American Association for Justice

The past few days I have been fortunate to be in Chicago for the American Association for Justice Annual Convention. Merlin attorneys, Craig Kubiak, Kelly Kubiak, and David Pettinato were also in attendance at this gathering of leading plaintiff attorneys. Kelly is the co-chair of the Bad Faith Litigation group and Dave is the chair of the Insurance Law Section. They are to be commended for rising to national leadership positions in our field.

Continue Reading Views on Leadership for Policyholder Interests

This winter, the 2012 AAJ Winter Convention will be held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, February 11–15, 2012. If you have not been to the Winter Convention before or have and are seeking a respite from dreary winter weather, this Convention is the place to learn from some of the best trial lawyers in the country. And, you can earn a year’s CLE credits.

Continue Reading American Association for Justice Winter Convention February 11-15, 2012

Sometimes cases are lost because the policyholder attorney lacks information about an insurance company. I was recently thinking about this when our firm’s Knowledge Manager, Ruck DeMinico, sent a property insurance opinion involving a claim with Liberty Mutual to our firm’s attorneys. The opinion, Delfrate v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co., ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2010 WL 3023866 (M.D. Fla. July 16, 2010), demonstrates these perceptions.

Continue Reading Networking and Sharing Information Can Help Win Cases and Prevent Losses: A Liberty Mutual Example

Safeco Insurance Company and its subsidiaries are certainly getting headlines regarding claims practice controversies and bad faith lawsuits. I discussed a Texas Safeco appraisal dispute in Litigation Discovery Continues During Appraisal of Damages in Texas Federal Court earlier this week. A recent case from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Magaldi v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., No. 10-80280, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62085 (S.D. Fla. June 22, 2010), provides significant instruction for attorneys where there are allegations of slow and wrongful claims handling in the adjustment and appraisal.

Continue Reading Slow Adjustment and Wrongful Delays in Appraisal Subject Insurers to Unfair Claims Practice Lawsuits

Vivian Persand is making headway against Safeco and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. Sharing information and networking with similarly situated policyholders who are litigating issues involving the companies’ claims management practices and underpayment of claims is important. Attorneys who do share information reduce the cost of litigation for their clients, show that the insurance defense attorneys generally are not truthful in their disclosures of incriminating information, and generally win more cases. As a result of a Hurricane Ike insurance dispute involving a medical complex insured by Safeco and problems involved with opposing counsel and Safeco in that matter, I have become involved in organizing the policyholder’s bar so that we can more effectively litigate the claims practices of Safeco and Liberty Mutual.

Continue Reading Liberty Mutual Claims Documents Ordered Produced

David Pettinato has been having a tremendous professional year. He was elected to national office of the American Association for Justice as an officer of the Insurance Section. He also was re-elected as the Co-Chair of the Bad Faith Litigation Group. In what must be a record “partial” settlement for a sinkhole loss, David received an $8.1 million dollar recovery for a client. The bulk of the amount claimed in that case is still at issue. And, he was recently published in Trial Magazine.

Continue Reading David Pettinato Published in Trial Magazine Regarding the “Loss Payment Clause”

Where are our insurance consumer advocates? Are they publicly wanting to appear one way to get their constituents’ votes, but then voting another way behind closed doors? This is my concern, because otherwise the last bill placed before Governor Crist would never have appeared. My powerful, worthy, much richer, and able State Farm lobbyist, Mark Delegal and other similarly powerful interested insurance industry lawyers show how the insurance industry has already set out its agenda on the insurance consumers of Florida in a recent article:

Continue Reading The Florida Insurance Industry Flexes Its Muscle

I wonder how concerned some insurance companies would be if they learned that one of their former managers who was responsible for claims conduct lawsuits spoke to a group of policyholder attorneys. After hearing and learning from such an individual yesterday, I have a new appreciation for how sophisticated the litigation management can be in some insurance companies and how important discovery involving improper insurance company conduct can be to success for my clients. I also wondered how much of a disservice some attorneys do to their clients by failing to invest time and money in conferences such as this.

Continue Reading Insurance Coverage Attorneys that Share Ideas and Information Do a Better Job for Policyholders