’s fraud and racketeering conspiracy claims, brought under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The case is Chevron Corp v. Steven Donziger et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-0691.

For Chevron: Randy Mastro of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

For Donziger: John Keker of Keker & Van Nest

Please see complete story @:

http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2012/10_-_October/Trial_s…

——————————————————————————————————————–

A civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suit naming as defendants (among others) Keker & Van Nest and partner Matt Werdegar was filed in federal court.

The suit was advanced by community activist Daniel Dydzak of Marina Del Rey alleges that defendants run the San Francisco law firm as a criminal racketeering enterprise.

Specifically, defendnats engaged in predicate acts of a pattern of racketeering through and by means of obstruction of justice and myriad acts of fraud.

The suit further contends that named partner John Keker participated and was well aware of the surreptitious and conspiratorial alliances and unlawful agreements.

Please continue @:

https://lesliebrodie.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/suit-alleges-san-francisco-law-f…

————————————————————————————————————————-

In an almost unprecedented turn of events and somewhat ironically, the man who once stated “our justice systems, our courts, are the best things about this country because in other countries, they settle their problems through violence” is now accused of conspiring with others to operate the justice system as a criminal racketeering enterprise.

Court documents filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia reveal that controversial trial attorney Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese is accused of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Among the claimed misconduct, the civil suit alleges that in exchange for favorable treatment in court cases, Girardi resorted to the use of payoffs, underwriting social events, and the laundering of money to effect the outcome of court cases “with certain judges and attorneys.”


Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese. Per the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequent to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (Image: courtesy photo)

RICO is a federal law that authorizes a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. RICO focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be held civilly liable for the crimes that they ordered others to commit or which they assisted in committing.

Tom Layton and Tom Girardi
Girardi (far left) enjoys an authentic dinner, friendship and comradery during an Italian-American Lawyers Association event. The gentleman at the center of the photo is State Bar of California employe Tom Layton who according to sources is part of an ongoing “ambulance chasing” scheme the Girardi Syndicate operates in San Bernardino County vis-a-vis a satellite office located in San Bernardino and managed by Thomas Girardi’s son-in-law, David Lira. (Image:courtesy)

The suit also asserts that other individuals engaged in racketeering activities, including Tom Layton — a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff/Senior State Bar of California investigator, and Alec Chang of Skadden Arps.

Please continue @:

https://lesliebrodie.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/alec-chang-of-skadden-arps-and-t…

———————————————————————————————————————

Former Orange County Senator Mired in New Controversy

A RICO suit naming as defendant (among others) Joseph L. Dunn, a former California State Senator who represented central Orange County, was filed in federal court.

The suit, advanced by Marina Del Rey-based community activist Daniel Dydzak, alleges that the former senator engaged in predicate acts of racketeering through and by means of obstruction of justice, money laundering, and myriad acts of fraud.  

The action seeks monetary and equitable remedies. 

Dunn, a democrat, was elected to the California State Senate in 1998 and served until 2006. He is the former chief executive of the California Medical Association who together with former Democratic Sen. Martha Escutia established The Senators (Ret.) Firm. 

A somewhat controversial figure, Dunn has been embroiled in separate controversies dealing with various not for profit entities, to wit, CaliforniaALL, Voice of OC, and UCI Foundation.

In September of 2009, with the help of attorneys Thomas Girardi (of Girardi & Keese) Jim Brosnahan (of Morrison & Foerster) and Erwin Chemerinsky (of UC Irvine) Joe Dunn and Martha Escutia launched a not-for-profit entity known as “Orange County Nonprofit Investigative News Agency,” which operates an online publication under the name “Voice of OC” (located at www.voiceofoc.org) headed by Norberto Santana and David Washburn.

Please continue @:

http://newportbeach.patch.com/announcements/former-orange-county-senator-mire…

 

Alec Chang of Skadden Arps and Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese Accused of Racketeering

In an almost unprecedented turn of events and somewhat ironically, the man who once stated “our justice systems, our courts, are the best things about this country because in other countries, they settle their problems through violence” is now accused of conspiring with others to operate the justice system as a criminal racketeering enterprise.

Court documents filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia reveal that controversial trial attorney Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese is accused of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Among the claimed misconduct, the civil suit alleges that in exchange for favorable treatment in court cases, Girardi resorted to the use of payoffs, underwriting social events, and the laundering of money to effect the outcome of court cases “with certain judges and attorneys.”


Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese. Per the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequent to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (Image: courtesy photo)

RICO is a federal law that authorizes a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. RICO focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be held civilly liable for the crimes that they ordered others to commit or which they assisted in committing.

Tom Layton and Tom Girardi
Girardi (far left) enjoys an authentic dinner, friendship and comradery during an Italian-American Lawyers Association event. The gentleman at the center of the photo is State Bar of California employe Tom Layton who according to sources is part of an ongoing “ambulance chasing” scheme the Girardi Syndicate operates in San Bernardino County vis-a-vis a satellite office located in San Bernardino and managed by Thomas Girardi’s son-in-law, David Lira. (Image:courtesy)

The suit also asserts that other individuals engaged in racketeering activities, including Tom Layton — a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff/Senior State Bar of California investigator, and Alec Chang of Skadden Arps.

Girardi is married to Erika Jayne, an American dance/club music performer who is also known as Erika Girardi. He has been feartured regularly on The Leslie Brodie Report. For example, we previously reported about an ethics complaint alleging multiple acts of misconduct filed with the State Bar of California against attorneys from the firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Girardi & Keese.

Please continue @:

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2012/10/18/federal-court-documents-provide-tom…

Alliance of California Judges Blasts AOC Treatment of Information Requests; Carolyn Kuhl Elected Assistant Presiding Judge; Girardi & Keese / Engstrom Mishandled $100M Earthquake Settlement Suit Says

The Alliance of California Judges yesterday criticized the way the Administrative Office of the Courts handles requests for information, saying the alliance is being discriminated against.

Judicial branch leaders, the alliance said in an email blast, have “now confirmed” that the AOC, and the Judicial Council of California “have implemented a policy treating information requests from the Alliance differently from those of others.”

The email cited a Courthouse News Service story entitled “Battle of Information in Judiciary.” The article dealt with the complaint, previously made by the alliance, that instead of dealing promptly with requests for information, the AOC funnels them to Third District Court of Appeal Justice Harry Hull, who insists that requests be sent to him by “snail” mail, and in responding in the same manner. Please continue@: http://www.metnews.com/articles/2012/alli100512.htm

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl has been elected assistant presiding judge of the court for 2013 and 2014, court officials said yesterday. Kuhl, a judge since 1995, defeated Judge Dan T. Oki. In keeping with the court’s longstanding practice, vote totals were not disclosed.  Please continue@: http://www.metnews.com/articles/2012/kuhl100412.htm

 Girardi & Keese and two other law firms were hit with a lawsuit Friday for allegedly mishandling a purportedly more than $100 million settlement with State Farm Insurance Co. that resolved claims from the 1994 Northridge earthquake that devastated Los Angeles.


Mr Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese. Per findings adjudicated by the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequnet to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (image and nerrative not part of original story)

In a complaint filed in California state court, the plaintiffs who were clients of Girardi & Keese, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack and Shernoff Bidart Darras & Arkin in the dispute with State Farm claim — please continue @: <a href="http://www.law360.com/articles/383045/law-firms-mishandled-100m-earthquake-settlement-suit-says.

http://www.law360.com/articles/383045/law-firms-mishandled-100m-earthquake-se…&gt;

 

Dewey & Leboeuf files for Chapter 11 in record law firm collapse (TLR Note: Dewey’s Ralph Ferrara Part of Scheme Involving Skadden Arps’ Raoul Kennedy and Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese in Matter of Fogel vs. Farmers Group)

The crippled law firm Dewey & Leboeuf LLP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday night and will seek approval to liquidate its business after failing to find a merger partner, marking the biggest collapse of a law firm in U.S. history.

 

Once one of the largest law firms in the U.S., Dewey has been hit by the loss of the vast majority of its roughly 300 partners to other firms amid concerns about compensation and a heavy debt load.

 

Please continue @:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/29/us-deweyandlebouef-bankruptcy-idUSB…

Fogel v. Farmers Group — In Reply to Question from Policy Holder, TLR Urges Policy Holder to Contact Girardi & Keese’s Graham LippSmith

See original @:

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/08/17/objection-to-class-action-settlemen…

 

 

When is all of this going to be settled for fianal?jttemrn

 

Dear DPerkins:

We would like for you to contact your attorney (who is the attorney for the class) with all questions and concerns.

His name is Mr. Graham LippSmith.  His contact information is:

1126 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: 213-977-0211
Fax: 213-481-1554
Email: glippsmith@girardikeese.com

Alternatively, you can contact the State Bar of California, insurance commissioner , or the attorney general in your state.

Thank you for contacting TLR.

 

BREAKING: Girardi & Keese Takes One on Chin As Court Refuses to Dismiss “the most stupid case in the history of America”

Developing story…. Court refuses to dismiss malpractice suit against Girardi & Keese advanced by Richard Salerno, a former client the firm chose to abandon.

As was mentioned previously, following on the heels of a $3.2 million jury verdict for professional malpractice against Girardi & Keese, a declaration of mistrial, as well as absurd remarks by Tom Girardi (“This is the most stupid case in the history of America”), prominent trial lawyer Terance Mix minced no words in accusing Girardi & Keese of profesional negligence, and for failing to accept responsibility for the catastrophic consequences befalling Girardi & Keese’s former client, Richard Salerno.

As a service to the community, TLR shall publish Terance Mix’s comment, below:

“Tom Girardi’s comment reflects not only his ignorance about the actual facts of a case that sat in his office largely ignored for over two years, but from a lawyer unwilling to own up to the failings of his firm and accept responsibility for the catastrophic consequences befalling his client when Girardi & Keese bailed on the case only 42 days before trial.


Mr Terance Mix of Santa Barbara, California. Mix is the former president of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association and spent 12 years on the Board of Governors of California Trial Lawyers Association. He is a legal author and lecturer on trial techniques and strategies, including the trial of drug product cases, which was his specialty for over 30 years. (image: courtesy photo)

What Mr. Girardi fails to acknowledge in his rant about the “most stupid case in the history of America” is that the only independent and impartial witness to the impact between Richard Salerno’s motorcycle and the Volvo, being driven next to one another in the same direction, testified that as he passed the two vehicles, while traveling in the opposite direction, Mr. Salerno appeared to be “talking” to the Volvo driver as he passed them, and never saw Salerno remove his hands from the handlebars at any time before the impact.

This evidence is totally contradictory to Mr. Girardi’s assertion that Mr. Salerno was in a “rage” and “beating on the car with his fists and shouting expletives,” as stated in the Metro News article. Indeed, the evidence produced during the trial overwhelmingly demonstrated that the Volvo driver swerved into the motorcycle, as a means of intimidation, knocking Mr. Salerno to the ground and then driving over him with the left rear tire of the car.


Mr Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese. Per findings adjudicated by the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequnet to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here.

What Mr. Girardi also failed to mention, as was likewise brought out during the trial, was that the firm’s real reason for wanting out of the lawsuit was simply because they thought it was a lousy case and Mr. Salerno refused to accept a $20,000 offer for a client with a fractured skull, brain damage, multiple other injuries, and medical expenses in excess of $1,000,000. And that the lawyer in his firm that was assigned to the case contrived an allegation that Mr. Salerno intended to lie at the trial, only after the client refused to sign a substitution of attorney form about 50 days before the scheduled trial of the case.

Perhaps if Mr. Girardi had been present throughout the trial, rather than making just a couple of shorts visits, he might have seen how the underlying case could have been developed by his firm during the two years of representation and successfully resolved with the original defendant, thus avoiding last months trial for professional negligence.”

Separate malpractice suit against Girardi & Keese, please see @:
http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/11/03/tom-girardi-lashes-out-at-victim-as-girardi-keese-sued-for-legal-malpractice-12110166/

For more about Thomas Girardi, please visit:

http://bit.ly/xY2k5q

Sources : Alleged Scheme in Fogel v. Farmers Group Soon Subject of Complaint to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Against Zurich Financial Services; Dewey & Leboeuf’s Ralph Ferrara Under Intense Scrutiny

PROMINENT TRIAL LAWYER TERANCE MIX ASSAILS TOM GIRARDI OF GIRARDI & KEESE

Following on the heels of a $3.2 million jury verdict for professional malpractice against Girardi & Keese, a declaration of mistrial, as well as absurd remarks by Tom Girardi (“This is the most stupid case in the history of America”), prominent trial lawyer Terance Mix minced no words in accusing Girardi & Keese of profesional negligence, and for failing to accept responsibility for the catastrophic consequences befalling Girardi & Keese’s former client, Richard Salerno.

As a service to the community, TLR shall publish Terance Mix’s comment, below:

“Tom Girardi’s comment reflects not only his ignorance about the actual facts of a case that sat in his office largely ignored for over two years, but from a lawyer unwilling to own up to the failings of his firm and accept responsibility for the catastrophic consequences befalling his client when Girardi & Keese bailed on the case only 42 days before trial.


