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Whistleblower case involving State Farm to be heard

GULFPORT — U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. has declined to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit filed against State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.

State Farm had sought dismissal of the 2006 lawsuit filed by Cori and Kerri Rigsby, who alleged State Farm and its engineering firms defrauded policyholders after Hurricane Katrina. It claimed the Rigsbys and their former attorney, Dickie Scruggs, leaked details of the whistle-blower case to media outlets even though the court file was initially under seal.

In Monday’s order, Senter said disputes over Katrina insurance coverage attributable to wind or to water were widely publicized before the lawsuit was filed.

He said the information itself cannot be concealed — nor public discussion curtailed — no matter how strictly the seal provision is enforced and observed.

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