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 claims, Merlin Law Group included, concerning the potentially widespread issue of “Revised” engineering reports.
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.
Disputed insurance claims are often resolved in the appraisal process. The process is generally less time consuming and less expensive than full blown litigation and, if done properly, can resolve the majority of discrepancies between the policyholder’s estimate and the position of the insurance carrier.
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.
I have published on four occasions concerning good orders coming out of the Barten v. State Farm case.1 Well, it seems more courts are issuing favorable discovery orders, including a recent ruling from a federal district court in Arkansas.2
In part 5 my series on Proving and Winning a First Party Bad Faith Case, I posted the interrogatories I recently served on the insurer’s attorney on a case I am handling in federal court in the Western District of Missouri. The interrogatories will provide me with information regarding how the policyholder’s claim was handled and the information helpful in determining who I will depose.
Earlier this week, I had to travel over 3,500 miles round trip to Minneapolis to take issue with a health insurance company suing my Florida policyholder client in Minnesota federal court in an effort to gain an unwarranted strategic and economic advantage. During my several years of insurance policyholder representation, the well-reasoned rule of thumb has always been that, unless there is a valid forum selection clause in an insurance contract or some out of the ordinary circumstance, insurance disputes are to be resolved in the state in which the insurance contract was delivered.
In part 4 my series on Proving and Winning a First Party Bad Faith Case I posted the Request for Admissions I recently served on the insurer’s attorney on a case in federal court in the Western District of Missouri. Along with the Request for Admissions I filed the following Interrogatories on the Defendant, United Fire and Casualty Company.
In part 3 my series on Proving and Winning a First Party Bad Faith Case, I posted a Request for Production of Documents I recently served upon the insurer’s attorney on a case I am handling in federal court in the Western District of Missouri. In that case the insurer’s attorney requested information from my client in the insurer’s Requests for Production of Documents that would be needed to support my client’s allegations that the insured did not act reasonably and in good faith when adjusting my client’s claim. My client hired a public adjuster in that case who documented all of his communication with the insurer’s representatives as well as shared information with the insurer’s representatives in writing regarding the communications the policyholder and he had with contractors who evaluated the damage at policyholder’s property as well as building code representatives regarding building codes that must be complied with when replacing or repairing the damages incurred at the policyholder’s property.
Last week I blogged about how the recent Willis v. Swain case ruling out of Hawaii, may impact and shape future cases as we move forward full-steam into 2014. Looking back at the past year, it’s also important to mention a ruling from a Washington state court that will be helpful to insureds in efforts to procure bad faith damages. It is well known in the litigation realm that plaintiffs and their attorneys are continually frustrated when trying to obtain discovery of the claim file – only to find numerous redactions in the file during the adjusting period accompanied by a privilege log stating that these communications are attorney-client privilege.