Mr Terance Mix of Santa Barbara, California. Mix is the former president of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association and spent 12 years on the Board of Governors of California Trial Lawyers Association. He is a legal author and lecturer on trial techniques and strategies, including the trial of drug product cases, which was his specialty for over 30 years. (image: courtesy photo)

What Mr. Girardi fails to acknowledge in his rant about the “most stupid case in the history of America” is that the only independent and impartial witness to the impact between Richard Salerno’s motorcycle and the Volvo, being driven next to one another in the same direction, testified that as he passed the two vehicles, while traveling in the opposite direction, Mr. Salerno appeared to be “talking” to the Volvo driver as he passed them, and never saw Salerno remove his hands from the handlebars at any time before the impact.

This evidence is totally contradictory to Mr. Girardi’s assertion that Mr. Salerno was in a “rage” and “beating on the car with his fists and shouting expletives,” as stated in the Metro News article. Indeed, the evidence produced during the trial overwhelmingly demonstrated that the Volvo driver swerved into the motorcycle, as a means of intimidation, knocking Mr. Salerno to the ground and then driving over him with the left rear tire of the car.


Mr Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese. Per findings adjudicated by the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Subsequnet to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here.

What Mr. Girardi also failed to mention, as was likewise brought out during the trial, was that the firm’s real reason for wanting out of the lawsuit was simply because they thought it was a lousy case and Mr. Salerno refused to accept a $20,000 offer for a client with a fractured skull, brain damage, multiple other injuries, and medical expenses in excess of $1,000,000. And that the lawyer in his firm that was assigned to the case contrived an allegation that Mr. Salerno intended to lie at the trial, only after the client refused to sign a substitution of attorney form about 50 days before the scheduled trial of the case.

Perhaps if Mr. Girardi had been present throughout the trial, rather than making just a couple of shorts visits, he might have seen how the underlying case could have been developed by his firm during the two years of representation and successfully resolved with the original defendant, thus avoiding last months trial for professional negligence.”

Profile of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s Ralph Ferrara — Lead Counsel in Fogel v. Farmers, Appeared on Behalf of Zurich Financial Services

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • New York
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • D.C. Superior Court

Please see @:
http://www.deweyleboeuf.com/en/People/F/RalphCFerrara#

Fogel v. Farmers Group Sellement Update — Zurich Financial Group: Claim of Collusion “Outrageous” ; Walter Lack: “A Little Disappointed”

Los Angeles, CA — A $455 million settlement in a long-running insurance class action was approved Wednesday, but the judge overseeing the case tentatively cut the requested attorney fees by 25 percent – and at least one objector to the settlement indicated an appeal could be on the way.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger ruled that the settlement provided a “substantial benefit” to the 12.5 million class members who are current or former members of insurance exchanges connected with Farmers Group Inc.

The judge drew charts on his courtroom’s dry erase board to show the risks attached to further litigating the case, stating there was “a real possibility of an all-or-nothing outcome.”

Highberger set a Dec. 20th hearing to determine whether plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case — led by the law firms of Girardi Keese and Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack — were entitled to more than the $67.9 million in fees he awarded them. The proposed settlement, first announced in October 2010, called for plaintiffs’ lawyers to net $90 million in fees. Any unclaimed money will go back to the exchanges, uner the terms of the deal.

The underlying lawsuit alleges Farmers unlawfully tacked on unnecessary and unfair management fees to the cost of various types of insurance policies. Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc., BC300142 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Aug. 1, 2003).

Jerry Flanagan of Consumer Watchdog, who represents a class member who has objected to the settlement, said his group “will certainly be considering” an appeal of Highberger’s decision.

Consumer Watchdog has expressed concern that simply returning the money to the exchanges rewards Farmers for its alleged bad behavior. Flanagan argued in court Wednesday that the money should go back to the exchanges, but with more restrictive conditions.

“The defendants won’t agree to that,” Highberger responded.

Flanagan said prior to the settlement agreement plaintiffs’ lawyers had argued that Farmers controlled the exchanges. Now, in arguing the exchanges should get the unclaimed money, they “seem to be arguing that what they wrote… was wrong,” he said.

So far, 2.5 million claims have been made as part of the settlement — a participation rate of more than 20 percent — with $150.3 million claimed at this point, Highberger said, calling it “an extraordinary take rate.”

One member of the class who waived his claim in the settlement was Highberger’s research attorney, whom the judge said refused the 8 cents offered to him as part of the deal.

The judge approved the settlement over the objections of several parties, including the state of Montana and the Center for Class Action Fairness, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group led by attorney Ted Frank.

Ralph C. Ferrara of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, who represents Farmers Group, blasted as “outrageous” any insinuation that the attorneys in the case had colluded in a scheme to pad their own pockets.

Speaking after the hearing, Walter J. Lack of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack said he was “a little disappointed” with Highberger’s view on the attorney’s fees, saying his firm had been awarded “far higher” fees in similar cases.

Highberger rejected an earlier suggestion by Consumer Watchdog that any unclaimed money go to California’s cash-strapped court system, ruling it would be a conflict of interest. He also dismissed suggestions that the money go to charity.

Contact the author at ciaran_mcevoy@dailyjournal.com

Article from Consumer Watchdog. Originally published by Los Angeles Daily Journal.
http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/story/455-million-farmers-group-settlement-ok…

Fogel v Farmers Settlement Refunds May Elude Texans | From Consumer Watchdog (Originally printed @ THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS )

News Story

Farmers Refunds May Elude Texans

10/10/2011

By Terrence Stutz, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

AUSTIN, TX – Thousands of Farmers Insurance’s Texas policy holders will probably miss out on a proposed $455 million settlement in a national class action lawsuit that accused the company of illegally inflating auto and homeowner rates by charging excessive management fees.

The case, which started out in a Texas court several years ago, is now before a superior court in California. A leading consumer group is arguing that most policyholders are unlikely to file for a refund because of the application process, but a judge is expected to approve the settlement before the end of the year.

Less than a quarter of eligible Farmers customers have applied, with a Dec. 6 deadline looming. Any unclaimed settlement funds will be turned over to Farmers subsidiaries that will decide how to use the money to benefit policyholders.

Texas customers of Farmers are estimated to receive up to 20 percent of the settlement, or around $90 million, according to attorneys. Individual policyholders could receive checks for up to $60, but only if they have been sent an application form and file it with a Minnesota company handling the settlement claims. The average refund is about $25.

A “fairness” hearing on the settlement will be held Nov. 9 before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger, who will listen to arguments for and against the proposal, which includes $455 million in refunds plus $90 million in attorney fees.

The national class action case was handled in California because of similar complaints against the company there and because Farmers – owned by Zurich Financial Services of Switzerland – has its headquarters in California. The original case in Texas has been on hold since 2007 pending the outcome of the California suit.

“We strongly believe this is a fair and reasonable settlement agreement for all sides. We look forward to the conclusion of this case,” said Mark Toohey, a spokesman for Farmers. The company has denied any wrongdoing and has said it decided to settle to “provide certainty to its shareholders and clarity to its customers, as well as to avoid the risks and significant expense of continued litigation.”

Consumer Watchdog, a California-based group, was allowed to intervene in the class action case and has been leading opposition to the settlement. Attorneys for both Farmers and the various plaintiff groups – including those from Texas – have urged the judge to give final approval to the deal.

Former Texas Insurance Commissioner J. Robert Hunter contended in a court document that the proposal will do little for consumers, particularly if all of the unclaimed money goes back to Farmers subsidiaries.

“It is highly unlikely that Farmers would voluntarily return unclaimed settlement funds to policyholders in the form of lower rates or other benefits,” Hunter told the court. “It is simply not how they operate.”

He added that unless the court orders the subsidiaries to distribute the money to policyholders harmed by the insurance company, “the settlement will be largely meaningless.”

An attorney for Consumer Watchdog, Jerry Flanagan, said that nearly $350 million of the $455 million in refunds is unclaimed and would go back to Farmers subsidiaries under terms of the settlement. The subsidiaries are the same entities that were once accused by the plaintiff attorneys of paying excessive management fees to the parent corporation of Farmers, he said.

“Only a small percentage of their policyholders will submit a claim, and the company knows that. It’s ridiculous to require that their policyholders and former policyholders fill out and send in a claim form when Farmers could simply send them a check,” he said. “Farmers knows exactly how much it owes each of
them. Instead, it has supported creation of a system where few people will participate.”

Flanagan said policyholders who fail to take any action – as well as those who applied for a refund – are barred from recovering any refunds for related overcharges by Farmers. Aug. 18 was the deadline for policyholders to opt out of the settlement.

“The defendants are getting released from claims for a whole range of potentially illegal actions in California, Texas and around the country,” he said.

In addition, some Farmers customers in Texas can’t find out if they qualify for a settlement because agents have been told by the company not to discuss the case or give out information. They have been referred to the Minnesota firm handling the claims, which relies solely on customer information furnished by Farmers.

Austin attorney Joe Longley, who represented one group of plaintiffs from Texas, said Farmers customers are better off with the California proposal than the original settlement of $117 million that was hammered out by Farmers and former state Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor in 2002.

The agreement came after the company had threatened to pull out of the Texas home insurance market because of massive losses from mold claims. Company officials also were stinging from repeated attacks by Gov. Rick Perry, who made Farmers his favorite target in his 2002 campaign.

The original settlement included rate reductions, premium refunds, higher discounts and miscellaneous refunds. Longley and his clients challenged that settlement, contending the amount was inadequate. Longley eventually had his Texas clients participate in the California case.

“We objected to the Farmers settlement as not being nearly enough, and as a result, the national class action case evolved out of the Texas case,” Longley said.

“Texas policyholders are getting a better deal with this [California] settlement because it is real money as opposed to credits or future reductions in rates,” he said.

Once the settlement is approved, Travis County District Judge Scott Jenkins will convene a hearing in Austin to determine if any further action is needed in the Texas case. The last significant ruling occurred in 2007, when the Texas Supreme Court sent the case back to district court so that Longley’s clients could raise their objections to the original agreement.

Aides to Attorney General Greg Abbott, who did not participate in the California case, declined to comment on the national settlement. But the attorney general represents the state insurance department in the Texas case.

Another class action case affecting Texas policyholders of the company was approved in federal court in Oklahoma City last week for $40 million plus $8 million in attorney fees. That case involved faulty disclosures of premium discounts by Farmers.

AT A GLANCE
The proposal
Farmers insures more than 700,000 homeowners in Texas.

Settlement amount: $455 million

Policyholders eligible: 12.5 million

Policyholders filing for refund so far: 2.1 million (17 percent)

Claimed so far: $110 million (24 percent)

Claim form deadline: Dec. 6

SOURCE: Rust Consulting Inc.

How to apply:
Farmers policyholders insured by some of the company’s auto and homeowner subsidiaries between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2010, may be eligible for a refund from the $455 million settlement in a national class action case. Notices were supposed to be sent to all policyholders eligible for a refund, based on customer lists furnished by Farmers. Those seeking refunds must fill out an application form and mail it to the address below. For further information about the settlement, go to www.fogelsettlement.com. Policyholders can also call 1-888-538-5785 or write to: Farmers Group Settlement, PO Box 2422, Faribault, Minn. 55021.

 

Contact the author at: tstutz@dallasnews.com

Fogel vs. Farmers Group Settlement — In Letter to Judge William Highberger Objector Assails Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack’s Walter Lack Re Alleged Collision Between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese; Howard Rice’s Jerry Falk

Amid allegations of breached ethics rules and conflicts of interest, Los Angeles Superior Court Hon. William F. Highberger was recently asked to consider additional matters relating to the approval of the settlement in the case of Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group.

As a service to the community, we shall publish* the communication, below:


Hon. William F. Highberger, who presides over the case of Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group.  Judge Highberger is part of the Los Angeles Superior Court Complex Civil Litigation Program in the CCW Courthouse.

Dear Honorable Judge Highberger:

This will serve to further address the grave and dire circumstances surrounding the proposed settlement in Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc. It will also serve to address matters contained in a troubling order entered by this Court on an ex parte basis on April 28, 2011, and to lodge with the Court concerns regarding the credibility of Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack in hopes that this Court will reject the settlement or, in the alternative, that the Court will award no attorneys’ fees and will shift the proposed $90 million attorneys’ fee award to the pool available to the class.

As the Court is aware, the undersigned have previously lodged an equitable objection (“objection”) informing the Court of ethical violations and fraud perpetuated on this Court stemming from collusion between the law offices of Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps based on the fact that while the Fogel matter was pending before this Court, Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese entered into a wholly separate agreement by which Skadden Arps agreed to represent Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi (9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No.08-80090).

Neither the Ninth Circuit nor this Court (or for that matter, the class of plaintiffs which Girardi allegedly represents) were timely informed of the concurrent representation. In fact, Skadden Arps (on behalf of itself, its client Farmers, and its client Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi) actively and by omission took action to conceal the matter, by among other things, seeking an order from the Ninth Circuit seeking to remove its name from the Ninth Circuit’s published decision of In Re Girardi. The Ninth Circuit denied this request.

