This week I noted the recurrent problem of outcome oriented insurance company claims conduct in Adjusters Cannot in Good Faith Rely Upon Biased or Outcome Oriented Opinions. In Does It Stay or Does It Go? State Farm’s Assault on Florida, I then noted a finding regarding State Farm’s fitness to conduct insurance which stated:
"State Farm’s actions raise serious questions regarding the fitness and trustworthiness of its officers and directors to engage in the business of insurance."
State Farm is challenging that finding by asking for an administrative review.
Yesterday, Slabbed reported on a blockbuster Hurricane Katrina case where State Farm’s conduct is at issue. Allegedly, State Farm attorneys threatened their own appraiser:
"Tucker and Spragins, both through their representations and their omissions to Minor, attempted to “set up” the Kuehns (as well as Minor; see Exhibit “B,” Second Deposition of John Minor, p. 108) in such a way as to further interfere with the appraisal process as outlined by the policy language, delay the payment of the Kuehns’ claim, and pursue their own anti appraisal agenda on behalf of State Farm. According to Minor’s testimony, the attorneys communicated with him during the appraisal process in such as way as to make him feel they were trying to “blackball” him, or “play dirty pool,” and he felt threatened. See Exhibit “B,”Second Deposition of Minor, pp.159-161. This is the man that State Farm, through Lucky Tucker and Scot Spragins, hired. The only specific instructions regarding the appraisal which Minor could actually remember were squarely in contradiction to what is actually provided for by the subject policy."
State Farm’s counsel, Scot Spragins has opposed us in a number of cases. While tough as nails, sometimes confrontational, and very competitive, I have never found him to be unethical. To me, Scot is very typical of the strong stable of attorneys State Farm retains in its defense. While I wholeheartedly applaud Slabbed for bringing this important case into the public awareness, I think their post was a bit strong and premature regarding the alleged findings. Proof is another matter which everyone deserves before making such serious final judgment of someone’s character.