Rene Sigman from Merlin Law Group’s Houston office was invited to work with a panel of judges to determine a set of pretrial procedures designed to resolve cases efficiently, quickly, and fairly. Their work has finished and have published a set of protocols that most of us will follow during future disaster litigation.

Here is part of the introduction to the protocols:

Disaster relief cases arise out of arduous circumstances, and for the litigants on both sides, the resolution process itself can also be arduous. For the increasing numbers of those victims who end up in court in an effort to recover damages, the process can be protracted and complex. Courts are quickly overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of the cases, and these challenges quickly frustrate the litigants before the court on both sides. Through the following Initial Discovery Protocols for First-Party Insurance Property Damage Cases Arising from Disasters (Disaster Protocols), IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, is trying to expedite this recovery process for everyone involved—the victims seeking recovery, the insurance industry, and the legal system.

The Disaster Protocols provide a new pretrial procedure for cases involving first-party insurance property damage claims arising from man-made or natural disasters. They are designed to be implemented by trial judges, lawyers, and litigants in state and federal courts. As described in the Disaster Protocols, their intent is to “make it easier and faster for the parties and their counsel to: (1) exchange important information and documents early in the case; (2) frame the issues to be resolved; (3) value the claims for possible early resolution; and (4) plan for more efficient and targeted subsequent formal discovery, if needed.

Rene Sigman worked very hard to represent policyholder interest on the panel and debated with insurance lawyers about the pre-trial discovery which should take place immediately. Our hats are off to her and the work of this committee.

Thought For The Day

“Man-made laws assure justice, but a higher law produces love. No code of conduct ever persuaded a father to love his children or a husband to show affection to his wife.”
—Martin Luther King Jr

How about a Hump Day Song About a Lawyer?