A review of class counsel’s omnibus brief and accompanying documents and exhibits filed in the instant matter necessitates this communication in order to ask the Court to further address the following issues:

As this Court is surely aware, the current matter before this court (styled as Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc.) is primarily based on the case originally advanced by the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, along with the Texas Department of Insurance, against Farmers Group, Inc. in approximately 2002.

Within days after the State of Texas filed the case, settlement negotiations commenced, and very shortly thereafter a settlement was announced in the amount of approximately $100 million. Joe K. Longley, an attorney from Austin, Texas (alongside Philip K. Maxwell and Steve McCleery), representing policyholder Jan Lubin, stated that Texas is settling on the “cheap,” and immediately commenced legal proceedings to derail the settlement.

Farmers’ policyholders Gilberto Villanueva and Michael Paladino both had previous class actions pending in the State of Texas prior to the State action being brought. These Intervenors were represented by State Bar of Texas members Alice Oliver-Parrott, David Burrow, David Jones, and R. Martin Weber.

At that time, Mr. Longley publicly stated that Farmers was unfairly enriched in an amount 10 times greater than the settlement amount, and presumably Mr. Longley wanted the State of Texas to settle for an amount close to $1 billion. Longley. along with several other lawyers (Phil Maxwell, Mike Gallagher, and Stephen McCleery), who were later joined by David Burrow, Alice Oliver-Parrot, Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey (collectively “Texas Class Counsel” ), immediately commenced legal proceedings to halt the settlement.

Beginning in December 2002 and continuing thereafter for five months in 2003, the parties engaged in intensive discovery; motion practice; document review; hearing preparation; hearings; and depositions, and extensive lawyer time and effort took place to prepare for, and participate in, the preliminary approval hearing the Texas District Court had set to be heard commencing in May 2003.

In February 2003, it became apparent to the Lubin’s co-counsel that additional legal assistance was needed. Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey were added at that time to act as co-counsel, with Longley & Maxwell, LLP, in representing Jan Lubin.

During those proceedings, particularly during the initial phase, Texas Class Counsel obtained and reviewed thousands of documents, and through masterful lawyering, and while opposed by the endless resources of the Attorney General of the State of Texas managed to derail the settlement. This matter became known as the “Lubin Proceedings,” and is still pending in the Texas courts, 261 Judicial District Court of Travis County.


Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, noted that “Farmers Insurance represent nearly twenty percent of the homeowners’ insurance market in Texas.”  Governor Perry further noted that “the investigations are still ongoing, but the findings reflect that at least on company, Farmers Insurance, has engaged in unfair, discriminatory prices to charge consume excessive and unjustified rates.” In the above photo, Governor Perry is seen before a hunting trip near Merrill, Iowa. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

Recognizing that much of the legal work was already completed by the State of Texas and the Texas Department of Insurance — which gave rise to a presumption of validity and credibility to the allegations against Farmers — Mr. Longley and some of the Texas Class Counsel saw the enourmous opportunity that had been presented to them and sought to file a nationwide class action against Farmers.

As such, in 2003, Longley and a few of the Texas Class Counsel flew to Los Angeles to meet with Messrs. Thomas Girardi (of Girardi & Keese) and Walter Lack (of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack); one month later, after the appropriate plaintiff had been selected, the current case was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court styled Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group Inc. (Incidentally, the allegations set forth in Joe Longley’s declaration that they flew to Los Angeles to meet with Girardi and Lack only after reviewing “choice of law” and “venue” provisions because Farmers is headquartered in Los Angeles should be viewed by this Court with extreme skepticism as this suit could have been filed in Eureka, California, Nashville, Tennessee or any other court in the country.)

In approximately 2010, a settlement was reached in this pending matter allocating $455 million to be shared by the class, and $90 million in attorneys’ fees. Class counsel (both from Texas and California) advanced a motion for attorneys’ fees supported by declarations and exhibits. The declarations from Texas Class Counsel submitted to this Court are based on work performed in BOTH the Lubin and Fogel matters.

First, the undersigned respectfully asks this Court to consider whether it is fair to ask the Fogel class to finance the Lubin proceedings. Also, the fact that the Lubin matter is still pending and is specifically exempted from the current settlement will allow Texas Class Counsel to again collect fees if there is a future resolution of the litigation in Texas. As such, it is up to this Court to ensure that there will be no double recovery for the Texas Class counsel, and that the Fogel Class does not pay the attorneys’ fees for the Lubin proceedings.

Second, this Court is under a duty to independently examine the fairness of the settlement, including issues of collusion between class counsel and defendants (and their counsel) to ensure that collusion has not taken place by which defendants offer to settle for a lesser amount while offering incentive to class counsel vis-a-vis a large and disproportionate attorneys’ fee award. Hence, this Court is respectfully asked to inquire of Mr. Longley during the fairness hearing how he can support a settlement worth only $455 million for a NATIONWIDE class composed of 12.5 million Americans, when he has previously stated in his opposition to the Texas settlement that the settlement for ONLY the State of Texas should be closer to the $1 billion, the sum he contended was allegedly unfairly and unlawfully collected by Farmers.

A third issue relates to the declarations submitted in support of the request for attorney’s fees. In comparing declarations submitted by Texas Class Counsel (who, as stated above, did most of the fundamental work in the initial phase of Lubin and Villanueva), the declaration submitted by Thomas Girardi on behalf of Girardi & Keese — in which he states that his firm spent 6662 hours on the case — appears to be highly excessive, highly implausible, and highly suspicious. This is further magnified when considering that Walter Lack and his law firm submitted a declaration stating that close to 4000 hours were devoted to the case by Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack.

Nisperos - Copy
A substantial factor leading to the State Bar of California’s ethical and moral collapse allowing Thomas Girardi and others to operate with impunity was provided courtesy of individuals who fall into two categories: minorities and/or close political allies from the Democratic party.  Shown above is former California State Bar of California chief prosecutor and former crack-addict Mike Nisperos, to whom Girardi serve as a “mentor.”  Nisperos spent 28 days at an in-patient psychiatric facility in Oakland after he, delusional, had open fire at an imaginary intruder (See Nisperos vs. Buck 720 F. Supp. 1424, 1427.) Subsequent to his employment with the California Bar, Nisperos was arrested and criminally prosecuted for an attempt to board an airplane carrying a dangerous weapon. (image: courtesy photo)

Usually, the relationship between Girardi & Keese and Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack is based on a business model whereby Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi are responsible for financing the litigation, as well as providing much needed “clout,” very often withing the judicial system of Los Angeles County and the State Bar of California (to wit Thomas Girardi’s friendship with former California Supreme Court Chief Justice George; his friendship with former California State Bar Chief Trial Counsel and former crack addict Mike Nisperos, to whom Girardi serve as a “mentor”; his financing of the political career of the present Executive Director of the State Bar of California, Hon. Senator Joe Dunn; and other questionable “friendships” and relationships, the basis of which are usually political contributions and gifts).

Walter Lack and his firm, who are more methodical, are responsible for the day-to-day management of the litigation through motion practice, discovery, hearings etc. Once serious settlement negotiations commence, Mr. Girardi himself takes over the discussions, and has the final say on whether and under what terms the case should settle.

Hence, if Walter Lack and his firm already worked close to 4000 hours on this case, it is difficult to imagine why Girardi & Keese would also need to have spent 6662 hours on the matter.

In comparison, Joe Longley stated that he worked on BOTH cases only 2740 hours; Philip Maxwell stated that he devoted 2677 hours to both cases. (While this Court treats Longley and Maxwell as two separate law firms, for the majority of the time both presented themselves as one law firm, that of Longley & Maxwell.)

Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese
From left,  Messrs. Raoul Kennedy and Thomas Nolan of Skadden Arps and Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese. While Skadden Arps was representing defendant Farmers Group and Girardi & Keese representing the class of plaintiffs in Fogel vs. Farmers; the two firms entered into a seperate agreement by which Skadden Arps would represent Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi (Photo:courtesy)

As such, the undersigned respectfully requests that this Court scrutinize the declaration submitted by Thomas Girardi by seeking a complete and detailed breakdown of all hours spent.

Additionally, conspicuously lacking is any declaration from Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese, even though he allegedly performed most of the work on behalf of Girardi & Keese. This Court should order Graham LippSmith to also submit a sworn affidavit, along with his timesheets, in support of the purported 6662 hours billed by Girardi & Keese.

Fourth, subsequent to submitting the Objection, and only after reading the omnibus brief submitted by class counsel, the undersigned learned that Zurich Financial Services and Farmers Group, Inc. (represented by Dewey & Lebuef and Skadden Arps) had approached the Court on an ex parte basis in approximately April 2011 in connection with the unsettling attorney-client relationship between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese.

It is quite a strange legal phenomenon when defendants move ex parte for an order pertaining to the future relationship between plaintiffs’ counsel and his clients. Indeed, it is almost as though Skadden Arps is still serving as defense counsel for Girardi & Keese, notwithstanding its own concerns that defendants and counsel may be held liable for interfering with the plaintiff class’s contractual relationship with Girardi & Keese or other related collusion.

It is alleged in the omnibus brief that defendants approached the Court ex parte asking it to analyze a “blog entry” alluding to an ethics complaint filed against Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps with the State Bar of California. Setting aside the absurdity of Zurich Financial Group, Farmers Group, Inc., Dewey & Lebuef, and Skadden Arps (the largest law firm in the world) approaching the Court ex parte asking it to analyze a “blog entry,” as opposed to their own declarations and admissions, the undersigned will concede that, indeed, an ethics complaint was advanced by the undersigned based on the facts subsequently described in the objection filed in this matter.

This Court should be aware that requests by the undersigned to Skadden Arps, Dewey & Lebeuf, Girardi & Keese, ELL, and Texas Class Counsel for a copy of the ex parte papers went unanswered. In addition, the undersigned asked the same parties to post a copy of the complete sets of the ex parte papers on the official settlement website, a request which was also ignored.

Additionally, the undersigned communicated with other credible objectors who were also unaware (at least as of August 16 and 17, 2011) of the fact that defendants had moved ex parte to supplement the notice and restrict any future action on the part of the class, and were otherwise clueless about Paragraph 17 or the fact that Girardi & Keese was a client of Skadden Arps.

As such, this Court must order the parties to post said ex parte application and related papers on the official settlement website so as to provide the class and objectors an opportunity to form objection in an educated fashion by, among other things, requesting a postponement of the upcoming fairness hearing.

Shockingly, and based on the ex parte papers submitted by Zurich and Farmers which were, presumably (and predictably), unopposed by class counsel (because any opposition would expose their own misconduct), the Court issued an order allowing the modification of a notice to the class by which the members would be informed of the attorney-client relationship between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese. The order also, shockingly, stated that members of the class would be prohibited in the future from asserting that they were not adequately represented by class counsel due to the Skadden-Girardi relationship.

Upon reviewing this Court order, it is requested that the Court address inaccuracies in both the order and the notice, along with other issues, to wit;

A. This Court order and the Notice in Paragraph 17 state that the class was represented by “5 other law firms, which have not had any connections to the Farmers Group’s attorneys.” This statement is in contradiction to verbiage, also in Paragraph 17, which states, “The Court has appointed the following lawyers to represent the class as ‘class counsel’: Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese, Walter Lack of ELL, Phillip Maxwell of the Law Offices of Phillip Maxwell and Joe K. Longley of Law offices of Joe K. Longley.”

As this Court only appointed ELL, Longley and Maxwell, the order and the notice are not accurate when it states that 5 other law firms represented the class as, in actuality, only 3 other law firms reviewed the settlement.

B. This Court must take into account that the support of Walter Lack and ELL for the settlement (as part of the “5 other law firms”), and their indifference to the attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps, is suspect as Walter Lack and his firm were part and parcel of the matter of In Re Girardi.

Walter Lack knew all along about the concurrent representation between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese, and was part of the scheme to mislead this Court and the Fogel class by not disclosing the relationship.

Thomas Girardi of Girardi & KeeseLack Walter - Copy
Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack who participated in the scheme to defraud the judiciary and injure Dole Food Company in order to enrich themselves financially. (photo:courtesy)

In fact, it was Walter Lack himself, despite repeated warnings even from within his own firm and from a federal district court judge, who executed the plan to defraud the federal judiciary with a fraudulent translation of a foreign judgment which resulted in the proceedings of In re Girardi. While the resultant proceedings were titled “In Re Girardi,” respondents in those proceedings were Girardi & Keese, Thomas Girardi, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, Paul Triana, Sean Topp, and Walter Lack.

As such, it is highly disingenuous of this Court to authorize a notice to 12.5 million Americans which contains assertions that 5 (or more accuretly, 3) other law firms support the settlement given that one of those law firms (ELL) was part and parcel of the Ninth Circuit proceedings of In Re Girardi.

The Court should keep in mind that Walter Lack for many years chose to hide the collusion between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps not only from the class, but also from this Court, and that he is the same person who was found by the Ninth Circuit to have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and that “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Similarly, Walter Lack remained quiet when the State Bar of California appointed Jerome Falk of Howard Rice to serve as special persecutor to examine his misconduct before the Ninth Circuit. Despite the fact that Thomas Girardi stipulated to the prosecutor that he was “reckless,” and Walter Lack stipulated that his misconduct was “intentional,” Jerome Falk (on behalf of the People of the State of California) “exonerated” both of these attorneys, stating that he did not believe the misconduct was “intentional.”

