We’ve all seen it before. The insured files a claim, the insurance company sends out an adjuster to adjust the loss, the loss is more complex, or a situation arises that the adjuster cannot handle so the insurance company forwards the claim to their legal department. At that point, an attorney becomes involved and the adjustment of the claim, as well as the communication between the parties is limited and calculated.
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Merlin Law Group is closely monitoring a case pending before the South Carolina Supreme Court to see how it answers the question: “Does South Carolina law support application of the ‘at issue’ exception to the attorney-client privilege such that a party may waive the privilege by denying liability in its answer?”
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In 2017, the Arizona Supreme Court changed the scope and limits of discovery to “any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party’ claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case.”1 Starting in July 2018, Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 26.2, will take effect. Rule 26.2 has been significantly changed, adopting a “Three-Tiered” system of civil case management to make discovery occur in a manner consistent with Rule 26.1(b)(1)—proportional discovery.
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Insurance companies hate producing its claims guidelines, loss ratios, and other relevant documents in bad faith litigation. Recently, a Nebraska federal trial court denied Owners Insurance Company’s request to bifurcate my client’s bad faith claim from its breach of contract claim. This ruling prevents unnecessary costs and delay and will allow the insured its day in court much faster.
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Many policyholders think that insurance company adjusters get an individual bonus on each claim for paying less than a certain amount. They distrust the insurance company adjuster and often creatively claim more, fearing that the property insurance adjuster will wrongfully reduce the eventual settlement. The truth is that collectively, many insurance companies pay bonus incentives to claims personnel when they hit certain objective claims goals which also involve paying less on a claim.


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Late yesterday evening, December 10, 2014, Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey sent a letter to several law firms handling Superstorm Sandy claimsMerlin Law Group included, concerning the potentially widespread issue of “Revised” engineering reports.


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If you have been following Hurricane Sandy news, you may already be aware of Judge Brown’s recent November 7th order in Raimey v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company,1 in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) which requires defendants in all Hurricane Sandy cases to provide plaintiffs by December 12th:2

[C]opies of all reports described in CMO 1 not previously produced – plus any drafts, redlines, markups, reports, notes, measurements, photographs and written communications related thereto – prepared, collected or taken by any engineer, adjustor or other agent or contractor affiliated with any defendant, relating to the properties and damage at issue in each and every case, whether such documents are in the possession of defendant or any third party.


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Regardless of whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant in an insurance dispute, fabricating or otherwise altering evidence can have some very serious consequences. Earlier this summer, the Sixth District Texas Court of Appeals issued a memorandum opinion involving two of the most severe sanctions parties can face under Texas law for such misconduct – monetary sanctions and the striking of a parties’ pleadings, also known as the “death penalty” sanction.


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