Merlin Law Group attorney Rene Sigman has been asked to co-chair a Hurricane Harvey Conference sponsored by Harris Martin Publishing. It will be held on October 19 at the Four Seasons in Houston. The conference features a Who’s Who of Texas insurance and class action attorneys. It features a special panel of judges with experience from prior Texas hurricane litigation.

Here is the agenda:

Hurricane Harvey will generate some unprecedented litigation. I was in a Houston meeting on Tuesday afternoon with about thirty-five other plaintiff attorneys regarding Hurricane Ike flood cases which have resulted in inverse condemnation lawsuits. This litigation is somewhat similar to the canal breach cases in New Orleans. The facts are different in Houston because they resulted from historic rainfall from a hurricane that refused to leave Texas. This historic flood leaves these inverse taking cases as the only possibility of a remedy for the many who did not have flood insurance.

Those flooded properties will have a future adverse property tax consequence which will significantly affect Houston in the years to come. Those property values will not be the same unless some type of mitigation system is placed into operation to prevent this from happening again.

Texas also has new requirements regarding pre-litigation notices to insurance companies who have denied or underpaid claims. This legislation is like making a rule that a person has to write a letter to a thief that has stolen money from you asking for the thief to return the exact amount plucked from your wallet, and give the thief up to 60-days to pay over the amount owed, or he can’t be arrested. Unless you have just counted the exact amount of money in your wallet before the thief stole it, this new law makes the victim guess precisely on the money owed by the thief. I doubt that the panelists will discuss the new insurance law with my type of rhetoric.

Finally, I expressly note that retired Judge Susan Criss is on the panel. I was indirectly called-out by her in open court for asking for too much and holding up a settlement in the Hurricane Ike slab cases effecting the Bolivar Peninsula. She ran a very efficient Hurricane Ike docket and streamlined the discovery process. Following Superstorm Sandy, Javier Delgado and I used a combination of her methods and those by Judge Senter from the Katrina cases to suggest—as Superstorm Sandy policyholder liaison counsel—a methodology in New York.

Yours truly will also be a panelist. Hope to see you at this Hurricane Harvey Conference in Houston.

Thought For The Day

If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use the pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time; a tremendous whack.
—Winston Churchill