Insurance companies often forget the people they are fighting in lawsuits are their customers. Their attorneys, often in a rush to obtain clients and cases and be viewed as "aggressive" and "macho" champions of the claims department, forget the insurance marketing department made promises of "good faith" treatment long before the loss occurred. I noted this in The Games Insurance Companies Play.
In that post, I discussed a case which criticized such improper conduct by insurance counsel:
The insurance defense counsel’s improper questions and the threatening conduct were not unusual. As many policyholders have experienced, this behavior during examinations under oath is standard operating procedure for many insurance defense lawyers. Hopefully, this opinion will curtail the games and abuse many policyholders with legitimate claims endure.
Some insurance claims departments do not make that clear to their attorneys they must treat the people they are questioning and making allegations about with good faith. When I was a very young insurance attorney and before switching sides to help policyholders, State Farm sent notices explaining it expected certain conduct from attorneys, and how their customers should be treated during litigation, despite differences that lead to conflict. That was an honorable direction. My mentor, Paul Butler, always stressed professionalism and honesty. I am extraordinarily indebted to him, as I discussed in Butler Pappas–A Familiar Foe.
I recently received the following Order where an insurance defense attorney repeatedly told the insurance company corporate representative not to answer questions. The Order simply states:
The lesson for policyholder attorneys wanting to stop this improper and obviously wrong conduct is to file motions explaining what insurance attorneys are doing to stop truthful testimony which may harm their insurance company client. The motion in this case shows that by simply citing deposition transcript and rules, insurance attorneys and their clients that condone such conduct can be held accountable.
Honesty and truth eventually prevail. We should encourage those virtues against those that sacrifice honesty and integrity for wrongful profit.