Despite Walter Lack’s (and Thomas Girardi’s) habit of remaining quiet, it was the undersigned who only very recently discovered that, indeed, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi were actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. (See generally Ninth Circuit matter of Copple vs. Astrella ) With this background, Mr. Falk’s refusal to prosecute Lack and Girardi suddenly makes sense.

Fifth, the omnibus brief is highly offensive, incomplete, misleading, legally unsound, and clearly designed to speed up the collection of $90 million in attorneys’ fees. It is shocking that Girardi & Keese, on behalf of the class, is advancing legal arguments supporting the contention that there were no ethical violations on the part of Skadden Arps and Farmers. This is viewed as an additional fact in support of the collusion between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps; it also calls into question the ability of Girardi & Keese and Benjamin Fogel to adequately represent the class.

In addition, the undersigned take umbrage over the attitude displayed in the omnibus brief concerning the “conflict of interest.” The Court should note that both the undersigned and, presumably, others utilize the term “conflict of interest” in a generalized fashion (and not just as a term of art involving a legal “conflict of interest” with a client), to otherwise denote violations and breaches of ethics rules.

For example, in this case, a true conflict of interest on the part of Girardi & Keese would have arisen had Girardi & Keese, while representing Mr. Fogel and the class, filed a separate action against Mr. Fogel concerning a different matter on behalf of another client. Even if no “true” conflict exists, this does not negate the fact that Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps violated other rules of ethics. And, even if no rules of ethics were violated, that does negate the argument that the Court, while independently fulfilling its duty to examine collusion, must take into account the attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps in the matter of In Re Girardi to support a finding of collusion which was detrimental to the Fogel class and, as such, reject the settlement.

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if the Court needs any further information or clarification of the above-described facts.

*Links and photos inserted by The Leslie Brodie Report.

Fogel vs. Farmers Group Settlement — In Letter to Judge William Highberger Objector Assails Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack’s Walter Lack Re Alleged Collision Between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese; Howard Rice’s Jerry Falk

Amid allegations of breached ethics rules and conflicts of interest, Los Angeles Superior Court Hon. William F. Highberger was recently asked to consider additional matters relating to the approval of the settlement in the case of Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group.

As a service to the community, we shall publish* the communication, below:


Hon. William F. Highberger, who presides over the case of Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group.  Judge Highberger is part of the Los Angeles Superior Court Complex Civil Litigation Program in the CCW Courthouse.

Dear Honorable Judge Highberger:

This will serve to further address the grave and dire circumstances surrounding the proposed settlement in Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc. It will also serve to address matters contained in a troubling order entered by this Court on an ex parte basis on April 28, 2011, and to lodge with the Court concerns regarding the credibility of Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack in hopes that this Court will reject the settlement or, in the alternative, that the Court will award no attorneys’ fees and will shift the proposed $90 million attorneys’ fee award to the pool available to the class.

As the Court is aware, the undersigned have previously lodged an equitable objection (“objection”) informing the Court of ethical violations and fraud perpetuated on this Court stemming from collusion between the law offices of Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps based on the fact that while the Fogel matter was pending before this Court, Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese entered into a wholly separate agreement by which Skadden Arps agreed to represent Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi (9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No.08-80090).

Neither the Ninth Circuit nor this Court (or for that matter, the class of plaintiffs which Girardi allegedly represents) were timely informed of the concurrent representation. In fact, Skadden Arps (on behalf of itself, its client Farmers, and its client Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi) actively and by omission took action to conceal the matter, by among other things, seeking an order from the Ninth Circuit seeking to remove its name from the Ninth Circuit’s published decision of In Re Girardi. The Ninth Circuit denied this request.

A review of class counsel’s omnibus brief and accompanying documents and exhibits filed in the instant matter necessitates this communication in order to ask the Court to further address the following issues:

As this Court is surely aware, the current matter before this court (styled as Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc.) is primarily based on the case originally advanced by the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, along with the Texas Department of Insurance, against Farmers Group, Inc. in approximately 2002.

Within days after the State of Texas filed the case, settlement negotiations commenced, and very shortly thereafter a settlement was announced in the amount of approximately $100 million. Joe K. Longley, an attorney from Austin, Texas (alongside Philip K. Maxwell and Steve McCleery), representing policyholder Jan Lubin, stated that Texas is settling on the “cheap,” and immediately commenced legal proceedings to derail the settlement.

Farmers’ policyholders Gilberto Villanueva and Michael Paladino both had previous class actions pending in the State of Texas prior to the State action being brought. These Intervenors were represented by State Bar of Texas members Alice Oliver-Parrott, David Burrow, David Jones, and R. Martin Weber.

At that time, Mr. Longley publicly stated that Farmers was unfairly enriched in an amount 10 times greater than the settlement amount, and presumably Mr. Longley wanted the State of Texas to settle for an amount close to $1 billion. Longley. along with several other lawyers (Phil Maxwell, Mike Gallagher, and Stephen McCleery), who were later joined by David Burrow, Alice Oliver-Parrot, Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey (collectively “Texas Class Counsel” ), immediately commenced legal proceedings to halt the settlement.

Beginning in December 2002 and continuing thereafter for five months in 2003, the parties engaged in intensive discovery; motion practice; document review; hearing preparation; hearings; and depositions, and extensive lawyer time and effort took place to prepare for, and participate in, the preliminary approval hearing the Texas District Court had set to be heard commencing in May 2003.

In February 2003, it became apparent to the Lubin’s co-counsel that additional legal assistance was needed. Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey were added at that time to act as co-counsel, with Longley & Maxwell, LLP, in representing Jan Lubin.

During those proceedings, particularly during the initial phase, Texas Class Counsel obtained and reviewed thousands of documents, and through masterful lawyering, and while opposed by the endless resources of the Attorney General of the State of Texas managed to derail the settlement. This matter became known as the “Lubin Proceedings,” and is still pending in the Texas courts, 261 Judicial District Court of Travis County.


Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, noted that “Farmers Insurance represent nearly twenty percent of the homeowners’ insurance market in Texas.”  Governor Perry further noted that “the investigations are still ongoing, but the findings reflect that at least on company, Farmers Insurance, has engaged in unfair, discriminatory prices to charge consume excessive and unjustified rates.” In the above photo, Governor Perry is seen before a hunting trip near Merrill, Iowa. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

Recognizing that much of the legal work was already completed by the State of Texas and the Texas Department of Insurance — which gave rise to a presumption of validity and credibility to the allegations against Farmers — Mr. Longley and some of the Texas Class Counsel saw the enourmous opportunity that had been presented to them and sought to file a nationwide class action against Farmers.

As such, in 2003, Longley and a few of the Texas Class Counsel flew to Los Angeles to meet with Messrs. Thomas Girardi (of Girardi & Keese) and Walter Lack (of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack); one month later, after the appropriate plaintiff had been selected, the current case was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court styled Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group Inc. (Incidentally, the allegations set forth in Joe Longley’s declaration that they flew to Los Angeles to meet with Girardi and Lack only after reviewing “choice of law” and “venue” provisions because Farmers is headquartered in Los Angeles should be viewed by this Court with extreme skepticism as this suit could have been filed in Eureka, California, Nashville, Tennessee or any other court in the country.)

In approximately 2010, a settlement was reached in this pending matter allocating $455 million to be shared by the class, and $90 million in attorneys’ fees. Class counsel (both from Texas and California) advanced a motion for attorneys’ fees supported by declarations and exhibits. The declarations from Texas Class Counsel submitted to this Court are based on work performed in BOTH the Lubin and Fogel matters.

First, the undersigned respectfully asks this Court to consider whether it is fair to ask the Fogel class to finance the Lubin proceedings. Also, the fact that the Lubin matter is still pending and is specifically exempted from the current settlement will allow Texas Class Counsel to again collect fees if there is a future resolution of the litigation in Texas. As such, it is up to this Court to ensure that there will be no double recovery for the Texas Class counsel, and that the Fogel Class does not pay the attorneys’ fees for the Lubin proceedings.

Second, this Court is under a duty to independently examine the fairness of the settlement, including issues of collusion between class counsel and defendants (and their counsel) to ensure that collusion has not taken place by which defendants offer to settle for a lesser amount while offering incentive to class counsel vis-a-vis a large and disproportionate attorneys’ fee award. Hence, this Court is respectfully asked to inquire of Mr. Longley during the fairness hearing how he can support a settlement worth only $455 million for a NATIONWIDE class composed of 12.5 million Americans, when he has previously stated in his opposition to the Texas settlement that the settlement for ONLY the State of Texas should be closer to the $1 billion, the sum he contended was allegedly unfairly and unlawfully collected by Farmers.

A third issue relates to the declarations submitted in support of the request for attorney’s fees. In comparing declarations submitted by Texas Class Counsel (who, as stated above, did most of the fundamental work in the initial phase of Lubin and Villanueva), the declaration submitted by Thomas Girardi on behalf of Girardi & Keese — in which he states that his firm spent 6662 hours on the case — appears to be highly excessive, highly implausible, and highly suspicious. This is further magnified when considering that Walter Lack and his law firm submitted a declaration stating that close to 4000 hours were devoted to the case by Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack.

Usually, the relationship between Girardi & Keese and Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack is based on a business model whereby Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi are responsible for financing the litigation, as well as providing much needed “clout,” very often withing the judicial system of Los Angeles County and the State Bar of California (to wit Thomas Girardi’s friendship with former California Supreme Court Chief Justice George; his friendship with former California State Bar Chief Trial Counsel and former crack addict Mike Nisperos, to whom Girardi serve as a “mentor”; his financing of the political career of the present Executive Director of the State Bar of California, Hon. Senator Joe Dunn; and other questionable “friendships” and relationships, the basis of which are usually political contributions and gifts).

Walter Lack and his firm, who are more methodical, are responsible for the day-to-day management of the litigation through motion practice, discovery, hearings etc. Once serious settlement negotiations commence, Mr. Girardi himself takes over the discussions, and has the final say on whether and under what terms the case should settle.

Hence, if Walter Lack and his firm already worked close to 4000 hours on this case, it is difficult to imagine why Girardi & Keese would also need to have spent 6662 hours on the matter.

In comparison, Joe Longley stated that he worked on BOTH cases only 2740 hours; Philip Maxwell stated that he devoted 2677 hours to both cases. (While this Court treats Longley and Maxwell as two separate law firms, for the majority of the time both presented themselves as one law firm, that of Longley & Maxwell.)

Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese
From left,  Messrs. Raoul Kennedy and Thomas Nolan of Skadden Arps and Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese. While Skadden Arps was representing defendant Farmers Group and Girardi & Keese representing the class of plaintiffs in Fogel vs. Farmers; the two firms entered into a seperate agreement by which Skadden Arps would represent Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi (Photo:courtesy)

As such, the undersigned respectfully requests that this Court scrutinize the declaration submitted by Thomas Girardi by seeking a complete and detailed breakdown of all hours spent.

Additionally, conspicuously lacking is any declaration from Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese, even though he allegedly performed most of the work on behalf of Girardi & Keese. This Court should order Graham LippSmith to also submit a sworn affidavit, along with his timesheets, in support of the purported 6662 hours billed by Girardi & Keese.

Fourth, subsequent to submitting the Objection, and only after reading the omnibus brief submitted by class counsel, the undersigned learned that Zurich Financial Services and Farmers Group, Inc. (represented by Dewey & Lebuef and Skadden Arps) had approached the Court on an ex parte basis in approximately April 2011 in connection with the unsettling attorney-client relationship between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese.

It is quite a strange legal phenomenon when defendants move ex parte for an order pertaining to the future relationship between plaintiffs’ counsel and his clients. Indeed, it is almost as though Skadden Arps is still serving as defense counsel for Girardi & Keese, notwithstanding its own concerns that defendants and counsel may be held liable for interfering with the plaintiff class’s contractual relationship with Girardi & Keese or other related collusion.

It is alleged in the omnibus brief that defendants approached the Court ex parte asking it to analyze a “blog entry” alluding to an ethics complaint filed against Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps with the State Bar of California. Setting aside the absurdity of Zurich Financial Group, Farmers Group, Inc., Dewey & Lebuef, and Skadden Arps (the largest law firm in the world) approaching the Court ex parte asking it to analyze a “blog entry,” as opposed to their own declarations and admissions, the undersigned will concede that, indeed, an ethics complaint was advanced by the undersigned based on the facts subsequently described in the objection filed in this matter.

This Court should be aware that requests by the undersigned to Skadden Arps, Dewey & Lebeuf, Girardi & Keese, ELL, and Texas Class Counsel for a copy of the ex parte papers went unanswered. In addition, the undersigned asked the same parties to post a copy of the complete sets of the ex parte papers on the official settlement website, a request which was also ignored.

Additionally, the undersigned communicated with other credible objectors who were also unaware (at least as of August 16 and 17, 2011) of the fact that defendants had moved ex parte to supplement the notice and restrict any future action on the part of the class, and were otherwise clueless about Paragraph 17 or the fact that Girardi & Keese was a client of Skadden Arps.

