It’s about time. For a decade, Allstate has refused to comply with discovery and court rules regarding its internal documents which demonstrate who, how and why Allstate redesigned everything in its claims program to simply pay less on claims. The Florida First District Court of Appeal issued an opinion which condemns many of the tactics Allstate and its attorneys have long used to thumb its nose at judges.
Anybody with the right to view the internal information explaining why Allstate has been changing its culture since it was spun off from Sears in the early 1990’s has been stonewalled and shut down. Indeed, a recent creative lawsuit has been filed in Montana against Allstate for abusing the legal process through such tactics. (Simonsen v. Allstate) The Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times have been closely covering this story since it started last fall. They noted that the Office of Insurance Regulation was trying to find out why Allstate broke a promise of lower rates in return for Florida selling it undermarket reinsurance and taking on a greater share of the Cat Fund obligation in the event of a hurricane.
Well, Allstate went into what many of my attorneys so often see in civil proceedings—a complete shut down and refusal to tell the truth. An example noted by the Florida Appellate Court was when Allstate produced a witness that was supposed to have knowledge and documents to show which trade organizations Allstate belonged to. Simple enough. The witness acknowledged his purpose but did not have any documents. Huh? That’s right. Furthermore, Allstate has its attorneys do this all the time throughout the country in bad faith cases. Allstate has been a bad corporate citizen for a long time. They consistently refuse to tell the truth and it is about time courts damn this type of behavior. Everybody has to play by the rules–even multi-billion dollar corporations.