Cal Thur

Cal Thur was one of the nicest and helpful senior attorneys I have ever met. I was shocked to get a message from insurance claims expert Gary Fye indicating that he died while walking his dog last weekend. Whenever I hear the words “Arizona bad faith law,” I always think of Stanley Feldman and Cal Thur.

The State Farm claims managers overseeing Arizona must have seen Cal Thur as a constant pain in the neck. He developed bad faith law through the many cases he brought against State Farm. One of those was the Zilisch case, for which a news article gave a little history about Cal:

More than two years after the accident, faced with Zilisch’s unrelenting resolve, State Farm finally wrote a check for $100,000. But a higher court later ruled that payment didn’t excuse the company’s behavior.

Hoping to make State Farm accountable for putting Zilisch through the wringer, Gulinson referred her to Cal Thur, a Scottsdale attorney who has spent much of his career fighting insurance companies. He specializes in “bad faith” cases, litigation which seeks to prove companies have intentionally treated policyholders unfairly, breaching their contractual promise to look after clients.

It was Thur who in 1981 tried the first successful bad-faith case in Arizona in which an insurance company was found to have purposely mistreated its own policyholder. (Before that, Arizona courts didn’t recognize that such a thing could occur — that an insurance company could intentionally abuse its own client.) In nearly 20 years of specializing in nothing but bad-faith insurance cases, Thur has taken 30 cases to trial. Six were against State Farm, more than any other single insurance company. He won five of those.

Thur, who worked for two years as a claims adjuster for Fireman’s Fund after moving to Arizona in 1959, has earned a reputation as the go-to guy when other attorneys believe they have taken an insurance dispute as far as they can. And many people — both consumers and attorneys — call his office and ask for help with complaints against insurance companies.

Cal’s firm also had some of the best policyholder attorneys I have ever met. Anita Rosenthal and Steve Dawson once worked with Cal Thur early in their careers. They are formidable. Any policyholder attorney reading through their case developments and copying what they do and how they go about their practice is a better attorney for it. They share Cal’s devotion to the law and relentless pursuit of a good factual case.

Cal was a gentleman and a very encouraging senior attorney when dealing with me. I will miss him. Those seeking justice against insurance companies are in a much better place as a result of his life’s work.

Thought For The Day

People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success.
—Norman Vincent Peale