As such, this Court must order the parties to post said ex parte application and related papers on the official settlement website so as to provide the class and objectors an opportunity to form objection in an educated fashion by, among other things, requesting a postponement of the upcoming fairness hearing.

Shockingly, and based on the ex parte papers submitted by Zurich and Farmers which were, presumably (and predictably), unopposed by class counsel (because any opposition would expose their own misconduct), the Court issued an order allowing the modification of a notice to the class by which the members would be informed of the attorney-client relationship between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese. The order also, shockingly, stated that members of the class would be prohibited in the future from asserting that they were not adequately represented by class counsel due to the Skadden-Girardi relationship.

Upon reviewing this Court order, it is requested that the Court address inaccuracies in both the order and the notice, along with other issues, to wit;

A. This Court order and the Notice in Paragraph 17 state that the class was represented by “5 other law firms, which have not had any connections to the Farmers Group’s attorneys.” This statement is in contradiction to verbiage, also in Paragraph 17, which states, “The Court has appointed the following lawyers to represent the class as ‘class counsel’: Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese, Walter Lack of ELL, Phillip Maxwell of the Law Offices of Phillip Maxwell and Joe K. Longley of Law offices of Joe K. Longley.”

As this Court only appointed ELL, Longley and Maxwell, the order and the notice are not accurate when it states that 5 other law firms represented the class as, in actuality, only 3 other law firms reviewed the settlement.

B. This Court must take into account that the support of Walter Lack and ELL for the settlement (as part of the “5 other law firms”), and their indifference to the attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps, is suspect as Walter Lack and his firm were part and parcel of the matter of In Re Girardi.

Walter Lack knew all along about the concurrent representation between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese, and was part of the scheme to mislead this Court and the Fogel class by not disclosing the relationship.

Thomas Girardi of Girardi & KeeseLack Walter - Copy
Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack who participated in the scheme to defraud the judiciary and injure Dole Food Company in order to enrich themselves financially. (photo:courtesy)

In fact, it was Walter Lack himself, despite repeated warnings even from within his own firm and from a federal district court judge, who executed the plan to defraud the federal judiciary with a fraudulent translation of a foreign judgment which resulted in the proceedings of In re Girardi. While the resultant proceedings were titled “In Re Girardi,” respondents in those proceedings were Girardi & Keese, Thomas Girardi, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, Paul Triana, Sean Topp, and Walter Lack.

As such, it is highly disingenuous of this Court to authorize a notice to 12.5 million Americans which contains assertions that 5 (or more accuretly, 3) other law firms support the settlement given that one of those law firms (ELL) was part and parcel of the Ninth Circuit proceedings of In Re Girardi.

The Court should keep in mind that Walter Lack for many years chose to hide the collusion between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps not only from the class, but also from this Court, and that he is the same person who was found by the Ninth Circuit to have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and that “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Similarly, Walter Lack remained quiet when the State Bar of California appointed Jerome Falk of Howard Rice to serve as special persecutor to examine his misconduct before the Ninth Circuit. Despite the fact that Thomas Girardi stipulated to the prosecutor that he was “reckless,” and Walter Lack stipulated that his misconduct was “intentional,” Jerome Falk (on behalf of the People of the State of California) “exonerated” both of these attorneys, stating that he did not believe the misconduct was “intentional.”

Despite Walter Lack’s (and Thomas Girardi’s) habit of remaining quiet, it was the undersigned who only very recently discovered that, indeed, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi were actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. (See generally Ninth Circuit matter of Copple vs. Astrella ) With this background, Mr. Falk’s refusal to prosecute Lack and Girardi suddenly makes sense.

Fifth, the omnibus brief is highly offensive, incomplete, misleading, legally unsound, and clearly designed to speed up the collection of $90 million in attorneys’ fees. It is shocking that Girardi & Keese, on behalf of the class, is advancing legal arguments supporting the contention that there were no ethical violations on the part of Skadden Arps and Farmers. This is viewed as an additional fact in support of the collusion between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps; it also calls into question the ability of Girardi & Keese and Benjamin Fogel to adequately represent the class.

In addition, the undersigned take umbrage over the attitude displayed in the omnibus brief concerning the “conflict of interest.” The Court should note that both the undersigned and, presumably, others utilize the term “conflict of interest” in a generalized fashion (and not just as a term of art involving a legal “conflict of interest” with a client), to otherwise denote violations and breaches of ethics rules.

For example, in this case, a true conflict of interest on the part of Girardi & Keese would have arisen had Girardi & Keese, while representing Mr. Fogel and the class, filed a separate action against Mr. Fogel concerning a different matter on behalf of another client. Even if no “true” conflict exists, this does not negate the fact that Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps violated other rules of ethics. And, even if no rules of ethics were violated, that does negate the argument that the Court, while independently fulfilling its duty to examine collusion, must take into account the attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps in the matter of In Re Girardi to support a finding of collusion which was detrimental to the Fogel class and, as such, reject the settlement.

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if the Court needs any further information or clarification of the above-described facts.

*Links and photos inserted by The Leslie Brodie Report.

Fogel vs. Farmers Group Settlement — In Letter to Judge William Highberger Objector Assails Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack’s Walter Lack Re Alleged Collision Between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese; Howard Rice’s Jerry Falk

Amid allegations of breached ethics rules and conflicts of interest, Los Angeles Superior Court Hon William Highberger was recently asked to consider additional matters relating to the approval of the settlement.

As a service to the community, we shall publish the communication, below:

Dear Honorable Judge Highberger:

This will serve to further address the grave and dire circumstances surrounding the proposed settlement in Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc. It will also serve to address matters contained in a troubling order entered by this Court on an ex parte basis on April 28, 2011, and to lodge with the Court concerns regarding the credibility of Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack in hopes that this Court will reject the settlement or, in the alternative, that the Court will award no attorneys’ fees and will shift the proposed $90 million attorneys’ fee award to the pool available to the class.

As the Court is aware, the undersigned have previously lodged an equitable objection (“objection”) informing the Court of ethical violations and fraud perpetuated on this Court stemming from collusion between the law offices of Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps based on the fact that while the Fogel matter was pending before this Court, Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese entered into a wholly separate agreement by which Skadden Arps agreed to represent Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi (9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No.08-80090).

Neither the Ninth Circuit nor this Court (or for that matter, the class of plaintiffs which Girardi allegedly represents) were timely informed of the concurrent representation. In fact, Skadden Arps (on behalf of itself, its client Farmers, and its client Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi) actively and by omission took action to conceal the matter, by among other things, seeking an order from the Ninth Circuit seeking to remove its name from the Ninth Circuit’s published decision of In Re Girardi. The Ninth Circuit denied this request.

A review of class counsel’s omnibus brief and accompanying documents and exhibits filed in the instant matter necessitates this communication in order to ask the Court to further address the following issues:

As this Court is surely aware, the current matter before this court (styled as Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc.) is primarily based on the case originally advanced by the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, along with the Texas Department of Insurance, against Farmers Group, Inc. in approximately 2002.

Within days after the State of Texas filed the case, settlement negotiations commenced, and very shortly thereafter a settlement was announced in the amount of approximately $100 million. Joe K. Longley, an attorney from Austin, Texas (alongside Philip K. Maxwell and Steve McCleery), representing policyholder Jan Lubin, stated that Texas is settling on the “cheap,” and immediately commenced legal proceedings to derail the settlement.

Farmers’ policyholders Gilberto Villanueva and Michael Paladino both had previous class actions pending in the State of Texas prior to the State action being brought. These Intervenors were represented by State Bar of Texas members Alice Oliver-Parrott, David Burrow, David Jones, and R. Martin Weber.

At that time, Mr. Longley publicly stated that Farmers was unfairly enriched in an amount 10 times greater than the settlement amount, and presumably Mr. Longley wanted the State of Texas to settle for an amount close to $1 billion. Longley. along with several other lawyers (Phil Maxwell, Mike Gallagher, and Stephen McCleery), who were later joined by David Burrow, Alice Oliver-Parrot, Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey (collectively “Texas Class Counsel” ), immediately commenced legal proceedings to halt the settlement.

Beginning in December 2002 and continuing thereafter for five months in 2003, the parties engaged in intensive discovery; motion practice; document review; hearing preparation; hearings; and depositions, and extensive lawyer time and effort took place to prepare for, and participate in, the preliminary approval hearing the Texas District Court had set to be heard commencing in May 2003.

In February 2003, it became apparent to the Lubin’s co-counsel that additional legal assistance was needed. Mike Gallagher and Dan Downey were added at that time to act as co-counsel, with Longley & Maxwell, LLP, in representing Jan Lubin.

During those proceedings, particularly during the initial phase, Texas Class Counsel obtained and reviewed thousands of documents, and through masterful lawyering, and while opposed by the endless resources of the Attorney General of the State of Texas managed to derail the settlement. This matter became known as the “Lubin Proceedings,” and is still pending in the Texas courts, 261 Judicial District Court of Travis County.

Recognizing that much of the legal work was already completed by the State of Texas and the Texas Department of Insurance — which gave rise to a presumption of validity and credibility to the allegations against Farmers — Mr. Longley and some of the Texas Class Counsel saw the enourmous opportunity that had been presented to them and sought to file a nationwide class action against Farmers.

As such, in 2003, Longley and a few of the Texas Class Counsel flew to Los Angeles to meet with Messrs. Thomas Girardi (of Girardi & Keese) and Walter Lack (of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack); one month later, after the appropriate plaintiff had been selected, the current case was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court styled Benjamin Fogel v Farmers Group Inc. (Incidentally, the allegations set forth in Joe Longley’s declaration that they flew to Los Angeles to meet with Girardi and Lack only after reviewing “choice of law” and “venue” provisions because Farmers is headquartered in Los Angeles should be viewed by this Court with extreme skepticism as this suit could have been filed in Eureka, California, Nashville, Tennessee or any other court in the country.)

In approximately 2010, a settlement was reached in this pending matter allocating $455 million to be shared by the class, and $90 million in attorneys’ fees. Class counsel (both from Texas and California) advanced a motion for attorneys’ fees supported by declarations and exhibits. The declarations from Texas Class Counsel submitted to this Court are based on work performed in BOTH the Lubin and Fogel matters.

First, the undersigned respectfully asks this Court to consider whether it is fair to ask the Fogel class to finance the Lubin proceedings. Also, the fact that the Lubin matter is still pending and is specifically exempted from the current settlement will allow Texas Class Counsel to again collect fees if there is a future resolution of the litigation in Texas. As such, it is up to this Court to ensure that there will be no double recovery for the Texas Class counsel, and that the Fogel Class does not pay the attorneys’ fees for the Lubin proceedings.

Second, this Court is under a duty to independently examine the fairness of the settlement, including issues of collusion between class counsel and defendants (and their counsel) to ensure that collusion has not taken place by which defendants offer to settle for a lesser amount while offering incentive to class counsel vis-a-vis a large and disproportionate attorneys’ fee award. Hence, this Court is respectfully asked to inquire of Mr. Longley during the fairness hearing how he can support a settlement worth only $455 million for a NATIONWIDE class composed of 12.5 million Americans, when he has previously stated in his opposition to the Texas settlement that the settlement for ONLY the State of Texas should be closer to the $1 billion, the sum he contended was allegedly unfairly and unlawfully collected by Farmers.

A third issue relates to the declarations submitted in support of the request for attorney’s fees. In comparing declarations submitted by Texas Class Counsel (who, as stated above, did most of the fundamental work in the initial phase of Lubin and Villanueva), the declaration submitted by Thomas Girardi on behalf of Girardi & Keese — in which he states that his firm spent 6662 hours on the case — appears to be highly excessive, highly implausible, and highly suspicious. This is further magnified when considering that Walter Lack and his law firm submitted a declaration stating that close to 4000 hours were devoted to the case by Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack.

Usually, the relationship between Girardi & Keese and Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack is based on a business model whereby Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi are responsible for financing the litigation, as well as providing much needed “clout,” very often withing the judicial system of Los Angeles County and the State Bar of California (to wit Thomas Girardi’s friendship with former California Supreme Court Chief Justice George; his friendship with former California State Bar Chief Trial Counsel and former crack addict Mike Nisperos, to whom Girardi serve as a “mentor”; his financing of the political career of the present Executive Director of the State Bar of California, Hon. Senator Joe Dunn; and other questionable “friendships” and relationships, the basis of which are usually political contributions and gifts).

Walter Lack and his firm, who are more methodical, are responsible for the day-to-day management of the litigation through motion practice, discovery, hearings etc. Once serious settlement negotiations commence, Mr. Girardi himself takes over the discussions, and has the final say on whether and under what terms the case should settle.

Hence, if Walter Lack and his firm already worked close to 4000 hours on this case, it is difficult to imagine why Girardi & Keese would also need to have spent 6662 hours on the matter.

In comparison, Joe Longley stated that he worked on BOTH cases only 2740 hours; Philip Maxwell stated that he devoted 2677 hours to both cases. (While this Court treats Longley and Maxwell as two separate law firms, for the majority of the time both presented themselves as one law firm, that of Longley & Maxwell.)

