Some of my Christian friends tell me that they believe that the Bible is infallible because it is “the word of God.” The one thing that I can assure you is that Chip Merlin is not infallible. I am nowhere close to being in the same ballpark as the Almighty and do my best just trying to keep up with my mortal colleagues.

My respected opponent, Steve Badger, made the following comment correcting me on the title of my post: Should the Insurance Adjuster Be Sued? Steve Badger Says “No” But Some Say “Yes.”

you have not heard me say that adjusters should never be sued. There are circumstances where the law allows such lawsuits. I respect that. I have never argued for a complete 100% prohibition against suing adjusters. So your blog post headline is just plain wrong.

He further stated that:

[L]et’s be clear as to my position on [suing] adjusters. If the law provides a legal basis, and there is a factual basis, then I support it as it is consistent with the law. What I don’t support is suing adjusters just to obtain some tactical advantage without any intent to develop the case against them or any evidence that they individually did anything wrong.

To be fair to Steve Badger, I responded to a comment that questioned why I respond and give bandwidth to insurance company attorneys like Steve. I made this observation:

This is a very fair and balanced blog. I know the insurance defense attorneys are rolling over reading that line.

I have a lot of respect for Steve Badger. So, I allow him a great deal of bandwidth and opportunity to be heard because he is very respectful, listens to the other side, will often admit when the other side makes a point even when he shares a different view and result, and he is a player for the insurance industry. Many people writing on social media have zero following and little credentials showing leadership in a field. Steve Badger is a senior partner from a long recognized and prominent insurance defense firm.

Experienced insurance company lawyers from firms like Zelle should be carefully listened to and studied if one really wants to be at the top of the game representing policyholders. These are bright people who are representing the insurance industry. We have to understand their view of the world even if it is not our view.

Having said that, I do worry that Steve Badger’s following carries over into the legislative agenda of the insurance industry. Your concern is duly noted and appropriate.

Merlin Law Group attorneys and others who I speak to in my presentations are taught to study Chris Voss, the author of Never Split the Difference. Voss teaches that we should seek to understand rather than persuade others who have a different view, such as Steve Badger and others with the insurance industry. Focusing on understanding the other person’s perspective rather than trying to persuade them to see things your way will help you identify what they really want. We should work to understand the other side’s worldview and find common ground with them to uncover key variables and constraints driving them in any situation. This lays the groundwork for a collaborative negotiation focused on solving the right problem. I previously recommended Chris Voss in Hardy Bowl Champion.

Attorneys take an oath for admission to various state bars. I have taken 12 state bar association oaths and more federal bar associations than I care to remember. All of them have one oath, which is phrased something like this—I will not  counsel or maintain any suit or proceeding that shall appear to me to be without merit or to be unjust.”

Accordingly, when Badger asks me if the novel lawsuit brought by the Texas policyholder attorney against the adjuster is “proper,” I am not going to second-guess that attorney. I assume he is following ethical standards.

I wonder what will happen if the statute of limitations runs against the carrier during the time he is only suing the adjuster because that case against the adjuster is novel and may not be a winner. Then, if it is a loser and the limitations period has run, his client has nobody left to sue.  But, that question is between the lawyer and his client rather than others second guessing what is “proper.”

The bottom line is that I apologize to Steve Badger and readers of this blog for my misstatement. If there is a good case against the insurance company adjuster, Steve Badger publicly agrees that you can sue the independent or company adjuster. Sometimes, elephants really can fly.

Thought For The Day 

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek . . . to be understood, as to understand
—St. Francis of Assisi