An engineering firm has produced an alleged fraudulent report of an engineer’s opinion in a Superstorm Sandy flood lawsuit. Outcome oriented vendor firms providing outcome oriented reports is a big problem for consumers of insurance after a loss occurs. Reports can be altered and language changed which can be disastrous for insurance customers and save millions for insurers. This recent filing demonstrates that this may be ongoing with Superstorm Sandy flood lawsuits:
[T]he Nielsen firm has failed to provide us with an original report of its New York Licensed Professional Engineer George Hernemar. This engineer told our client that he issued a report that determined that the damage to the foundation was caused by the hydrostatic pressures from Sandy flood water. This finding compels coverage. We asked that the Nielsen firm contact Mr. Hernemar to obtain his original report because we believed we were not provided a correct copy of the original report. The Nielsen firm refused, indicating that they sent us all reports, are currently "not in possession" of any other report, and have "no knowledge" of any other reports and they are under no further obligation to comply. Instead, the Nielsen stood by the firm position that they sent us a true copy of the original report… This copy of U.S. Forensic Report . . . .sent to us indicates that the home foundation was NOT damaged by hydrostatic forces from Sandy. . . .
But the engineer indicated he authored a different report:
Mr. Hernemar personally told our client that he did not author a report that disclaimed causation from Sandy. He told our clients he had in fact authored U.S. Forensic Report No. 12.22.1304, but the conclusion of U.S. Forensic Report No. 12.22.1304 confirmed the foundation was broken by hydrostatic forces from Sandy. He indicated he was not authorized to provide a copy of the report, but he allowed our client to read the report on his computer screen. While reading the report, our client took a cell phone image of the computer screen showing the cover page of U.S. Forensic Report No. 12.22.1304 and the causation paragraph of the report. While the copy of the actual report has been denied, and we have been unable to get a copy, we have attached the image from our client’s cell phone. The image shows the cover page of U.S. Forensic Report No. 12.22.1304 and the causation paragraph which is the exact opposite of the Metairie office copy:
(1) The physical evidence observed at the property indicated that the subject building was structural [sic] damaged by hydrodynamic forces associated with the flood event of October 29, 2012. The hydrodynamic forces appear to have caused the foundation walls around the south-west corner of the building to collapse.
Obviously, the original report and opinion was altered. It impacts how much is owed. The question is “who did it and why?”
If a policyholder did this to get more money, criminal authorities would be properly called in to investigate insurance fraud. Why shouldn’t those same authorities be called in now when customers appear to be “ripped off” by those lowering claims payments?
Positive Thought for the Day:
There is no god higher than truth
– Mahatma Gandhi