As such, the undersigned respectfully requests that this Court scrutinize the declaration submitted by Thomas Girardi by seeking a complete and detailed breakdown of all hours spent.

Additionally, conspicuously lacking is any declaration from Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese, even though he allegedly performed most of the work on behalf of Girardi & Keese. This Court should order Graham LippSmith to also submit a sworn affidavit, along with his timesheets, in support of the purported 6662 hours billed by Girardi & Keese.

Fourth, subsequent to submitting the Objection, and only after reading the omnibus brief submitted by class counsel, the undersigned learned that Zurich Financial Services and Farmers Group, Inc. (represented by Dewey & Lebuef and Skadden Arps) had approached the Court on an ex parte basis in approximately April 2011 in connection with the unsettling attorney-client relationship between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese.

It is quite a strange legal phenomenon when defendants move ex parte for an order pertaining to the future relationship between plaintiffs’ counsel and his clients. Indeed, it is almost as though Skadden Arps is still serving as defense counsel for Girardi & Keese, notwithstanding its own concerns that defendants and counsel may be held liable for interfering with the plaintiff class’s contractual relationship with Girardi & Keese or other related collusion.

It is alleged in the omnibus brief that defendants approached the Court ex parte asking it to analyze a “blog entry” alluding to an ethics complaint filed against Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps with the State Bar of California. Setting aside the absurdity of Zurich Financial Group, Farmers Group, Inc., Dewey & Lebuef, and Skadden Arps (the largest law firm in the world) approaching the Court ex parte asking it to analyze a “blog entry,” as opposed to their own declarations and admissions, the undersigned will concede that, indeed, an ethics complaint was advanced by the undersigned based on the facts subsequently described in the objection filed in this matter.

This Court should be aware that requests by the undersigned to Skadden Arps, Dewey & Lebeuf, Girardi & Keese, ELL, and Texas Class Counsel for a copy of the ex parte papers went unanswered. In addition, the undersigned asked the same parties to post a copy of the complete sets of the ex parte papers on the official settlement website, a request which was also ignored.

Additionally, the undersigned communicated with other credible objectors who were also unaware (at least as of August 16 and 17, 2011) of the fact that defendants had moved ex parte to supplement the notice and restrict any future action on the part of the class, and were otherwise clueless about Paragraph 17 or the fact that Girardi & Keese was a client of Skadden Arps.

As such, this Court must order the parties to post said ex parte application and related papers on the official settlement website so as to provide the class and objectors an opportunity to form objection in an educated fashion by, among other things, requesting a postponement of the upcoming fairness hearing.

Shockingly, and based on the ex parte papers submitted by Zurich and Farmers which were, presumably (and predictably), unopposed by class counsel (because any opposition would expose their own misconduct), the Court issued an order allowing the modification of a notice to the class by which the members would be informed of the attorney-client relationship between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese. The order also, shockingly, stated that members of the class would be prohibited in the future from asserting that they were not adequately represented by class counsel due to the Skadden-Girardi relationship.

Upon reviewing this Court order, it is requested that the Court address inaccuracies in both the order and the notice, along with other issues, to wit;

A. This Court order and the Notice in Paragraph 17 state that the class was represented by “5 other law firms, which have not had any connections to the Farmers Group’s attorneys.” This statement is in contradiction to verbiage, also in Paragraph 17, which states, “The Court has appointed the following lawyers to represent the class as ‘class counsel’: Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith of Girardi & Keese, Walter Lack of ELL, Phillip Maxwell of the Law Offices of Phillip Maxwell and Joe K. Longley of Law offices of Joe K. Longley.”

As this Court only appointed ELL, Longley and Maxwell, the order and the notice are not accurate when it states that 5 other law firms represented the class as, in actuality, only 3 other law firms reviewed the settlement.

B. This Court must take into account that the support of Walter Lack and ELL for the settlement (as part of the “5 other law firms”), and their indifference to the attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps, is suspect as Walter Lack and his firm were part and parcel of the matter of In Re Girardi.

Walter Lack knew all along about the concurrent representation between Skadden Arps and Girardi & Keese, and was part of the scheme to mislead this Court and the Fogel class by not disclosing the relationship.

In fact, it was Walter Lack himself, despite repeated warnings even from within his own firm and from a federal district court judge, who executed the plan to defraud the federal judiciary with a fraudulent translation of a foreign judgment which resulted in the proceedings of In re Girardi. While the resultant proceedings were titled “In Re Girardi,” respondents in those proceedings were Girardi & Keese, Thomas Girardi, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, Paul Triana, Sean Topp, and Walter Lack.

As such, it is highly disingenuous of this Court to authorize a notice to 12.5 million Americans which contains assertions that 5 (or more accuretly, 3) other law firms support the settlement given that one of those law firms (ELL) was part and parcel of the Ninth Circuit proceedings of In Re Girardi.

The Court should keep in mind that Walter Lack for many years chose to hide the collusion between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps not only from the class, but also from this Court, and that he is the same person who was found by the Ninth Circuit to have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and that “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Similarly, Walter Lack remained quiet when the State Bar of California appointed Jerome Falk of Howard Rice to serve as special persecutor to examine his misconduct before the Ninth Circuit. Despite the fact that Thomas Girardi stipulated to the prosecutor that he was “reckless,” and Walter Lack stipulated that his misconduct was “intentional,” Jerome Falk (on behalf of the People of the State of California) “exonerated” both of these attorneys, stating that he did not believe the misconduct was “intentional.”

Despite Walter Lack’s (and Thomas Girardi’s) habit of remaining quiet, it was the undersigned who only very recently discovered that, indeed, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi were actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. (See generally Ninth Circuit matter of Copple vs. Astrella ) With this background, Mr. Falk’s refusal to prosecute Lack and Girardi suddenly makes sense.

Fifth, the omnibus brief is highly offensive, incomplete, misleading, legally unsound, and clearly designed to speed up the collection of $90 million in attorneys’ fees. It is shocking that Girardi & Keese, on behalf of the class, is advancing legal arguments supporting the contention that there were no ethical violations on the part of Skadden Arps and Farmers. This is viewed as an additional fact in support of the collusion between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps; it also calls into question the ability of Girardi & Keese and Benjamin Fogel to adequately represent the class.

In addition, the undersigned take umbrage over the attitude displayed in the omnibus brief concerning the “conflict of interest.” The Court should note that both the undersigned and, presumably, others utilize the term “conflict of interest” in a generalized fashion (and not just as a term of art involving a legal “conflict of interest” with a client), to otherwise denote violations and breaches of ethics rules.

For example, in this case, a true conflict of interest on the part of Girardi & Keese would have arisen had Girardi & Keese, while representing Mr. Fogel and the class, filed a separate action against Mr. Fogel concerning a different matter on behalf of another client. Even if no “true” conflict exists, this does not negate the fact that Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps violated other rules of ethics. And, even if no rules of ethics were violated, that does negate the argument that the Court, while independently fulfilling its duty to examine collusion, must take into account the attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps in the matter of In Re Girardi to support a finding of collusion which was detrimental to the Fogel class and, as such, reject the settlement.

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if the Court needs any further information or clarification of the above-described facts.

Judge William Highberger Allows State of Montana to Object to Settlement in Farmers v. Fogel

By Zach Winnick

Law360, Los Angeles (October 31, 2011, 9:08 PM ET) — A California judge on Monday allowed the state of Montana to intervene and challenge terms of a proposed $565 million settlement in a class action alleging Farmers Group Inc. breached its fiduciary duties and violated unfair competition laws by overcharging policyholders for management fees.

“I believe it’s prudent and proper to allow Montana to intervene,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger said at a hearing Monday. “If the settlement is to be approved, it can only benefit by having as many eyes as possible…

See@:
http://www.law360.com/articles/282076/mont-intervenes-in-565m-farmers-settlement

2009 — Zurich Financial Services loses personal details of 51,000 customers | Money | guardian.co.uk

2007 — Zurich Financial Services Pays $16.8 Million in SEC Fund Probe (Update1) – Bloomberg

May 7 (Bloomberg) — Zurich Financial Services AG, Switzerland’s biggest insurer, will pay $16.8 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accusations it helped hedge funds make trades that hurt mutual-fund investors.

Zurich Capital Markets, a U.S. subsidiary, helped four hedge funds disguise their identities to avoid detection when making frequent trades in mutual-fund shares, a practice called market timing, the SEC said in statement today.

“By knowingly financing their hedge funds clients’ deceptive market timing, ZCM reaped substantial fees at the expense of long-term mutual-fund shareholders,” Mark Schonfeld, director of the SEC’s regional office in New York, said in the statement.

The case stems from a U.S. regulatory crackdown, starting in 2003, on trading abuses in the $10.8 trillion mutual-fund industry. Sanctions against the Zurich-based insurer are dwarfed by fines in some similar cases, such as Bear Stearns Cos.’ $250 million settlement in 2006.

Zurich Capital Markets, which is winding down operations, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle the case, the Washington-based SEC said.

“It was in the best interests of the company to resolve this matter with the SEC and thus eliminate the burden, expense and uncertainty of potential enforcement proceedings by the commission,” Zurich Financial said in a statement. “ZCM has fully cooperated with the commission.”

The subsidiary didn’t make any timed trades of its own, the company added.

Market timing exploits inefficiencies in pricing and can increase transaction costs borne by long-term investors.

The settlement includes a $4 million fine and forfeiture of $12.8 million in profits. The money will be distributed to mutual-fund investors harmed by the trading, the SEC said.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Scheer in Washington dscheer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Erik Schatzker at eschatzker@bloomberg.net

Complete story @:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&refer=insurance&sid=aHGVvi…

Manhattan Federal Judge Blasts SEC Over Fee Request in $25 Million Zurich Financial Servicesl Fraud Settlement

The SEC charged Zurich with aiding and abetting a fraud by a spinoff group, Converium Holding AG, by using bogus reinsurance transactions to inflate Converium’s financials prior to a 2001 initial public offering. Zurich immediately settled, agreeing to pay the SEC $25 million to be disbursed to Converium shareholders. According to the docket, Garden City Group is represented by Dechert, but the single lawyer named as counsel for GCG appears to have left the firm. Zurich is represented by Jonathan Richman of Dewey & Leboeuf. Almost exactly one year ago Zurich agreed to pay $455 million to settle an unrelated class action over allegedly excessive fees paid by its Farmers Group unit.

See complete story @:
http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202517771702&Manhattan_Judge_B…

Amid Controversy Zurich Financial Services and Farmers Group, Inc. Asked to Post Complete Set of Legal Documents on Fogel v. Farmers Official Settlement Website

Amid allegations of breached ethics rules and conflicts of interest, Swiss insurance group Zurich Financial Services AG ( ZURN) and its U.S. subsidiary Farmers Group, Inc. were recently asked to post a complete set of the ex parte motions submitted to the Los Angeles County Superior Court on the official Fogel v. Farmers settlement website.

The request was made in connection with an ongoing controversy surrounding the concurrent legal representation by Farmers Group, Inc.’s legal counsel (Law Offices of Skadden Arps) of Thomas Girardi and Girardi & Keese in the Ninth Circuit matter of In Re Girardi throughout the entire time the Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc. matter was being litigated.

According to an ethics complaint submitted to the State Bar of California, despite their respective roles as plaintiffs’ counsel and defendants’ counsel in Fogel v. Farmers, Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps entered into a wholly separate agreement by which Skadden Arps represented Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi before the Ninth Circuit in the matter of In re Girardi ( Ninth Circuit case number 08-80090) following that court’s issuance of an order to show cause why Girardi & Keese, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, Thomas Girardi, and Walter Lack should not be suspended, disbarred, or otherwise sanctioned as a result of the massive fraud which took place in litigation pursued by them against Dole Food Company.

The Ninth Circuit issued a decision heavily sanctioning both Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi (and their respective firms) almost $500,000; the court also reprimanded Mr. Girardi and suspended Mr. Lack from practicing before the court for a period of 6 months.

In order to conceal the relationship from class members in the Fogel class action (approximately 12.5 million Americans) , the day after the Ninth Circuit issued its published decision, Skadden Arps (on its behalf as well as on behalf of its clients, Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi) officially asked the court to remove its name from the decision. The court rejected the unusual request, noting that redaction was not merited.

Additionally, on April 28, 2011, after Zurich Financial Group and Farmers Group, Inc. realized that a complaint had been filed with the State Bar of California alleging ethical violations, attorneys for both Zurich and Farmers approached the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge overseeing the Fogel matter (Judge William Highberger), seeking and obtaining an ex parte order modifying the settlement agreement, with little or no opposition from the plaintiff class. (Thomas Girardi, Walter Lack, as well as several attorneys form the state of Texas)

Additionally, per the ex-parte order, the class was notified that once the court approves the settlement, class members will be prohibiting from alleging in the future that they were not adequately represented by their attorneys due to the prior attorney client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the request to post a complete set of the ex parte motion on the official Fogel settlement website was made to provide class members notice of all relevant events. “It is only fair that the class and objectors be afforded an opportunity to review those documents in order to formulate replies and state their positions in an educated manner at the upcoming fairness hearing,” the source stated.

