Judge Senter issued a text only order yesterday giving counsel for McIntosh additional time to file their response.
TEXT ONLY ORDER granting Plaintiffs’ 1222 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 1215 MOTION in Limine No. 6: To Exclude Evidence of Out-of-State Conduct (Renewed). Plaintiffs’ Response shall be due no later than 7/16/2008. NO FURTHER WRITTEN ORDER SHALL ISSUE. Signed by District Judge L. T. Senter, Jr., on July 9, 2008.
Just days earlier, June 23 to be exact, ever faithful follower E.A. Renfroe had filed an objection to Senter’s April 23 Order requiring State Farm to enter individual objections to each witness McIntosh counsel proposed to call.
The Court did not set a schedule for filing such objections, but stated that the Court will rule on these objections at or before the pre-trial conference. [1187 at 2.] Accordingly, Renfroe files these objections to Plaintiffs’ proffered evidence of out-of-state conduct, some of which refers to State Farm’s use of independent adjusters from Renfroe and other adjusting services companies.
Plaintiffs have identified twelve documents and two witnesses pursuant to the Court’s April 23, 2008 order that they intend to offer at trial and which have not been previously disclosed. None of this evidence involves the McIntosh claim. Rather, it all relates to other, dissimilar claims against State Farm and its related entities, and cases to which Renfroe was not a party.
These cases are Watkins, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty, et al. (“Watkins”) (Plaintiffs’ proffered Exhibits 1-8, 12, testimony of Messrs. Strzelec and Ryles), State Farm Lloyds v. Nicolau, 951 S.W. 2d 444 (Tex. 1997) (“Nicolau”) (Plaintiffs’ proffered Exhibits 10- 12, testimony of Messrs. Strzelec and Ryles), and Campbell v. State Farm (“Campbell”) (Plaintiffs’ proffered Exhibit 91). (emphasis added)
None of this evidence is relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims or relates to Renfroe’s work on Plaintiffs’ claims. Accordingly, Renfroe joins, and hereby incorporates by reference as set forth below, State Farm’s objections that Plaintiffs’ proposed evidence is irrelevant, unfairly prejudicial, overly confusing, infringing on Renfroe’s due process rights, and was untimely disclosed both under this Court’s September 14, 2007 Case Management Order and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.2.
I doubt the word irrelevant has been used to describe Campbell vs State Farm – the subject of a new book, Stimple’s Litigation Road, by the way.
This text examines the 25-year case that began as an auto accident and concluded by making constitutional law. It produced both a hotly contested negligence trial and a pathbreaking insurance bad faith case. Along the way, both the Utah and United States Supreme Courts would make significant rulings on settlement, evidence, and punitive damages. The text demonstrates the manner in which many strands of law and policy coalesce in a lawsuit, illustrating the modern legal landscape of torts, civil litigation, contracts, evidence, insurance, professional responsibility, and negotiation and settlement, as well as trial practice.
I wasn’t able to run out and pick up a copy; but, I found a syllabus on the Cornell Law website – note the mention of out-of-state conduct just in this introductory portion of text.
Although investigators and witnesses concluded that Curtis Campbell caused an accident in which one person was killed and another permanently disabled, his insurer, petitioner State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm), contested liability, declined to settle the ensuing claims for the $50,000 policy limit, ignored its own investigators advice, and took the case to trial, assuring Campbell and his wife they had no liability for the accident, that State Farm would represent their interests, and that they did not need separate counsel.
In fact, a Utah jury returned a judgment for over three times the policy limit, and State Farm refused to appeal. The Utah Supreme Court denied Campbells own appeal, and State Farm paid the entire judgment. The Campbells then sued State Farm for bad faith, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The trial courts initial ruling granting State Farm summary judgment was reversed on appeal. On remand, the court denied State Farms motion to exclude evidence of dissimilar out-of-state conduct. In the first phase of a bifurcated trial, the jury found unreasonable State Farms decision not to settle. Before the second phase, this Court refused, in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U. S. 559, to sustain a $2 million punitive damages award which accompanied a $4,000 compensatory damages award.
The trial court denied State Farms renewed motion to exclude dissimilar out-of-state conduct evidence. In the second phase, which addressed, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages, evidence was introduced that pertained to State Farms business practices in numerous States but bore no relation to the type of claims underlying the Campbells complaint. The jury awarded the Campbells $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $145 million in punitive damages, which the trial court reduced to $1 million and $25million respectively. Applying Gore, the Utah Supreme Court reinstated the $145 million punitive damages award.
The link to Cornell will also connect to the opinion of the Supreme Court and the dissenting views of Scalia, Thomas, and Ginsburg.