The settlement of Fogel v. Farmers Group, a nationwide class action lawsuit pending in Los Angeles County Superior Court, will resolve all claims dating back to 1999, in a complaint originally filed in August 2003.

According to Farmers Group, Inc., ” under the terms of the settlement a sum of $455 million will be made available to up to 13 million policyholders who may qualify for distributions under the settlement, with any residual amount going to the Exchanges owned by their respective policyholder subscribers. While the allocation plan for payments to class members has not yet been determined, and while actual individual payments may vary considerably, this averages out to a mere estimated $35 per class member or policyholder subscriber. Zurich also will pay attorneys’ fees to class counsel of up to $90 million.

As part of the settlement, plaintiffs have agreed to dismiss the case and drop all claims against FGI and its parent, Zurich. All terms of the proposed settlement are subject to execution of a formal settlement agreement and court approval.

Robert Woudstra, Farmers Group Chief Executive, stated that his company settled rather than prolonging the uncertainty and cost of a legal battle that has already lasted seven years. Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is the nation’s third-largest insurer of both personal lines passenger automobile and homeowners insurance, and also provides a wide range of other insurance and financial services products.”

*Farmers is a trade name and may refer to Farmers Group, Inc. or the Farmers Exchanges, as the case may be. Farmers Group, Inc., a management and holding company, along with its subsidiaries, is wholly owned by the Zurich Financial Services Group. The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders, and managed by Farmers Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

For more information about Farmers, visit its website at www.farmers.com.

For more information about the Fogel settlements, including links to the official settlement web-site, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/fogelvfarmersgroup

 

2006 — Joe Longley Obtains Class Certification in Suit Against Farmers filed in Federal Court in Oklahoma

Federal Judge Certifies Nationwide FCRA Class Action Against Farmers
Insurance
Print this article

OKLAHOMA CITY April 21 (BestWire) – An Oklahoma City federal court has
certified a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Farmers Insurance
Group alleging willful violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a
move that could cost the insurer anywhere from $550 million to $5.5
billion in penalties.

The order issued April 13 is a preliminary ruling by the court allowing
the case to proceed as a nationwide class action, said Joe K. Longley
of Longley and Maxwell LLP of Austin, Texas, a co-counsel representing
the plaintiffs. The defendants named in the action include Farmers
Insurance Co., Farmers Group Inc., Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire
Underwriters Association, Fire Insurance Exchange and Mid-Century
Insurance Co.

“This is a nationwide class action that entails almost all of the
Farmers entities including their management company, Farmers Group
Inc.,” Longley said. “It goes all the way to the nerve center.”

Farmers Group Inc. is the attorney-in-fact for the lead reciprocal
exchange within the Farmers Insurance Group and is a U.S.-based
subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services Group, based in Zurich,
Switzerland. Farmers Insurance Group is a leading personal-lines
insurer in the United States and accounts for about 29% of Zurich’s
worldwide premiums.

The plaintiffs allege the defendants have instituted a corporate policy
of obtaining consumer report information on their applicants and
insureds for the purpose of insurance underwriting, and that the
defendants then took adverse reaction against each plaintiff and class
member based on this information – but didn’t provide adequate notice
of the adverse action to each plaintiff, as required by FCRA, Longley
said.

Plaintiffs also allege that the decision not to provide adequate notice
was willful and deliberate. The plaintiffs and class members are
seeking statutory penalties from $100 to 1,000 per violation, plus
attorneys’ fees.

At the $100 level, Farmers would be facing $550 million in penalties;
at the $1,000 level, the insurer would face as much as $5.5 billion in
penalties. The estimates are based on the alleged size of the class,
which may involve as many as 9 million plaintiffs, he said. Legal
documents filed by Farmers indicated the size of the class action would
represent “the end of their world” if this action were to go forward,
Longley added.

Farmers Insurance didn’t comment on the action.

The federal statute requires notice be given to consumers who are
getting an adverse credit rating or result on anything, including
higher insurance premiums, or not being considered for discounts
because of their credit ratings, Longley said.

“It’s not getting the benefit of your best premium or best price
because of your credit,” Longley said. “It goes hand in hand with
credit scoring.”

Farmers Insurance Group currently has a Best’s Financial Strength
Rating of A (Excellent).
(By Bonnie Brewer Cavanaugh, senior associate editor, BestWeek:
Bonnie.Cavanaugh@ambest.com) BN-NJ-04-21-2006 1339 ET #
_________________
David Szwak
Chairman, Consumer Protection Section, Louisiana State Bar Association
Bodenheimer, Jones & Szwak, LLC
509 Market Street, 7th Floor
Mid South Tower
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
318-424-1400
Fax 318-221-6555

Austin, Texas-Based Joe Longley Informed of Skepticism Over Objection Submitted by David Wenholz in Fogel vs Farmers Group BC300142

Austin, TX-based consumer attorney Joe K. Longley has been informed of “recently-developed mild skepticism” relating to an objection submitted by Austin, TX-based David Wenholz of the Wenholz Law Firm, The Leslie Brodie Report has learned from confidential sources. (See objection Here.)

David Wenholz Joe Longley
Mr Joe K. Longley of Austin, Texas is one of attorneys representing Benjamin Fogel in the class action against Farmers Group, Inc. Coincidentally, Longley and objector Wenholz are both active members of the Insurance Law Institute in Austin, Texas.

As a service to the community, we shall publish the communication, below:

Dear Mr. Longley:

I am writing to express my recently-developed mild skepticism relating to an objection submitted by David Wenholz of the Wenholz Law Firm.

By way of a background, earlier this year I submitted a complaint to the State Bar of California against the State Bar’s chief prosecutor, attorneys from the law offices of Howard Rice (one acting as special prosecutor), and the president of the State Bar of California (Howard Miller of Girardi & Keese) due to a decision that was made not to advance disciplinary charges against Walter Lack and Tom Girardi for misconduct they committed while prosecuting a case against Dole Food Company in federal court.

While reviewing the federal court file, I noticed that Skadden Arps represented Girardi & Keese and Mr. Girardi, along with the peculiar attempt to seek the removal of counsel’s name from the published decision. Hence, in approximatley April of this year, I advanced an ethics complaint against Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps due to what I believe to be misconduct relating to these matters — specifically, violations of various ethics rules and breaches of duties owed to the clients, the court, and the fair administration of justice in the cause of Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc.

In addition, I recently learned that both Zurich and Farmers, and shortly after I filed the complaint, sought and obtained ex-parte an order modifying the settlement agreement, with little or no opposition from the class of plaintiffs. I also informed the Los Angeles County Superior Court of my discoveries and concerns in approximately mid-August of this year.

In reply to the objections submitted to the Los Angeles Superior Court, Girardi & Keese filed various declarations, exhibits, and an omnibus brief. One of the objections submitted was from David Wenholz, a class member and a plaintiffs’ attorney from Austin, Texas.

Is it my position that Wenholz committed misconduct by submitting the objection? Absolutely not. Did you or anyone else commit misconduct because Wenholz submitted an objection? Absolutely not. Do I possess any proof that Wenholz’s motives in submitting the objection are not what they appear to be on the surface? Absolutely not.

Am I, subjectively, entertaining thoughts regarding the motive behind the objection due to various convenient circumstances? The answer to this particular question is “yes.”

It seems reasonable that there would be a concern on the part of plaintiffs’ counsel, defense counsel, ZFS, and FGI that somewhere down the line a class member will allege that he or she was not adequately represented due to the attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps, and/or that Skadden/FGI/ZFS interfered with the contract between the class and Girardi & Keese. Hence, it was beneficial for class counsel, defense counsel, FGI and ZFS to obtain modification of the settlement, as was done ex parte in April of this year.

In addition, it is beneficial for defense counsel, class counsel, FGI, and ZFS to be able to show that the class was notified of the amendment (i.e. “Paragraph 17”) and, indeed, lo and behold, a class member with knowledge of “Paragraph 17” even submitted an objection to that effect, making the entire matter seem legitimate on its face. Hence, in any future proceedings naming either class counsel, defense counsel, FGI or ZFS as defendants based on allegations of collusion, defendant(s) would march into court, and produce the objection advanced by Wenholz to demonstrate that, indeed, the class was properly notified, and acquiesced to a waiver per “Paragraph 17.” Indeed, a class member (Wenholz) even filed an objection to that effect, specifically quoting Paragraph 17.

Hence, my mild skepticism of the objection filed by Wenholz, because although on its face it appears to be a sharply-worded objection, it can also be perceived as nothing more than a dormant Trojan horse awaiting to be unleashed when and if a claim will be asserted.

In addition, of course, such an objection would also allow Judge Highberger to rule on the matter in the present proceedings, and otherwise be satisfied that the class was on notice.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Fogel v. Farmers — Copy of Judge William Highberger Order Granting Zurich Financial Services and Farmers Group, Inc Ex Parte Motion Re Skadden Arps Represantation of Girardi & Keese in Matter of In Re Girardi

Fogel v Farmers, Order Upon Ex Parte Motion

 

BENJAMIN FOGEL vs. FARMERS GROUP, INC BC300142 — Objection to Class Action Settlement by Attorney David Wenholz of Wenholtz Law Firm Raises Issue of Conflict of Interest Between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps

Zurich and Farmers Move Ex Parte Due to Article on The Leslie Brodie Report; Girardi & Keese Argues No Conflict by Skadden Arps; Judge Highberger “Church” Comparison ; 12.5 Million Americans Claim — Via Tom Girardi — “Defamation” by TLR

As a result of a story we published on April 4, 2011 (See Here), Zurich Financial Services and Farmers Group Inc. (represented by Dewey & Leboeuf and Skadden Arps, respectively), filed an Ex Parte motion with the Los Angeles Superior Court (Judge William Highberger Presiding) seeking to amend the settlement agreement.

From Declaration of Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi Dated September 30, 2011
LippSmith Dec Conflict 2

From Declaration of Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi Dated September 30, 2011
LippSmith Dec Conflcit 3

Below, parts of transcript of April 28, 2011 Ex-Parte hearing before Judge William Highberger:
Judge William Highberger Ex Parte Fogel

Judge William Highberger Ex Parte Fogel 3
Emphasis in original

Judge William Highberger Ex Parte 5 Fogel Raoul Kennedy Conflict
Irrespective of the manner in which the term is pronounced – e.g., “Ish-ew” (U.S.) or “Iss-you” (U.K.), Judge William Highberger identified the main issue — the “supposed conflict” by Skadden Arps in agreeing to represent Thomas Girardi and Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi (Ninth Circuit Case No.08-80090)(Emphasis added by TLR)

Per an objection submitted to the court: “Skadden Arps (like defendant Farmers) had a duty to inform this Court of the concurrent representation. Skadden Arps, wishing to collect fees from its clients Thomas Girardi and Girardi & Keese, as well as fees from its client Farmers Group, Inc., chose to remain silent. One can safely also entertain the thought that Skadden Arps (and, by extension, Farmers) took advantage of the matter to coerce Girardi & Keese to acquiesce to a less than desirable settlement in the Fogel matter than otherwise would have been reached.”

End of Report.

Consumer Activist Extraordinaire Harvey Rosenfield of Consumer Watchdog Opposes Terms of Settlment in Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc.

Media_httpwwwconsumer_ocnhf

Consumer Watchdog’s counsel, Harvey Rosenfield, opposes the proposed settlement on the following grounds:

1. Consumers would be required to fill out an unnecessary and complex form in order to collect the estimated $20 refund; courts are increasingly skeptical of such settlements because very few customers end up submitting a claim.

2. Any unclaimed settlement funds would go to insurance entities that are controlled by Farmers and were originally defendants in this case. The settlement provides no guarantee that the unclaimed funds will be used to benefit current policyholders, and giving the money to a Farmers affiliate clearly will not benefit policyholders who are no longer with the company.

3. The settlement bars claims by policyholders against the Farmers insurance affiliates, known as the Exchanges, the beneficiaries of the unclaimed settlement funds. Releasing the Exchanges from claims that class members may have against them is fundamentally improper, especially in light of the fact that the Exchanges apparently played some role in approving the excessive attorney in fact fee.

Discovery Request Denied. On May 18, the Superior Court refused to allow the Intervenor, represented by Consumer Watchdog counsel, to conduct any discovery despite the fact that very little formal discovery had previously been conducted in the case. Consumer Watchdog attorneys had sought documents, depositions of company officials, and other information about how Farmers’ parent company, the Swiss-based Zurich Financial Services, intends to use approximately $400 million in class action settlement proceeds supposedly intended for consumers.

Please visit for further information:

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/case/fogel-v-farmers-group-inc

Ethics Complaint filed with California State Bar against Skadden Arps’ Thomas Nolan/Raoul Kennedy and Girardi Keese’s Thomas Girardi/Graham LippSmith for Alleged Misconduct in Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc.

<img style=”margin: 0px;” title=”null” src=”http://mooker.com/backend/uploads/1/police-siren-animated.gif&#8221; alt=”null” width=”500″ height=”70″ />

TLR has learned an ethics complaint alleging multiple acts of misconduct has been filed with the State Bar of California against attorneys from the firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Girardi & Keese.

Knowledgeable sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, maintain the complaint alleges that ethical breaches took place as a result of Skadden Arps’ representation of Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi because, at the same time, Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps were on opposing sides in the case of Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc.

According to the sources, the parties named in the complaint are Raoul Kennedy, Thomas Nolan, and Richard Zurmoski of Skadden Arps as well as Graham LippSmith and Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese.

<img style=”margin: 0px;” src=”http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ_h8ZvcHSm4_GhiYpKwD3XbnjNcVMhNJ0PWYekBXcRombYWwZN8xL-Hg&#8221; alt=”” width=”100″ height=”150″ />Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese
From left, Messrs. Raoul Kennedy, Thomas Nolan, Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith.

The complaint alleges that in August 2003, Walter Lack (of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack) and Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith (of Girardi & Keese) filed a class action suit on behalf of plaintiffs Benjamin Fogel against Farmers Group, Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court.  The suit — which is still pending and is anticipated to settle in September 2011 — was defended by attorneys from Skadden Arps (Raoul Kennedy and Richard Zurmoski).

Despite their respective roles as plaintiffs’ counsel and defendants’ counsel in Fogel v. Farmers, Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps entered into an agreement by which Skadden Arps and partner Thomas Nolan would represent Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi before the Ninth Circuit in the matter of In re Girardi following the Ninth Circuit’s issuance of an order to show cause why Girardi & Keese, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, Thomas Girardi, and Walter Lack should not be suspended, disbarred, or otherwise sanctioned as a result of the massive fraud which took place in litigation pursued by them against Dole Food Company.

On July 13, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued an order suspending Walter Lack for a period of six months and reprimanding Girardi; the order also imposed almost $500,000 in monetary sanctions against the two attorneys.

<img src=”http://data6.blog.de/media/892/5317892_704b3a97c0_m.jpeg” height=”352″ width=”500″ alt=”In Re Girardi ” />

<img src=”http://data6.blog.de/media/857/5479857_75bd167d2c_m.jpeg” height=”64″ width=”500″ alt=”Skadden Arps Thomas Nolan” />

On July 14 2010, in an attempt to conceal their attorney-client relationship, Skadden Arps and Thomas Nolan filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit asking for their names to be redacted from the published opinion.

According to sources, including TLR’s legal correspondent — known as State Bar Insider (“SBI”) — the arrangement described above is disfavored and unethical; moreover, for such a reltionship to be authorized, Thomas Girardi was required to notify each member of the class he represents about his status as a client of Skadden Arps, and seek a waiver and obtain approval from his clients.

According to SBI, “on its face and based of my reading of “Freivogel on Conflicts,” it appears that Tom Girardi violated his duty of loyalty and zealousness as well as the duty of candor to his clients — the class that he allegedly represents.”

Moreover, according to sources, Skadden Arps has also violated multiple ethical rules and statutes by agreeing to undertake the representation of Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi.

A separate source stated: “Assume for the sake of argument that Skadden Arps feels a motion for sanction is warranted against Mr. Girardi in Fogel v. Farmers.  Taking such action would require Skadden to be directly adverse to its client (Thomas Girardi) in the matter of In Re Girardi.”

Moreover, according to SBI, he never heard of a practice by which counsel is asking a court to redact her or his name from a published opinion. “They obviously were attempting to conceal the relationship, and now I am fairly certain as to why it was done,” SBI concluded.

Knowledgeable sources maintain that the ethics complaint seeks the removal of Thomas Girardi’s name from the roll of members of the State Bar of California, and asks that multiple years of actual suspension be imposed on Graham LippSmith, Raoul Kennedy, Thomas Nolan, and Richard Zurmoski.

Ethics Complaint filed with California State Bar against Skadden Arps’ Thomas Nolan/Raoul Kennedy and Girardi Keese’s Thomas Girardi/Graham LippSmith for Alleged Misconduct in Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc.

TLR has learned an ethics complaint alleging multiple acts of misconduct has been filed with the State Bar of California against attorneys from the firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &amp; Flom LLP and Girardi &amp; Keese.

Knowledgeable sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, maintain the complaint alleges that ethical breaches took place as a result of Skadden Arps’ representation of Girardi &amp; Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi because, at the same time, Girardi &amp; Keese and Skadden Arps were on opposing sides in the case of Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc.

According to the sources, the parties named in the complaint are Raoul Kennedy, Thomas Nolan, and Richard Zurmoski of Skadden Arps as well as Graham LippSmith and Thomas Girardi of Girardi &amp; Keese.

The complaint alleges that in August 2003, Walter Lack (of Engstrom, Lipscomb &amp; Lack) and Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith (of Girardi &amp; Keese) filed a class action suit on behalf of plaintiffs Benjamin Fogel against Farmers Group, Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court.  The suit — which is still pending and is anticipated to settle in September 2011 — was defended by attorneys from Skadden Arps (Raoul Kennedy and Richard Zurmoski).  
 
Despite their respective roles as plaintiffs’ counsel and defendants’ counsel in Fogel v. Farmers, Girardi &amp; Keese and Skadden Arps entered into an agreement by which Skadden Arps and partner Thomas Nolan would represent Girardi &amp; Keese and Thomas Girardi before the Ninth Circuit in the matter of In re Girardi following the Ninth Circuit’s issuance of an order to show cause why Girardi &amp; Keese, Engstrom Lipscomb &amp; Lack, Thomas Girardi, and Walter Lack should not be suspended, disbarred, or otherwise sanctioned as a result of the massive fraud which took place in litigation pursued by them against Dole Food Company. 

On July 13, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued an order suspending Walter Lack for a period of six months and reprimanding Girardi; the order also imposed almost $500,000 in monetary sanctions against the two attorneys.

In Re Girardi

Skadden Arps Thomas Nolan

On July 14 2010, in an attempt to conceal their attorney-client relationship, Skadden Arps and Thomas Nolan filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit asking for their names to be redacted from the published opinion.

According to sources, including TLR’s legal correspondent — known as State Bar Insider (“SBI”) — the arrangement described above is disfavored and unethical; moreover, for such a reltionship to be authorized, Thomas Girardi was required to notify each member of the class he represents about his status as a client of Skadden Arps, and seek a waiver and obtain approval from his clients.

According to SBI, “on its face and based of my reading of “Freivogel on Conflicts,” it appears that Tom Girardi violated his duty of loyalty and zealousness as well as the duty of candor to his clients — the class that he allegedly represents.” 

Moreover, according to sources, Skadden Arps has also violated multiple ethical rules and statutes by agreeing to undertake the representation of Girardi &amp; Keese and Thomas Girardi.

A separate source stated: “Assume for the sake of argument that Skadden Arps feels a motion for sanction is warranted against Mr. Girardi in Fogel v. Farmers.  Taking such action would require Skadden to be directly adverse to its client (Thomas Girardi) in the matter of In Re Girardi.”

Moreover, according to SBI, he never heard of a practice by which counsel is asking a court to redact her or his name from a published opinion. “They obviously were attempting to conceal the relationship, and now I am fairly certain as to why it was done,” SBI concluded.

Knowledgeable sources maintain that the ethics complaint seeks the removal of Thomas Girardi’s name from the roll of members of the State Bar of California, and asks that multiple years of actual suspension be imposed on Graham LippSmith, Raoul Kennedy, Thomas Nolan, and Richard Zurmoski.

Categories

RSS .

  • Give more money to the Judicial Council for Court Construction? Have we gone mad in Sacramento? 2019/09/06
    Below is a judicial branch synopsis from a legislative analysis of infrastructure needs for the state. I think it is prudent to point out that the judicial council only feigns adhesion to fraud, waste and abuse laws and actually worked aggressively to weaken the laws pertaining to judicial branch whistleblowers. They did this by creating […]
    SiteAdmin
  • Yet Another Unlicensed Contractor Debacle 2017/07/10
    This story is late in publishing because the AOC (ahem, the judicial council) spent months drawing out our requests for information on a simple inquiry they should have been able to deliver on the same day it was received because what scant information they did provide was readily available to them. But they dragged out […]
    SiteAdmin
  • Another Clifford Ham boondoggle in San Diego 2017/04/19
    More false promises of tunnels reaching out from jails to courthouses. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so because we’ve stated many times that ALL tunnel promises are false promises made to win local support of the projects and penciled out upon approval. What we find most disturbing is that Clifford Ham has a track […]
    SiteAdmin
  • Writing our obit is a bit premature… 2017/04/06
    Welcome to 2017! Yeah, we know, a bit of time has passed since we’ve been hyperactive here. We’ve been a bit busy frying other fish.  If you consider yourself a progressive, you’ve already read and possibly even recognized our work elsewhere. We will be continuing those projects and check in here as not to neglect […]
    SiteAdmin
  • Welcome to the first business day of our reinvigorated 10 year run! 2017/01/02
    Thanks to the sheer incompetence of Judicial Council staff leadership, we’re going to be spending the next ten years nipping at their heels. Last week, the San Francisco trial court ruled that the Jacobs entities maintained their contractors license and that the 22.7 million that the Judicial Council should have been able to recover is […]
    SiteAdmin

RSS Drudge Report Feed

  • Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience... 2019/11/15
    Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience... (Top headline, 1st story, link) Related stories:Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong...Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on […]
  • Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views... 2019/11/15
    Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views... (Top headline, 2nd story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong...Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on […]
  • Battle lines harden... 2019/11/15
    Battle lines harden... (Top headline, 3rd story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong...Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on […]
  • IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%... 2019/11/15
    IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%... (Top headline, 4th story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong...Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on […]
  • Bill Clinton offers advice... 2019/11/15
    Bill Clinton offers advice... (Top headline, 5th story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong...Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on […]
  • NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong... 2019/11/15
    NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong... (Top headline, 6th story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on […]
  • Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on Campaign Finance, Lobbying Breaches... 2019/11/15
    Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on Campaign Finance, Lobbying Breaches... (Top headline, 7th story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and […]
  • Rudy jokes he has 'insurance'... 2019/11/15
    Rudy jokes he has 'insurance'... (Top headline, 8th story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Ge […]
  • MAG: Why not naming whistleblower bad for mainstream media... 2019/11/15
    MAG: Why not naming whistleblower bad for mainstream media... (Top headline, 9th story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and […]
  • FOX TOPS RATINGS... 2019/11/15
    FOX TOPS RATINGS... (Top headline, 10th story, link) Related stories:Dueling impeachment narratives collide for shared audience...Love him or hate him, voters say hearings will not change views...Battle lines harden...IPSOS: PRESIDENT'S JOB APPROVAL 39%...Bill Clinton offers advice...NOONAN: Republicans and 'Anonymous' Get It Wrong...Giuliani […]
  • TRUMP PETITIONS SUPREMES TO SHIELD TAX RETURNS 2019/11/15
    TRUMP PETITIONS SUPREMES TO SHIELD TAX RETURNS (Main headline, 1st story, link)
  • Trump, in 3rd Visit in Month, Tries to Boost Republican in Louisiana Governor's Race... 2019/11/15
    Trump, in 3rd Visit in Month, Tries to Boost Republican in Louisiana Governor's Race... (First column, 1st story, link)
  • THE CONWAY SHOW: GEORGE SAYS KELLYANNE IN A 'CULT'... 2019/11/15
    THE CONWAY SHOW: GEORGE SAYS KELLYANNE IN A 'CULT'... (First column, 2nd story, link) Related stories:SHE BLOWS UP ON BLITZER!President surrounded by villains... Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron
  • SHE BLOWS UP ON BLITZER! 2019/11/15
    SHE BLOWS UP ON BLITZER! (First column, 3rd story, link) Related stories:THE CONWAY SHOW: GEORGE SAYS KELLYANNE IN A 'CULT'...President surrounded by villains...
  • President surrounded by villains... 2019/11/15
    President surrounded by villains... (First column, 4th story, link) Related stories:THE CONWAY SHOW: GEORGE SAYS KELLYANNE IN A 'CULT'...SHE BLOWS UP ON BLITZER!
  • TAYLOR SWIFT BANNED FROM PLAYING OLD HITS... 2019/11/15
    TAYLOR SWIFT BANNED FROM PLAYING OLD HITS... (First column, 5th story, link) Related stories:Turns pack on Scooter... Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron
  • Turns pack on Scooter... 2019/11/15
    Turns pack on Scooter... (First column, 6th story, link) Related stories:TAYLOR SWIFT BANNED FROM PLAYING OLD HITS...
  • VIDEO: Dirt Bike Gang Taunts, Circles Around NYPD Cop At Gas Station... 2019/11/15
    VIDEO: Dirt Bike Gang Taunts, Circles Around NYPD Cop At Gas Station... (First column, 7th story, link)
  • APPLE NEWS struggles to add subscribers... 2019/11/15
    APPLE NEWS struggles to add subscribers... (First column, 8th story, link) Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron
  • Brazil Deepens Ties to China As Bolsonaro Reverses Course... 2019/11/15
    Brazil Deepens Ties to China As Bolsonaro Reverses Course... (First column, 9th story, link)
.